Edited excerpts from an interview between Kairam Vaashi and Danish Sait, ahead of the release of the latter's One Cut, Two Cut on Amazon Prime Video:
Wikipedia describes Danish Sait as an Indian stand-up comedian, television host, radio jockey, actor, and writer who works in Kannada cinema. As we have the opportunity to talk to you live, please tell me, who is Danish Sait?
Danish Sait: Well, to begin with, I am not a stand-up comedian. I have never done any stand-up comedy. In India, it is hard to tell the difference between a comedy actor and somebody who uses comedy as a tool to tell a story. I don't do stand-up. I am a content creator, irrespective of the platform you put me on, whether it is a one-minute video on Instagram or an 80-minute film coming out on Amazon Prime. I just enjoy making content. I like using comedy as a tool because you can say a lot and get away with it.
But can you really get away with a lot these days? Even if it's under the mask of comedy?
Danish Sait: I think you can. I am coming on the back of a political satire which hasn't gotten into any trouble. Even with One Cut Two Cut, there is an undertone of social commentary and my team and I have generally emerged unscathed. There are reasons for this. When we sit down to write, we are very cognizant of the lines or limits inside our heads. We know that this thin line could be pulled back at any point in time but the only way to navigate around it is to be humble and apologise and move on to what is next.
You said that irrespective of the medium you put into, you would continue to do the same content creation. But how do you choose the medium to present your content?
To be honest with you, Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and so on.. has been a part of my career for the past 11 years, right from the time I used to upload my prank calls on Sound Cloud and distribute It through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. From there, of course, cricket happened through RCB, I started doing content on YouTube again and spend a lot of time on social media. I wouldn't claim I understand it and that it comes naturally to me. But there is an attempt every single day to do something that is new that has the viability to be watched and shared. But, when it comes to films, I have never limited myself to think I am only restricted to a particular place. I do have people around me and the belief system in me for people to invest and say "okay, this is a guy who puts out content every single day for free but people are willing to pay and watch him do the same thing in a grander version." I feel very lucky in that sense when I look back at my career. I am going to be three films old, I have a series to my credit, I have countless minutes of content on the Internet and people see the distinction as I see it.
Here's a serious question. Is it important for Danish to focus on one medium?
I never thought about it. We live in times like that. To give you an understanding, I always dabbled with several media. When I did radio, I also did events apart from the contents for Instagram, cricket, films. So I've always done multiple things at the same time.
Did this ever give you an identity crisis? Were you clear that you were a content creator from the start?
Yes. When I worked with RCB for content, I was hired. When I worked with ICC for the world cups, it was hired to do it and it's the same with PRK Productions. I am happy to be there and just doing these things and I also feel we live in an age and time where you should be able to multi-task. To give you an example, I drew a lot of inspiration from the advice I got from Mr.Puneeth Rajkumar. He told me not to get caught up in the illusion of being an actor. He asked me to do what I do and I think a lot of it was to reinforce the fact that I don't think I can live with a solitary career. I can't do that and if I simply wait for scripts or directors to come to me, it will drive me nuts because I've built my entire career around creating content for myself, even if nothing's coming my way. The idea to simply wait for the right opportunities is difficult for me to wrap my head around.
But, is there a downside to it? What I mean by that is would you say today is not the time we will be looking at traditional superstars?
I think there is a place for both: the traditional superstars are extremely important. They are the ones who keep the industry running at that scale. It is the money they make that is being invested in people like us. Mr.Puneeth Rajkumar, with all the wonderful films he did, he has invested it back into the people and I am going to be very grateful to him for that for the rest of my life. In my head, being a traditional superstar is something I can't rap my head around it. I am a foot soldier and I like to hustle. I enjoy the grind of going out and talking to 20 people, getting investments, going back to the script, seeing it right through distribution. I enjoy that process. Is there an identity crisis? Not at all, I never wanted to be a traditional superstar. I wanted to be a guy who puts out content. I would any day prefer being known for my content on Instagram rather than my airport look. I'm very clear about it.