HAPPY NEW YEAR says the familiar voice at the other end, my first year-end greeting, considering New Year’s is tomorrow night. It’s a bit surreal, coming from India’s most celebrated comedian, Kapil Sharma, who’s taking a much-needed hiatus with his family, away from his hectic shooting schedule in Mumbai, in his farmhouse in Lonavala. Despite his mile-a-minute, trademark rapid speech — lots of Punjabi-accented Hindi — that brings to mind the jovial, at times deadpan humour of his TV persona, Kapil sounds relaxed, and with reason.
He’s just wrapped up his 54-minute stand-up special with Netflix, I’m Not Done Yet, that kicks off on January 28. Presented in typical stand-up fashion — the lone guy on stage with a mic — the comic bares his soul to the audience in his own inimitable style.
Intrigued about the title, I ask him about its genesis. “I felt that the title needed to reflect everything that’s happened to me in my life,” says Kapil. “From my days in theatre, to singing, coming into The Great Indian Laughter Challenge (a TV competition), then starting and producing my own show, in a relatable manner. I’m in a field where you keep learning, trying new things, until the end. And that’s something I love. Hum naye pange lete rehte hain.”
He says that Netflix wanted him to talk about his life and his personal experiences. “Normally my shows are about observational comedy and sketches,” says Kapil, referring to his long-running The Kapil Sharma Show (on air since 2016), where he invites celebrities from the world of film, sports, and music — he’s featured everyone from Amitabh Bachchan and Alia Bhatt to AR Rahman, from Baichung Bhutia to Irfan Pathan. “But they wanted me to tell my own story in a humorous way. Sometimes what appears as a tragedy in one’s life, after a while, one learns to laugh at it.”
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