The year was 2014.
I was visiting my home in India on vacation hoping to enjoy some memorable family moments. Everything was great except for one thing that worried me to my core.
My lovely family’s evenings were dedicated to Kapil Sharma.
Just as Comedy Nights would begin, my family would sing praises and enthusiastically ask me to join in and share some laughs. I started watching with high hopes.
In just a few minutes, I had bittersweet feelings. I liked the actors and actresses especially Ali Asgar and Sunil Pal a lot. I was annoyed at Sidhu’s forced laughter at jokes that weren’t as fun sometimes. And the most horrendous part was the bigotry, sexism, fat shaming, homophobia, racism and classism or casteism.
It was so strong I couldn’t tolerate more than a few minutes and excused myself to my room. And it got me thinking whether I was too evolved and woke that I was unable to enjoy a beloved most watched comedy show on the Indian TV or is my family and the rest of India sadistic enough to mock someone’s face and body type.
People remember him as a comic and his show as ‘Comedy Nights’ but I will address him as who he is – a bully.
In my high school, there was the exact same character in my class. He had some natural talents and looked more put together than the other adolescent guys. And he took complete advantage of those two things. The former one to bully other guys and girls and the latter one to flirt with girls. His promiscuity isn’t my business so I won’t talk about that but what I never accepted was his mockery of others.
Boys with darker skin, short height, boys and girls who were fat… you name it. For every person in the class, he had a point to mock them with. I didn’t get it at that time but he also exerted his caste superiority over the others and obviously, such bullies get to be the popular kids in high school.
Kapil is an exact embodiment of that guy hence I see him as a bully.
Recently, I came across a video of Kapil’s phone call with Spotboye’s editor Vicky Lalwani, in which he is allegedly giving rape threats and using abhorrent language regarding the journalist’s daughter.
The next on the ‘what to watch next list’ was an interview of Kapil explaining how his nerves got the best of him. How being mocked by the media after his films flopped and his show got cancelled had a massive impact on his mental health. How being mocked by media in a couple of articles made him an alcoholic and he developed severe anxiety. And how he needs few months to rebuild himself and how he hurled abuses at people when his ego and self-esteem were triggered.
Did you notice how much of this mockery has been taken and dealt with by all the people that Kapil has ever made fun of? The man whose bread and butter comes from mocking the insecurities and weaknesses of other people is so timid that a just a few trials and media articles broke him.
This makes me want to salute all those people who he has constantly mocked on TV and every single person that was ever bullied by an asshole. You are way more powerful than Kapil and all the other bullies combined.
I guess it is karma. What goes around comes around. I’m not writing this article to take pleasure at Kapil’s failure and brokenness. Because that’s what his fans will troll me for. I’m not like Kapil.
The reason I’m sharing this with you is for Kapil (and every other bully out there take this moment) to stop and really think about the damage you cause to others by mocking them.
If anything, I only hope that Kapil takes a lesson from this whole catastrophe and accept his transgressions. To hold himself accountable for the cheap comedy he did and humiliated others as well as gave a platform to bigots.
In the episode where Sonakshi visited, a member of the audience literally asked her when would she reduce her weight.
You’d ask why is Kapil responsible for that?
Well, first of all, the people in the audience are all sort of planted. They are given instructions on when to laugh and what to say. Let’s say the question wasn’t scripted and no one knew that question would be asked. Even then that part could be cut out of the show when broadcasted.
Or Kapil could have taken this moment to school the guy on body positivity. But what am I saying? The guy who literally laughed at that question, he’d never do that.
I remember a time in the nineties and thereafter when Shahrukh was reaching new heights every day and then suddenly “Dil Se” onwards, his movies were total flops. Not once or twice but several of his films were total failures and media began to make fun and write insulting gossip about his career being over. Maybe that really was the peak of SRK’s career with DDLJ and Dil To Pagal Hai being his best work.
But the noticeable thing is that through those flops and failures he didn’t lose focus on his craft – being good even in a flop film. For instance, in his interview about the iconic Chaiyaa Chaiyya song, SRK talked about how his crew was worried about the movie turning out to be a flop and then he thought even in a bad film, if he did a song well or acted well, that is good for him.
The reason Kapil couldn’t go through with such mentality I think is because Kapil’s craft is mocking other people’s faces and bodies. And that kind of humour has a short shelf life. Hence he went down that spiral. Lots of people in Bollywood, and life, in general, go through failures and develop chronic depression, it’s natural.
I, having been there myself, am a total advocate for better understanding of depression sufferers. But no matter how depressed one is, you don’t have the right to hurl rape threats about someone’s mother and daughter. I would never justify the rights of a mental illness sufferer to be those things.
But Kapil was abusive and ugly on the inside way before this mental health issue started. So, I won’t even blame his behaviour on depression completely. Regardless, good riddance to comedy nights (more like misogyny and bigotry nights).
If Kapil could learn anything from all of this, he would apologize to all the people he has bullied garbed as mockery as well as to the nation for serving them this cheap bully based humour that no one else in the world prefers anymore.