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Kapil Sharma says he contemplated suicide, Shah Rukh Khan asked him to take a break

At the trailer launch of his second film Firangi, the TV comedy show host opened up about battling depression.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Mayur Lookhar

Over the past year or so, actor Kapil Sharma has been in the news for his struggle with alcoholism, problems with performers from his TV comedy chat show, and for leaving Hindi film industry bigwigs like Shah Rukh Khan and Ajay Devgn stranded on different sets.

A few months ago, Sharma had checked into a rehabilitation centre in Bengaluru. He was back in the spotlight to launch the trailer of his second film, Firangi, yesterday. There, the TV star opened up on battling depression, and admitted making mistakes. 

Firangi trailer: Meet Kapil Sharma as the village idiot in this pre-Independence drama

‘I’m not a god. Every man makes mistakes,” Sharma said. Much of Sharma’s troubles started with the fractious relationship he shared with fellow television comedian Sunil Grover. Things went out of hand when Sharma abused and assaulted Grover on a flight while returning from Australia.

Grover walked out of The Kapil Sharma Show and, only a few months later, the show itself came to an end amidst reports of Sharma having anxiety attacks leading to cancellation of shoots. 

Sharma cited the airborne clash as the start of his woes. He was upset before he left for Australia as a dear one had passed away. Thereafter, two of his crew quarrelled and Sharma, without listening to both sides, hurled abuses at one of the squabblers. 

“It all started with the fight with Sunil," said Sharma. "I went into depression after that. I went through most of the negative reportage. I still love Sunil paaji. I know I was at fault, but if I were in Sunil’s shoes, I would have tried to know why I was behaving in such a way.”

While the fight with Grover resulted in the latter leaving the show, Sharma courted more controversy when he left a bigwig like Shah Rukh Khan stranded on the sets of The Kapil Sharma Show. 

Clarifying that he didn’t turn up late, Sharma said, “Shah Rukh Khan was supposed to come to the sets at 7pm, while I turned up earlier at 2pm. We were to begin the shoot at 8pm and I started to have an anxiety attack. I felt there was no way I could perform on stage. One shoot was cancelled, then it became 2, 3, 4 shoot cancelled (sic).”

“Shah Rukh Khan met me the next day and he told me that I should take rest (sic). That is when I decided that I needed to take a break. I went to Bangalore. I started my treatment, but then I came back and started to drink more. I don’t know why I did that. I was hurting from inside,” he said. 

The comedian stated that he later apologized to Khan, and Anil Kapoor, who was sympathetic. 

“I’m an impulsive man. There are many things that were just building up. I didn’t know how to handle it. I still need three months of recovery,” said Sharma.

With his TV show off the air, Sharma didn’t know what he would do next. He says, "I didn’t tell my mother what had happened. She is too innocent. I told her that the workers were on strike and so the show was halted. Later, I locked myself in my office, not even taking calls from anyone. It was just my dog and I who were staring at each other.”

Things changed after Firangi director Rajeev Dhingra and team reminded him that he hadn’t committed a murder and should come out of his shell.

One of his Punjabi friends advised him to come and stay with them at a sea-facing apartment. “My friend invited me to stay in his apartment. I saw the sea and felt like jumping into it. I recently cancelled a BSF [Border Security Force] event for I still need time to recover. I began to realize that drinking is creating problems. So I reduced it. I’m feeling much better now,” said Sharma.

Despite his woes, the actor hasn't lost his sense of humour. He pointed to his man Friday and said, “This guy used to drink by stealing my liquor bottles. Come on, I’m Punjabi. Even Dharam paaji [the actor Dharmendra] has quit alcohol. I’m an impulsive guy, but dil ka saaf hoon [I am clean-hearted]. I am a man who will not give up easily.” 

Firangi is set to be released on 24 November.