Indian stand-up comedian and actor Kapil Sharma welcomed his first child on December 10 and that tiny bundle has changed his world for the better.
In his first interview since becoming a father to bonny Anayra Sharma, the affable funnyman described how his newborn daughter has altered his reality irrevocably.
“She’s such a sweet darling. I am enjoying this incredible phase in my life so much. It’s just brilliant,” said Sharma in Hindi in an exclusive interview with Gulf News tabloid! ahead of his comedy show titled ‘The Kapil Sharma Live’ on January 24 at Coca-Cola Arena.
While the 38-year-old has embraced fatherhood with both arms, the comedian reveals sheepishly that he hasn’t done his share of that much-dreaded diaper duty yet because he’s busy “with other duties” like practicing relentlessly for his upcoming show in the UAE with his squad comprising Bharti Singh, Kiku Sharda, Sumona Chakravarti, Chandan Prabhakar and Krushna Abishek.
“I meet my baby mostly at nights now. When I return home, she’s up, wide awake, alert and not sleeping. She’s a lot like me, I think. She’s wide awake at night … But she’s no trouble at all … My mother, my wife and all of us at home are so excited about her,” he adds.
2019 hadn’t treated him shabbily either, Sharma believes. His troubled days that began in 2017, which included a public fall out with fellow comedian Sunil Grover and his battles with anxiety, alcoholism and anger management, are behind him now.
During our conversation, Sharma was Zen and sounded like a man who had his inner demons under control. All he displayed was unending gratitude towards his life that’s on an upswing now.
“By the grace of God, it was a beautiful 2019 where I saw so many new beginnings in my life. I got married and I got the most precious gift of life through my baby. Imagine, a baby has arrived into my home. Truth be told, I don’t know when 2019 came and went. From completing 100 episodes of ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ to getting married to having a baby come home, it’s a year that zipped past me. It sped so fast,” said Sharma.
The cherubic comedian, who is known for his sanitised family-friendly and caustic humour, fervently prays that every year from now on doles him a similar hand. The second season of his eponymous TV show attracted a whopping 54 million viewers across India, a testimony to his long-enduring appeal.
“Your time is good when you have no idea where that time went by … if you wait for time and wait for nightfall then it means things are not working in your favour and your going is bad. When you are not aware of the time ticking by, you are doing good,” he adds.
The self-made star from Punjab, who is adored in every Hindi-speaking Indian household, believes that every artist or person has his own journey in life to navigate. So what has he learnt from his own struggles?
“Struggle is a constant in our lives and only its degree of importance varies from phase to phase. I have learnt a lot during my days of struggle. Every struggle is a life experience and that episode has helped me perform better on stage. I hope that I continue learning those lessons through my struggles,” Sharma says. His mantra is uncomplicated, just like his on-screen ‘good guy from a small town’ persona. He’s a lifelong student, claims the comedian.
“If you are working hard and focused on what you are doing, then nobody can stop you. When you reach the top, there can be a lot of people who spread a lot of negativity around you, I try not to listen to them anymore. I just want to work hard. There’s no alternative for pure hard work. There’s no shortcut to hard work either,” he says.
At the time of this interview, Sharma and his mates were rehearsing their comedy routine and finalising their costumes for their UAE show, organised by Speed Entertainment.
In a separate interview, Bharti Singh who plays the colourful and quirky Babli Mausi and Titli Bhabhi in the hit ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’, compares her ongoing rehearsals to a “marriage preparation filled with revelry and anticipation”.
“It’s my first show in Dubai since joining ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ and it’s such a stress-free one … There’s such a positive vibe on the sets. Trust me, I will be going crazy on Instagram, Tik Tok videos on my first visit to Dubai as a performer. I can’t wait to meet our lovely, warm fans who are like our dearest friends in our lives. I can’t wait to go shopping either,” says Singh, who never takes her stupendous success too seriously.
She claims she has her feet firmly on the ground at all times and that fame is an unlikely leveller.
“Even today, I can eat roti with 12 curries or with just pickle ... I never let myself forget my past,” Singh says.
Singh is a bona fide discovery by Sharma. The comedienne has known Sharma since her high school days and their association dates back to more than a decade. Singh claims he was her tutor during one of her youth festival competitions in high school.
“Kapil is like my brother and he treats me like his sister. If I am feeling down, he’s quick to ask me about my health or whether I disliked something. He’s this big brother who plays a lot of attention to each and every one of his teammates.”
Show for everyone
Her experience and narrative with Sharma is vastly different from what transpired between him and Grover, that began with a public fight on an air plane two years ago.
Those dark days seem to be behind the troupe now. Sharma and his squad’s brand of humour is famously family friendly; there’s no swearing or cussing in their vanilla, but hugely popular shows that takes a swipe at cultural stereotypes and politics with abandon.
But that’s what makes them tick, believes Sharma and Singh. His shows and its appeal aren’t limited to youngsters’ enjoyment alone.
“We don’t let any joke that may be slightly problematic to slip into our shows. We are very careful about who’s watching our shows and that the whole family is watching us — age and gender no bar. In digital platforms, such shows can be a lot more unfiltered and that’s their individual choice of what their kind of humour is. But we give our utmost importance to family humour that can be enjoyed by one and all. I want everyone in a family to watch and enjoy our show,” Sharma says. He adds that families are the ones who flock to see him and his mates on stage. They relate to his wit and comic gold spun from a commoner’s life and daily experiences.
“My jokes aren’t science fiction or highly technical in nature. I speak in a language that a common man in Dubai or any part of the world can understand,” he says. “Many think of me as their own boy from their hood. And it’s their blessings that I count the most precious.”
Don’t miss it!
What: The Kapil Sharma Live
When: Friday, January 24
Where: Coca-Cola Arena, Dubai
Time: 7pm gates open, 9pm show starts
Tickets: Dh150 and up
Availability: Bookmyshow.com and platinumlist.net
RAPID FIRE WITH SUMONA CHAKRAVARTI AND KIKU SHARDA
Three adjectives to describe their brand of humour:
Sumona Chakravarti, who plays Bhuri in the live show: Sarcastic, witty and black
Kiku Sharda, who plays Bacha Yadav, the milkman: Witty, sharp and obnoxious
Krushna Abhishek: Addictive, hilarious and factual.
Their equation with Kapil Sharma
Chakravarti: “It’s a six to seven year old relationship with Kapil. We have seen each other grow. I admire his strength when it comes to bouncing back. Hats off to him. [We have] seen each other grow, seen ups and downs... Whatever little I know of comedy is thanks to him.”
Sharda: “It’s been a pleasure working with Kapil Sharma. His comic timing is contagious and he has only made me understand my craft in a much better manner.”
Abhishek: "He has taught me the art of subtle comedy and that comedy is therapy.”
THE KAPIL SHARMA SHOW: WHO’S WHO
•Kapil Sharma as Kapu Sharma, owner of Sharma Badhu Salah Centre
•Kiku Sharda as Bacha Yadav, the milkman
•Bharti Singh as Titli Yadav (Bacha Yadav’s wife and mother of 11 children)
•Chandan Prabhakar as Chandu the servant
•Sumona Chakravarti as Bhuri, Titli Yadav’s sister
•Krushna Abhishek as Sapna, Kappu’s sister and beauty parlour owner