Stardom has not been easy on Kapil Sharma. He got it overnight, and then he nearly lost it. There was a time when he was really troubled , so troubled that his close friends thought he was on the brink of something really catastrophic. Throughout this period I held Kapil’s hand,virtually, reassured him all will be well. He confided in me and said I was one of the few he trusted. I made sure not to lose that trust.
Kapil was going through a phase where he needed friends, really desperately.He had locked himself away from all humanI remember trying to get in touch with Kapil for his birthday in 2017. He was unreachable for the entire day. He finally responded to my calls and said, “There is nothing special about this day. I will consider my life special again when I can solve all the problems that are troubling me. I know I’ve created these problems for myself. I want my well-wishers and fans to pray for me. I know I’m disappointing them. I can feel it. I am disappointing myself.”
It saddened me to see Kapil so disappointed with the world. I kept asking what I could do to make him feel more secure and comfortable. “Sir, just be there for me. Aur mujhe kuch nahin chahiye,” he would say.
I’ve known Kapil Sharma from the time his show became a rage.Our bonding began when he told me he admired me for taking on a superstar. “Aap kisise darte nahin ho,aapko koi khareed nahin sakta.Aap bikao nahin ho, ” he observed.
I found him warm funny extremely relaxed and natural in front of the camera.And no vulgarity . Never! When Kapil was on Karan Johar’s show he was asked questions that made him really uncomfortable. He pretended not to understand them.
“Karan Sir ke andar ek bahot his sharaarati ladki chupi hui hai,” Kapil deadpanned. I fell off my chair laughing. So did Karan when I shared the observation with him.
Kapil and I could discuss anything. Once I asked him why he keeps making digs about people’s weight on his show and he said, “ I need to lose weight myself.So I make make digs at other people’s weight. Maybe my jibes would help them to lose weight.And please tell me,if my jibe about someone’s stomach has 1.5 crore people in splits then what’s wrong with it?There is such a clamour to be part of the audience on my shows . I sometimes feel we should ticket the entry on my show and give the money to charity.”
Hard to believe. But Kapil didn’t want to be a standup comedian. “I wanted to be a singer . I never knew I’d end up as a stand-up comedian.I used to sing in school . Then in college I took to doing serious theatre(acting) for about 12 years. Yeh comedy toh bass ho gaya. Hamare Punjab mein do terah ke log hote hain. Chahe to kuch nahin karte yaa seedhe pradhan-mantri ban jaate hain.”
Kapil had the quality most needed to be good comedian. He was a good observer. “I come from Amritsar where people have a lot of time to snoop into their neighbours’ lives.My mother has a sharp sense of humour.”
He was always a funny guy, though . “My journey as a professional comic actor began on a regional channel . I got a good response from Punjab for it. Then I tried to get into Laughter Challenge. But they rejected me. I auditioned again. Ironically the same judges who had rejected me ultimately declared me the winner on Laughter Challenge. That’s how my journey began.I have gone through many phases in my life and career. I’ve even served as a drama teacher in a girls’ college. That was a seasonal job.And I kept wondering, would I be coaching girls how to act all my life?What about the artiste in me? That’s when I gravitated towards television.”
Now happily married to a woman who has devoted all her life to looking after him Kapil is enjoying fatherhood. “I never knew it would suit me so much.I’ve seen a lot of improvement in my work. But an artiste is always learning. And I’ll remain a student all my life. If I start believing I know everything it would be the end of my journey.Ek artiste ki bhookh kabhi khatm nahin hoti.”
Stay hungry, Kapil.