Déjà Vu: Kapil Sharma Rehashes Old Tropes On New Netflix Talk Show

By Shantanu Sanzgiri 24 April 2024 2 mins read

Kapil Sharma returns with his new talk show 'The Great Indian Kapil Show' but fails to deliver any fresh material.

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For over a decade, Kapil Sharma has ruled the airwaves as Indian TV’s reigning comedy king. With Comedy Nights With Kapil, and later The Kapil Sharma Show, the comedian and host settled on a formula that resonates well with mainstream Indian audiences—a bunch of sketches, a little bit of standup, and a big-name celebrity coming on to promote an upcoming project. The jokes weren’t always the best, and there was a lot more fat-phobia, misogyny and punching down than we were comfortable with, but hey, that’s just Indian TV comedy in a nutshell.

So when Sharma announced that his comedy talk show was making a comeback with the same cast (after a brief interregnum in 2023), only this time on Netflix, comedy fans struck a note of cautious optimism. Freed from the shackles of TV suits, would we get to see a fresh, edgier side of Sharma, like we did on his 2022 special I’m Not Done Yet?

Sadly, all these expectations were squashed with The Great Indian Kapil Show‘s lukewarm premiere on 30 March (featuring Ranbir Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor and Riddhima Kapoor Sahni). Once again, we’re treated to Sharma’s jokes about the middle-class life (something he has clearly lost touch with in the last few years) and his tired jabs at Archana Puran Singh. One sketch is entirely premised on poking fun at Kiku Sharda’s physique. Stick, meet dead horse.

The debut episode’s only highlight was Sunil Grover’s reunion with Sharma after they parted ways in 2017 following a mid-air dispute. Grover’s comedic timing as the character Dafli (a clone of his TV persona Gutthi) is outstanding as usual but once again, he’s reduced to reaching for the low-hanging fruit. Another great performer, Krushna Abhishek, meets a similar fate.

The following episodes—one with cricket stars Rohit Sharma and Shreyas Iyer, another with Diljit Dosanjh, Parineeti Chopra and Imtiaz Ali and the latest featuring brothers Vicky and Sunny Kaushal—were a similar snooze fest. Every episode feels like that school project you’ve “borrowed” from your older sibling and just changed the name on top. Sure, they’ve amped up the production value. They have a swanky new set now with an airport theme. But just like airline food, the jokes are stale and tasteless.


Shantanu Sanzgiri


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