Published: 07th June 2020
Being Danish in the Sait household: We're just a middle-class family with nothing but dreams
Comedian Danish Sait's lockdown videos have been trending on Instagram since the lockdown began. We spoke to the funny man
If 'keeping calm' was an Olympic sport, Danish Sait would win a gold medal. But to be honest, our 50-minute-long conversation wasn't smooth at all. The internet connection was unstable, background noises did not help and frequent phone calls kept interrupting our Zoom call. Yet Danish kept his cool throughout. "You can't fight the internet," he says with a chuckle.
Danish has been a household name for quite some time in Bengaluru. The city loves his voice and his exceptional mimicking skills and prank calls, which instantly became a hit on the radio. Over the years, he has developed many characters during his radio stint and in fact, Nograj — a crooked, corrupt politician — was the protagonist of a feature film that Danish acted in three years ago. Recently, during the lockdown, Danish began uploading minute-long videos on his Instagram page. These videos are enactments of phone conversations between different people (all played by Danish) about the different things that have happened in the last two months. All of them have different voices, temperaments and backgrounds. But needless to say, their conversations are quite hilarious and the internet has instantly fallen in love with them. And the best thing about them is that they were so relatable.
Amid the technical troubles, we managed to talk to Danish about his videos, him parting ways with radio, being Kubbra Sait's brother and everything in between. Excerpts:
1. How quickly do you write these scripts? They're almost immediate!
End to end, it takes me around 45 minutes. I do have a sounding board. Also, a fellow comic Vamshi is pretty helpful. I usually bounce concepts off him and it helps me a lot. The script itself is improvised. The situation is presented and I improve on it.
2. Are all of them inspired by real-life characters, especially Jaya, who I believe has a separate fan base altogether?
Jaya is inspired by a domestic help we had years ago. Her name was Jaya too. The lady who talks to Jaya and checks on her is my mother. On account of the lockdown, she would call the domestic help every three days to check on her. My sister (Kubbra Sait) and I would joke saying, "Momma calls the domestic help more than she calls us."
3. The one about the Prime Minister's Atmanirbhar video seems to have become an instant hit, especially among millennials who do not speak a lot of Hindi...
In that video, I make fun of my own ignorance. I love to hear our Prime Minister speak. He's a great orator. I know Hindi but this is more like knowing English and then listening to Shashi Tharoor speak English.
Watch the video here:
4. How would Nograj have reacted to COVID?
Nograj would have opened up everything. Bengaluru would have been a La La Land, with lockdown imposed only on Sundays, because Corona catches people only on Sundays.
5. How long has it been since you created Nograj?
It has been eight years and honestly, I never thought that he would someday become this big. After a point, you look at where your life is heading and you take your own chances. You go with the flow but you're still in control. That's what happened with Nograj. A friend and I ended up making the film and we had the funding ready.
6. You had recently put up an emotional post on Instagram about parting ways with radio. Was that a tough call?
I was very emotional. It was a tough decision. But I haven't been contributing much in the past year and a half. I feel like I have nothing more to offer. I realised that this was the right time to say goodbye.
7. Do people identify you as Kubbra Sait's brother?
Of course, and we enjoy that. Some people ask her if she's my sister and she's happy. We take pride in each other's work. Mom never brought us up in a competitive environment. There was equality and we were treated the same. We enjoy each other's success and company.
8. What passes for usual dinner-table conversations in the Sait household?
We're mostly laughing and joking about anything under the sun. We are our mother's children and she is the most important person in the family. Our conversations are mostly about the past and the fun we've had.