Like all good things in life, Comedy Nights With Kapil comes to an end this Sunday. It’s been three years of rock-solid laughter. Actually, just two years of pure laughter because thereafter the show began to lose its sheen partly because you, Kapil, were no longer the same. I feel as the show progressed and mounted in popularity your own self-worth grew in proportion.
You changed. So did the show. The jokes and gags began to get repetitive and labored, but I continued to switch on every Sunday out of habit. Kapil, Bittu Sharma — the character you played in Comedy Nights—and his family of Daadi (Ali Asgar), Bua (Upaasna Singh), Gutthi (Sunil Grover) and Palak (Kiku Sharda) became part of our family. We loved your family. Because they seemed to love us.
Every Sunday we would laugh with your family. Kapil, you show taught me to laugh out loud. I’d look forward to Saturday and Sunday nights and would make sure to watch the show. Then it stopped on Saturday because you got busy being a film star. You altercated with the Channel that hosted your comic aptitudes and repeatedly threatened to withdraw your show. They responded by putting on air another show parallel to yours.
They wanted you to know, no one is indispensable . If we can live without Mahatma Gandhi, we can live do without Comedy Nights With Kapil.S
The show began to show signs of corruption. In no time at all it began to be crowded with stars who came to promote their films. Somewhere your show was overtaken by the glamour industry.
I also noticed a change creeping up in your personality. Let me pause here and say, with success change is inevitable. More than the individual who is suddenly thrust with unexpected success it is the people’s expectations that change. Anything that a suddenly-successful person does is interpreted as a sign of his newly-acquired arrogance.
Perhaps you didn’t really change. My expectations did. I missed your innocent observations on how people expected you to be funny all the time even when you are not trying to be funny. I missed your early-morning calls which you’d make while returning from a night-long shoot of Comedy Nights. Most important of all, I miss the unconditional, self-deprecating laughter in your voice.You were fine until you didn’t take yourself too seriously.
You rose from the ashes of faceless hilarity on television to make a name among the most distinguished comic entertainers of the country. For the measure of mirth that you brought in our lives without resorting to cheap innuendos and vulgar gestures, I would rank you with Mehmood and Kishore Kumar. Like these two giants of comedy there was always an innocence in your jokes.
I wish you hadn’t decided to digress into film acting. Television in India has by and large failed to nurture individual talent. What we get are replicas and facsimiles of film personalities. You broke that myth. Your popularity equaled and even exceeded that of some of the biggest film stars.
Your show brought small-screen comedy to a fulsome fruition. To see it wind down so unceremoniously is to many of us, heartbreaking. But then, all good things come to an end.
So thank you for the laughter, Kapil.
Subhash K Jha