I have a confession to make: I have never managed to watch a single episode of ‘Comedy Nights With Kapil’. Not one. Not that I haven’t tried, because hey, anything in the interests of consuming highly popular culture. But a few minutes in, Sharma’s litany of tasteless, loud jabs have been too much for me to handle, and I’ve slunk away, defeated, every single time.
So ‘Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon’, his film debut, was watched strictly in the line of duty. I was fully prepared to shut my eyes (and ears) to be able to survive it, and now that I’m done, I’m bound to tell you that not only am I alive still, but I also managed to find some laughs, with Messrs Sharma, Kapil and Varun.
It’s not as if the film didn’t try hard to offend me. The plot is as 80’s regressive and outlandish as they come, with Kapil Sharma playing Shiv Ram Kishan, a man with three wives, about to jump into matrimony yet another time. He calls each marriage a ‘haadsa’ (‘accident’), whizzes about fulfilling his husbandly duties, lying through his teeth, and smiling all the way through. Tired old japes about ‘biwis’ and ‘musibat’, and ‘wives’ and ‘tension’ abound : clearly, the plot is strictly from the male point of view, and wants us to feel for the poor fellow who has been saddled with not one but `three-three’ ‘problems’, polygamous or no.
The wives’ don’t know they are a threesome ( Manjari Fadnis, Simran Kaur Mundi, Sai Lokur) despite living in the same building. It’s Mumbai silly, no one knows each other. By the time they do, Sharma has had enough time to kiss and soothe each lovely. And make his way towards the true love of his life (Elli Avram), who seems more comfortable dancing in a club rather than in a `mangalsutra’-kitchen combo that she is aspiring to.
The only reason not to run out of the theatre, screaming, is that Sharma displays a surprising flair for underplaying. He is clearly building on his TV comic persona, but manages to employ more than the standard smirk, which seems to be his only expression on his show, to make his point, and there are places he delivers his lines with smart timing. He nearly makes you believe that under all that yucky creepiness, there is a solid, middle-class helplessness to his Shiv Ram Kishan, and then the plot goes and does him in.
Mommy Supriya Pathak, who can be a fine comic, is made to deliver herself of a moral science lesson about `shaadi’ and ‘ghar-baar’, and manages to ruin a bawdy, vulgar comedy that was racketing along. I cringed more at the lecture-at-the-`mandap’, than in the whole movie which is full of women whose only joy is in getting married, and staying married, regardless of how caddish their man may be.
Next time around, because I’m sure there will be an encore, maybe the offense quotient can be lowered, because low IQ jokes can overwhelm anyone, even comedy kings. Kis kisko ignore karoon?
Cast: Kapil Sharma, Manjari Fadnis, Simran Kaur Mundi, Sai Lokur, Elli Avram, Varun Sharma, Arbaaz Khan, Sharat Saxena, Supriya Pathak, Manoj Joshi
Director duo: Abbas Mustan