Over The Top platforms like Netflix are here to stay. But so is good old television. The cult following of some of its stars and their shows is proof of that. Let us look at what is so good — and not so good — about a few such shows. And since comedy shows and series have become so popular, why not begin with them?

Is he the ‘King’ of comedy?

Now, to be sure, Kapil Sharma is certainly a huge star, no doubt about that. But what exactly made him a star? It was not just his own flair for comedy, but also the fact that his show, when it began, was the first of its kind on Indian TV.

Before him, no Indian stand-up comedian had interviewed Bollywood celebrities with little comedy skits created around these interviews. And then there were Sunil Grover, Ali Asgar and Kiku Sharda. Without these two, the show flopped miserably.

Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah
Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah

And now, it is Krushna Abhishek and Kiku Sharda who are the life of the show. Kapil’s own forte is stand-up comedy, which he seems to have all but given up. So he is now reduced to interviewing celebrities and generally anchoring the show while the others go about their performances. Even the format has become jaded.

The segment of the show where Kapil produces cards with ‘rumours’ about celebrities, is insipid and boring. And sorry, ridiculing Archana Puran Singh all the time and body-shaming co-actors and members of the audience is NOT comedy. It is time Kapil returns to clean, stand-up comedy which made him what he is today.

The Kapil Sharma Show
The Kapil Sharma Show

Please spare Tarak Mehta

Everyone knows which TV series we are talking about. As they say, the name is enough. When it was launched on Sab TV in 2008, it was one of the best sitcoms ever aired on TV. The hilarious episodes and the superlative performances made it the only Indian comedy series that has survived for 11 years straight. And all credit for it goes to its eminent original author, Tarak Mehta. However, even the best of shows must come to an end some day. And Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah is now clearly past its expiry date.

Of course, the performances are still as great as ever. But the writers have obviously run out of ideas. The accomplished cast of actors has been reduced to celebrating all Indian festivals every year, in sync with their actual seasons. Predictably, the episode around Republic Day was dedicated to flag-hoisting, and the one around Holi will certainly see all of them celebrating it.

And this has been going on ad nauseam for so many years. What is so comical about that? The series has certainly enjoyed phenomenal popularity and has broken records. But it is now time to either reboot it or wind it up gracefully. There are hundreds of highly accomplished writers, directors and actors who can provide great content. Why not give them a chance too?

This bhakarwadi is truly yummy

After Khichdi, this is another delicious offering from Hats Off Productions. A refreshing storyline, delightful characters and clean, brilliant humour — the series has it all. And such a high level of comedy is simply impossible without superb acting. Bhakarwadi is already a year old but it seems as if it has just begun.

About how many comedy serials can you say this? The various tracks have been woven into the main story so deftly that the viewer never loses interest in the proceedings. While Deven Bhojani, Paresh Ganatra and Bhakti Rathod invariably manage to steal the show, the other actors are no less accomplished.

The series shows that humour need not be over the top and the actors do not need to indulge in stupid antics to make people laugh. A witty, humorous dialogue with a straight face is far more effective. But for that, what is required is intelligent writing with a flair for humour.

And the writer — and one of the producers of the series — Aatish Kapadia, with several awards already under his belt, has proven his mettle many times, with series like Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai and Khichdi. For Bhakarwadi, he has partnered with another writer Ritlal Pandit.

One just hopes that they are able to maintain this refreshing quality of the series for a long time. Because, after all, there are few Hindi comedies on TV that one feels like watching regularly.

A weekly look at the good, the mad and the tawdry on the TV scene

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