Comedian Kapil Sharma channels serious side in 'Zwigato,' playing now in UAE

Bollywood actor opens up on showcasing the life of a food delivery rider in the film

By Sadiq Saleem

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Published: Tue 21 Mar 2023, 4:05 PM

Last updated: Wed 22 Mar 2023, 11:59 AM

A little less than a hundred years ago, a film by the name of Modern Times was released at the height of industrialization and captured the deep-seated anxiety about the tussle between man and machines. Today many of us face a similar struggle between man and algorithms. The gig economy has become one of the largest employment sectors but has also posed new challenges for its workers.

Nandita Das’s latest film Zwigato is a homage to Charles Chaplin's Modern Times. It explores the life of Manas, an ex-factory floor manager who, after losing his job, is forced to work as a food delivery rider, grappling with the app on his phone and the world of ratings and incentives. The plot captures the lives of invisible ordinary people that are hidden in plain sight. Kapil Sharma, who is perhaps one of the strongest brands in India, plays the role of Manas.

City Times caught up with the household name to know how he slipped into the character of Manas and his preparations for the role.

Many celebrities from Robbie Williams and Charlie Chaplin to Mehmood have confessed that all comedians hide their tears and heartache behind humour. Is that true?

As human beings, we all experience a range of emotions, from joy to sadness and everything in between. Being a comedian, people often associate me with laughter and expect me to maintain a constant state of happiness.

While I certainly enjoy making others laugh and smile, there are inevitably days when you feel low. So even on days when I'm not feeling my best, I strive to maintain a positive demeanor and keep a smile on my face. Ultimately, I find that the act of bringing joy to others often helps lift my own spirits as well.

How does it feel to be foraying into acting once more with Zwigato? Do you feel nervous because your earlier films received mixed responses?

As an artist, I have had my fair share of mixed responses to my earlier films. However, my recent collaboration in Zwigato has been a different experience altogether. The journey has been incredibly fulfilling, and I am grateful for the opportunity. I learned a lot from my first comedy film and was able to deliver what the audience wanted to see.

Kapil Sharma with 'Zwigato' director Nandita Das
Kapil Sharma with 'Zwigato' director Nandita Das

Subsequently, with Firangi, I produced a film that was close to my heart, and with Zwigato, I felt that the story deserved to be told. I was confident that films like this needed to be made, and so I was not nervous about the reception that the film would receive. I am grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Nandita Das and Shahana Goswami for Zwigato, and I look forward to more fulfilling creative endeavors in the future.

When you are successful in a certain field, does it take too much of convincing to come out of your comfort zone?

As an actor, I find joy in what I do, and I'm grateful for the love and support I receive from people. While it may seem challenging to come out of one's comfort zone, I believe that when the heart loves something, taking on a new role or project feels fulfilling.

In my case, although people know me for making them laugh, taking on a different role did not feel like a significant departure from what I do. My wife and mother have always seen me express a range of emotions, and I was confident that the story, makers and producers of the project were excellent. So, it was an easy decision to say yes, and I am excited about what's to come.

Your journey to fame has been long but very rewarding. Do famous people have to pay a price for fame?

Receiving love and support from people has been an incredible journey, and I'm grateful for it. However, being famous does come with its price. As public figures, our lives are often under scrutiny, and we must be prepared to accept criticism and learn from our mistakes.

There are certain things that were easier to do before, like walking around in crowded places, that are more challenging now. However, the love and blessings I have received from my fans far outweigh any sacrifices I may have to make. For me, the love of my fans is the ultimate reward.

The stand-up comedy scene in India has grown a lot more. You think there is just too much supply of humour?

I am delighted to see that stand-up comedy is thriving in India, and new talents are emerging. However, looking at the world's current state, with hatred and conflicts, I believe that we need more happiness and positivity. Therefore, I don't think there can be too much supply of humour. The more laughter and joy, the better. Such platforms give opportunities to the performer to rise and shine hence, I there needs to be many more.

Zwigato is a story of a common man with never ending struggles. You have seen a fair share of struggle before you became a household name. but in general, do you think that superstars of your level can ever come close to feeling the real pain of a common man?

As a popular personality, I may have achieved a certain level of fame, but I have also experienced the struggles of a common man first hand. Before gaining recognition, I had to do odd jobs that I didn't enjoy just to make ends meet. Additionally, I witnessed the pain and suffering of those around me in my community. Therefore, I can confidently say that I have a deep understanding of what it means to struggle in life.

You look very convincing as the delivery guy in the trailer. What preparations were done by you to deliver the role with authenticity?

To play the role of a delivery guy in the film, I didn't require any specific preparation. As the story revolves around a common man's struggle to provide for his family and ensure his children receive an education, I was able to draw from my own experiences and observations of life. Therefore, I approached the role with authenticity and didn't need to do any special preparation.

How difficult was it to portray such a character on set and then go back to the comforts of your vanity van?

While filming, I was fully immersed in my character, and since we shot on real locations, switching between the set and my vanity van was not difficult. Even when I had to go back to my van, I remained in character and never felt disconnected from my role. Therefore, there was no need for me to switch on or switch off during filming.

Sadiq Saleem is a UAE based entertainment writer and can be contacted on his insta-handle @sadiqidas

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