Sidharth Sagar is undoubtedly one of the finest comedians in India today. Whether it’s his mimicry of Naseeruddin Shah or his comical persona of Selfie Mausi, Sidharth has brought smiles on thousands of faces.
But in the recent past, Sagar faced a lot of hardship. He claimed that he was given bi-polar medication mixed in food by his family (even though he was not diagnosed with it) and sent to a rehab where people would ‘bash him up’.
Whilst living in solitude and disturbed by what was happening in his life, he got addicted to certain substances.
However, despite facing so much turmoil, the 25-year-old artist has gained the optimism and courage to return and do what he loves the most… Comedy.
As such, in his FIRST EVER LONDON INTERVIEW, Sidharth Sagar speaks with Filme Shilmy about Comedy Circus, humour and life-lessons.
(The interview is originally conducted in Hindi and so the answers have been transcribed).
Sidharth, it’s great to see you back on Comedy Circus. How has this season been for you?
This season is going well because it marks my comeback after everything that happened in the past.
When I was going through that dark phase, everyone sent a lot of love, prayers and positivity – perhaps this is why my comeback has been possible.
I feel very blessed.
You have worked a lot with Optimystix. How supporting have they been towards you?
My collaboration with Opti has been on-going for 11 years.
Vipul sir is a fatherlike figure in my life. He has always supported me for which I love and respect him.
No matter what, he has always supported me.
As for the team, we are like one family and Vipul sir is like that father and leader.
It does seem like a family and doesn’t feel like a competition?
When I did Comedy Circus with Krishna and Sudesh, I learnt that competition cannot be someone external.
There are many singers, actors and dancers but fewer comedians.
As such, one cannot compete with another because each artist has their own USP.
My USP is mine therefore only I can be my own competition.
You’ve done many seasons of the show before. Has it been a challenge working with Mubeen Saudagar and Karishma Sharma?
I worked with Mubeen 8/9 years ago on Chote Miyan Bade Miyan.
During those days, Mubeen was the writer and I the actor.
We’ve also had a great friendship and I always hoped that we would become part of a duo or trio.
Fortunately, this happened on Comedy Circus.
When Karishma entered, she at first quite apprehensive. But now she has stepped up her game and matched Mubeen and me.
She has settled now.
According to you, what makes a good comedian?
Out of all comedians, I like a few.
I admire Jim Carey, maybe it’s because I can relate to him, especially his humour.
His humour gets weird and bizarre but his physical comedy is apt. Plus, his timing is always on point.
The speciality of physical humour is the timing.
In a similar manner, I really like Robin Williams and Charlie Chaplin.
I less prefer the typical style of standup comedy and prefer more character-style of a comedy – similar to Selfie Mausi.
I love physical comedy, Which is why I like Sunil Grover a lot too.
Let’s talk about your background. You’ve been working in the industry since a very young age. Tell us a bit about growing up and your education?
My first season of Comedy Circus was on Chinchpokli to China at the age of 13, after which I did Chhote Miyan Bade Miyan on Colors TV.
Post that I returned to my hometown Delhi, I stopped studying after 9th standard (Year 9 here in the UK) because I come from a middle-class family, so I continued to work.
I left with a sum of 2000 rupees and started selling food.
By the age of 16, I opened up a restaurant in Delhi.
For a couple of years, I pursued spirituality.
From reading scriptures, I learnt the true values of life.
So at that point, I learnt moral values during that time.
I have more education in spirituality rather than school.
Spirituality is the basis of life.
No matter how successful a person is, one must always dedicate time into it, in order to understand life.
It’s been a very rough journey, of recent. Despite facing so much hardship, what positively encouraged you to return to TV and work?
My main motivation and positivity come from my spiritual Guru Ashutosh Maharaj ji.
In fact, he was the one who encouraged me to go to Mumbai and work.
My parents have always loved me ever since I was a kid, though a lot of things changed after coming to Mumbai and getting money.
I felt hurt at that point but realised that if a person does the seven things in life, nothing can go wrong.
These things consist of honesty, open-mindedness, the willingness of knowing the truth, patience, tolerance, acceptance and faith.
If a person adapts these aspects in life, they can never feel down.
So, when it came to acceptance when I hosted the press conference and revealed what happened, I was told that I will face allegations but I knew I had to accept where I went wrong because that was my Karma.
If I didn’t face it then, it would come back to me in the future.
Then when I came out of that phase and told everyone about what happened, with honesty I accepted the mistakes I’ve made.
Thereafter, I got the willingness to resume work and had the faith that all will be well.
So those seven factors came together at once and after concluding it, I’ve realised that these are the reasons why I could move on.
I’m a strong believer in Karma. I believe that whatever I do – good or bad – it will return to me.
What did you learn from your experience?
At that point, I was drawn away from spirituality because I was given bi-polar drugs without my knowledge as it was mixed into my food.
That medicine would sedate me and often bloat me, hence why I seemed like that during Comedy Classes as Selfie Mausi.
I have the same food that I used to but now I don’t feel bloated because I’m no longer on medications.
The medicine also prevented me from mediation and was intentionally given to me for this. My spiritual base was shaken.
At that point, my soul was restless and so couldn’t even meditate. To restore this inner-peace, l tried everything even substance abuse.
So after everything, I accepted it and told my parents that I need to go to rehabilitation.
After a few months, I came out of it and though the treatment wasn’t quite appropriate, I learnt a lot.
From everything that has happened, however, I’ve learnt that one must assess an action and judge whether the result would be positive.
Listen to our full conversation with Sidharth Sagar here!
It’s amazing to see that despite facing so much hardship you’ve maintained that positivity…
I would only find peace from mediation which I was unable to do because of the medication.
To find that lost inner peace I started using external things and that damaged me mentally, physically and financially. It disturbed me a lot.
I believe the worst experience of my life was what I went through during the consumption of the substance.
The time of getting released from mental asylum to rehabilitation was the toughest.
Each time I was there, I sat in meditation and that’s when I realised that if I am recovering internally, from my soul, then I develop the faith that my future will be positive.
I’m thankful that these moments came into my life as it taught me a lot about good and bad people.
Had this phase come at a later stage of my life, who knows whether I would’ve been able to handle it or not?
Sidharth claims that everything happens fast… From hardship and triumph to his recent engagement with Subhui Joshi.
In addition, he has overcome all trials and tribulations with faith and utmost positivity. This is a remarkable virtue which Filme Shilmy applauds Sidharth for having throughout his life.
Consequently, we all must learn and adapt this quality.
Special thanks to Optimystix Entertainment, Vipul D Shah, Rakesh Juneja, Nikul Desai, Barkha Thakur and the entire team of Optimystix for facilitating the interview.
Comedy Circus airs on Sony TV every Saturday and Sunday at 21:30 GST in India and the UK.