After a five-year hiatus from the San Francisco Bay Area, comedian Kapil Sharma was back with a bang and funnier than ever when he and Mantra played a sold-out event March 29 at Chabot College here.
Sharma regaled the audience of more than 3,000 with his comic observations and hilarious anecdotes while Mantra, a former radio jockey, actor and co-contestant on the show “Comedy Circus Ke Ajoobe,” entertained the audience with his own unique satirical style.
“Everyone who follows the show ‘Comedy Circus’ on television loves Kapil Sharma,” Praveen Suggala, founder of AAA Entertainments and Radio Zindagi and one of the organizers of the show, told India-West. “The response at tonight’s show has been phenomenal. We were completely house-full and even had turn down some people who arrived late.”
Sharma rose to stardom when he won the third season of “The Great Indian Laughter Challenge” on Star One. But his claim to fame has been the “Comedy Circus” series on Sony, where he has been an undefeated champion for more than seven seasons.
Sharma’s singular wit, impeccable comic timing and sense of humor have made him a huge favorite in every household that follows Hindi comedy.
R.J. Rohit and R.J. Gaurav from Radio Zindagi jumpstarted the show by introducing Mantra who, after getting a sense of the ethnic and regional diversity of the Indian American audience, made hilarious exaggerations of the subtle nuances of each regional ethnicity.
“Even when a Gujarati falls into a well, he cannot let go of his frugal nature. Instead of calling for help, he calls out for a bar of soap and dirty laundry, declaring that while he was already in the water, he might as well make some use of it,” Mantra quipped.
He continued to amuse the audience with impersonations set in the context of Holi of personalities ranging from former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu to Bollywood actors Rajesh Khanna, Saif Ali Khan, Dev Anand, Nana Patekar and Sohail Khan.
Sharma took center stage thereafter and kept the audience enraptured with his talented repartee for more than three hours. He entered singing a semi-classical Punjabi number that showcased his seasoned vocal prowess as well.
“Since childhood I’ve always aspired to be a singer. Comedy comes naturally,” Sharma told India-West.
As soon as he finished his song, he began receiving requests to tell his most popular jokes. When a particular gentleman yelled out a popular request, Sharma wittily retorted: “Haven’t you been deported yet for disrupting public order?”
Sharma’s mastery of situational comedy was evident from his humorous observations of everyday life, like the classic banter between husband and wife that he skillfully narrated with his distinct hint of sarcasm:
“During the first year of marriage the husband enthusiastically participates in Karwa Chauth, but after 40 years of marriage, he ardently wishes that his wife would quit praying for his long life.”
Talking about India’s attitude toward world records, Sharma noted, “Indians are inherently lazy. We wait for people from abroad to scale Mount Everest, which is in our own backyard. We end up holding all the world records that involve no active effort from our end, like the one of the longest moustaches or the longest nails.”
Taking a jibe at Bollywood, Sharma joked, “The role of old mothers in the movies is always to create trouble for the hero. Now, if you roam around the villain’s lair, especially that of Amrish Puri, in all likelihood you will get abducted; why is that so difficult to understand for these mothers?”
Building on the anomalies of Bollywood, Sharma hilariously demonstrated through music what it would be like if singers were forced out of their comfort zones, such as Jagjit Singh singing an item number or Anup Jalota singing “Oh La La” from the Vidya Balan starrer “Dirty Picture.”
At the end of the show, Sharma thanked the audience and musicians for their support and organizers Jai Singh and AAA Entertainments as well as sponsors India Cash & Carry, Divine Vastu and Divine Intuitions.
“It’s been a great experience to put forth an entire show on this tour, and we are very humbled by the amazing reception in the U.S.,” Sharma told India-West. The tri-city tour through Atlanta, San Francisco and Houston was sold out.
“The only challenge for us has been adjusting to different time zones. So, if you see a drowsy Kapil and Mantra on the next episodes of ‘Comedy Circus,’ you would know that we just got back from tour,” Mantra said in jest.
“But, truly, we’ve had a blast. It’s been a fantastic experience, especially since this is my first time in the U.S.”