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Digital Review: ‘Kapil Sharma: I’m Not Done Yet’ (Netflix)

Tuning into ‘I’m Not Done Yet’, you see Kapil Sharma in an unusual setting – alone on an empty stage, with a nervous energy we haven’t seen from him in years. This man has been doing comedy on TV for years, but here he doesn’t the have casual confidence that comes with the routine of ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’. He has no props, no sets, no co-actors. What he does have, is earnestness. There’s excitement in the air, a catharsis that is felt with every joke he tells, and the freedom of finally breaking out of the mundanity of his TV gig.

His TV instincts do sometimes get the best of him. Sharma’s timing is a little off. He pauses for jokes expecting loud Archana Puran Singh style laughter, while rushing through some jokes that get a bigger reaction than he expected. There’s a level of hesitancy in his political jokes, which could have been ironed out with a few practice runs of the material. Thankfully, he quickly drops the nerves when the conversation switches to his life, his career journey, and his family.

The writing needed to go through a few more drafts as well. Some thoughts feel like they haven’t found their conclusion, while others aren’t given the time to organically get there. The structure is messy even if the framing of the show – his conversations with his therapist – is fascinating. It isn’t always clear where he’s headed with each story. But the few that do neatly tie together are incredibly charming. A great example of this is the one about his return to home after a rough time in Mumbai, which could have been used to frame a separate stand-up performance. Overall, the amount of material Sharma tackles could have easily been divided into two specials. Here, he jokes about things he can’t dare say on TV anymore, and it feels like he thinks this is the only chance he’s going to get.

This doesn’t feel like a new Kapil Sharma. In fact, it feels like the original witty Kapil, who instantly became an integral part of pop culture as if it was his destiny. Most of his jokes are variations of stories that he used to tell on ‘Comedy Nights with Kapil’, without the filler low brow humour that is now the predominant comedy of ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’. The special isn’t perfect, but it is a great reminder of Sharma’s perspective as a comedian, which seems to have been lost thanks to the constraints of TV, and the distractions that come with it.

‘I’m Not Done Yet’ is not Sharma pandering to the OTT audience. It’s Sharma making his own audience visible to the OTT market. There is a dearth of material on Netflix and Prime targeted to this demographic. Yet – Sharma insists – it exists, watching and tweeting about ‘Money Heist’. This special is for them.

Rating 2.5/5