Kapil Sharma: I’m Not Done Yet review: Lacks charm, fails to tickle the funny bone

Kapil Sharma: I’m Not Done Yet review: Lacks charm, fails to tickle the funny bone

Mildly entertaining, with sporadically comic lines, but never sets the house on fire.

Shantanu Ray ChaudhuriUpdated: Sunday, January 30, 2022, 05:57 AM IST
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Though I have never been a big fan of Kapil Sharma, there’s no doubt about the place he occupies in the contemporary public consciousness, particularly when it comes to entertainment. At its height, his Comedy Nights with Kapil was India’s highest-rated scripted TV show, fetching Sharma the Entertainer of the Year award in 2013. A large part of its appeal came from what his co-stars brought to the show — actors like Sunil Grover, Kiku Sharda and Ali Asgar.

As reports of differences between Kapil and the others started cropping up — in particular, the very public falling out with Sunil — one often wondered whether success had gone to his head. Had he become as big as his celeb guests? And then there were his tweet engagements with the person he refers to ‘as the person who will not be named’ in the Netflix episode — something that caused him a lot of anxiety, what with the trolling that invariably accompanies when you take on the most powerful man in the country. There were also his brushes with alcoholism, depression and other unsavoury allegations made against him.

All of this could have made for riveting material. In a pre-telecast promotional bite, Tanya Bami, series head of Netflix India, said, “These times require a healthy dose of laughter, and who better than Kapil Sharma to leave viewers in splits? What this special does is take you up close and personal with Kapil and gives you an insight into him as a person.” I am not sure if Kapil Sharma: I’m Not Done Yet delivers on those counts. At best, it remains mildly entertaining, with sporadically funny lines, but never sets the house on fire.

There is never a moment in the 54-minute episode that had me exclaiming ‘wow!’ or ‘ouch’ as any good stand-up act should. The show lacks sting — not that Comedy Nights could be credited with that either, but this one is missing even the earthy laugh-out-loud humour of the show. With no celebrity to feed off, barring himself, Kapil is strangely off-colour, coming into his own only when talking about ‘the person who will not be named’. As for an ‘insight into the person’, it’s not quite what the streaming platform would have us believe. Though Kapil reciprocates, effusively plugging Netflix.

In the end, what remains is a sort of ‘confessional’, framed as it is as an extension of his therapy sessions — and a rather maudlin exploration of his roots. There is a lot we get to hear about his father, a cop, who died when Kapil was barely 21. Indeed, he ends the episode with an English song dedicated to his father that frankly had me cringing. As did his exchanges with wife Ginni Chatrath, often seen tearing up, that have ‘manipulative’ emblazoned all over (including her ‘roasting’ of him and that pitch about religious harmony).

He milks his small-town credentials for all it is worth but then what does one make of his disdainful attitude to a whole demographic — cooks, masseurs — not as successful as he is. Of course, the well-heeled audience laughs and cheers, but I couldn’t help wonder about what it says about him. Also, a lot of these ‘memories’ have to be taken with a pinch of salt. For example, his contention about being named Kapil in the wake of India’s World Cup triumph — he was born in 1981, the World Cup victory came in 1983.

But what’s a few facts here and there when it comes to feel-good reliving of the past that’s riddled with every possible cliché. The best thing about this is its short runtime which means you don’t have to put up with the meandering, sanitised narrative for too long.

Title: Kapil Sharma: I’m Not Done Yet

Cast: Kapil Sharma

Director: Sahil Chhabaria

Platform: Netflix India

Rating: 2 stars

(Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri is an award-winning publisher, editor and a film buff)

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