Shailesh Kapoor: Kapil Sharma: The Fault In Our Star

13 Apr,2018

 

By Shailesh Kapoor

 

Two years ago, Kapil Sharma started his second television stint, shifting from Colors to Sony after a nasty break-up of sorts with the former. At that time, I wrote a column here titled ‘Kapil Sharma And The Loss Of Innocence’. In it, I expressed my scepticismabout Sharma’s ability to put himself together and recreate the magic of Comedy Nights With Kapil all over again. It was never his talent that was in question. It was his innocence and his will to excel further in a one-man competition that was in doubt.

To his credit, he did well to hold himself through that show for more than a year. The show did very well, and was highly watchable, till the the infamous flight-back-from-Australia incident in early 2017 split his core team. The show, thereafter, was a tame version of its previous episodes, even though Sharma himself was still as good as ever.

News of him drinking, being in depression, making stars wait and canceling shoots have been doing the rounds for about three years now. They had become a part of the package over time. If you want to work with Sharma, you have to deal with all of this, and perhaps some more.

The Sunil Grover incident may have taken the wind out of Sharma’s sails. But I believe it is the extreme box-office failure of his second film Firangi that truly deflated him. Sharma had been promoting the film on his show for a year before its release. The film found absolutely no takers, either in the audience or the critics community. It did only 20% of the business of his first film KisKiskoPyaarKaroon, and was out of the theatres within a week.

A more seasoned star would have taken these setbacks with a chin-up attitude. But it was evident that too much had happened in Sharma’s life too soon, and he seemed simply unprepared to handle the ups and downs that vagaries of stardom bring with them.

It’s not a happy feeling to see talent of this magnitude fade away. The fan base Sharma has built pan-India is underestimated by many in the entertainment business. He had become one of India’s own, a rare talent who achieves the audience’s love but not in a way that makes him larger-than-life or inaccessible (like most Bollywood stars, for example). Audiences felt, and continue to feel even today, that he is a member of their family, one of their own. That they own a part of Kapil Sharma.

But incidents over the last few weeks leave little doubt in one’s mind that another comeback is ruled out. His new show has virtually gone off-air in three episodes, a dubious record of sorts. Sony would have known that they are not going to have it easy dealing with Sharma. But the extremity of this fiasco is not something they would have ever prepared for.

A part of me still hopes he finds the strength to bounce back one more time. But I wouldn’t bet on it. Sharma’s time to say goodbye to his stardom has come. India has lost its best comedian to the trappings of fame, power and greed. And Indian entertainment will be poorer for that.

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