Stand-up comedian Kapil Sharma, already a household name in India, added another feather to his cap and made the people of his hometown, Amritsar, proud when he recently won 'CNN-IBN Indian of the Year Award' in entertainment category.
After struggling for many years in theatre in Punjab and thereafter winning various comedy contests on various television channels and finally launching his own show on Colors "Comedy Nights with Kapil", he has got the kind of success and fame not many even think of.
HT team visited the popular comedian's residence at Ranjeet Avenue in Amritsar where we met his mother Janak Rani, elder brother Ashok Kumar, sister-in-law Muskan Sharma and his four-year-old niece Kayna.
Little Kayna even performs Kapil's trademark 'baba ji ka thulu' which he so often uses as a comic tool during his shows.
Kapil's nickname at home is Tony.
An elated Janak Rani, a housewife, says, "Even at a very small age, Tony barely knew shyness. At the age of four, he would get on the stage, grab a microphone to sing, crack jokes at the weddings of relatives. At the same time, he was good in studies and was everyone's favourite. He would entertain people with his jokes."
"His talent has given us all the comforts of life today. Our family have seen difficult times in life," she adds.
"His father who worked with Punjab police passed away in 2004 after struggling with cancer for many years.
As his father saw Tony performing in various plays during his theatre days, he would always say that Tony will certainly achieve great heights in life. But alas, he could have seen his son's success today," a teary-eyed Janak Rani says, after a pause.
After his father's death, Kapil shouldered all the responsibilities of the family, including the marriage his younger sister Pooja in 2008.
His elder brother Ashok, a head constable in Punjab police, is posted in Amritsar. The family shifted to the posh Ranjeet Avenue locality one-and-a-half-year ago from a small police quarters his father was allotted, Ashok says.
The family goes to meet Kapil in Mumbai every summer.
"It makes us feel great when we all go to meet him in Mumbai. He sends us flight tickets and takes us to the Taj Mahal Hotel at Gateway of India for dinner. The way the staff treats us at the Taj all because of Kapil makes us feel proud. At public places, Kapil's fans ask for autographs, pictures that brings smiles to our mother's face," Ashok says.
When asked about Kapil's wedding, his mother says, "There is no such plan as yet. He wants to give his 100 per cent to his work."
Due to a very hectic schedule, Kapil calls his family twice in a week and he always advises her to take proper rest, she adds.
"I am really thankful to God. He followed his passion. He also struggled a lot during his theatre days. But his hard work has made him a star today. The whole country loves him for making others laugh. The best thing about him is that despite rising in life, he has remained grounded," she says.
The Maharashtra Women's Commission recently sent a show-cause notice to Kapil Sharma and Colors, the channel on which he hosts his show, after a complaint lodged by women NGOs for his comments about a pregnant woman delivering a baby on the potholed roads of Mumbai broadcast on January 5.
His family termed the notice as unjustified. Comedy show is to make people laugh and does not intend to hurt anyone, his mother says.
"Why to make issues out of comedy and not take such comments in a lighter vein?" Ashok says.
HT tried to contact Kapil in this connection through his family but could not. His personal secretary Dinesh Rao echoed similar views.