Stand-up comedian Danish Sait has nearly 100 hilarious lockdown videos. If that’s not enough, his new Kannada film, French Biryani, releases today. He talks about how he comes up with content for his videos and the comedy lines he won’t cross:
Sneha Menon Desai: I want to chat about your film on Amazon Prime Video, French Biriyani, that’s out this Friday, the incredible lockdown videos and the second installment of Humble Politiciann Nograj which I am so excited about.
Danish Sait: I am excited about all of it as well. I’m like a child at a candy store. I’ve just not outgrown my childhood. I don’t care whether it’s making a difference to me monetarily or not. That’s why I have a business manager – because I make horrible business and financial decisions. When it comes to work, I just want to have fun. There’s too much seriousness in the world. Even before the pandemic,, we had a pandemic of seriousness.
SM: Have you figured out what’s behind your videos going viral? What’s your USP?
Danish Sait: To be honest, I can’t put a finger on it. There are videos I thought would really fly and they haven’t. There are videos that people have lapped up. All I know is that discipline is extremely important in terms of putting content out. You just have to keep working, doing what you’re good at and putting it out there, the rest will be handled. What it’s come down to today for me is: Did I have fun doing something? Did I laugh while doing it? Did I enjoy the process of putting it together? Did I make good friends? That’s it. When you put content out, the audience takes it and makes it whatever it becomes.
SMD: So it’s one big party? It’s the same as how the world sees it?
DS: It’s quite a riot because I’m happy, I am generally a happy person. The problems that I’ve had, I’ve been vocal about, like my mental health issues. I went through depression, I chose to fight anxiety. I still take my medication at night, I visit my therapist, that’s my support system. I’m very grateful for every opportunity that I get. Today when I put up a video, 5 lakh people laugh, 8 lakh people consume it, 10 lakh consume it. I didn’t think of any of this and now that I’m here and I have so much happening, I’d be extremely ungrateful or just unfair if I said I’m not happy or I have stuff to complain about. I don’t.
SMD: You told me the people that you use as sounding boards include your sister, a nearby bar owner and your fitness trainer. Is this the trick to keeping your stuff relatable?
DS: Yeah, my sister really helps. I recently put out a video in which Didi visits Jaya’s house. I ran it past my sister and asked if I was coming across as classist or elitist. We had a long discussion about that one-minute-long piece before I uploaded it.
SMD: So where do you draw the line at what you won’t do in the name of being funny?
DS: These are conversations that I have, because with comedy, you have one job – to make people laugh. Is it a difficult job? Yes it is. But can you sometimes cross the line and hurt or anger the people around you? Definitely. My line of control is: Is it acceptable to my mum, to my sister and to my friends? We’re all extremely compassionate, empathetic and aware of somebody else’s sentiments, religious and otherwise. There might be a hundred things I say at home, but I won’t let that cross my house and go outside.
SMD: I’m curious about the Danish Sait process. There are bunch of people who see the stuff you put out and want to do what you do. Where do phrases like ‘Bevarsi Kudka’ and ‘Ram Murthy Avre come’ from?
DS: Real people! You step outside the house and drive around, go to a local bar, you’ll find a lot of drunk people just going on. It’s not just here, this is a norm across countries. If you go to Australia, you have these people sitting on the side of the road, going, “Fuck off, mate.” These are people and situations I’ve grown up around, I’ve seen, I’ve observed.
SMD: What happens after you start getting famous enough to not be able to step out and have people be real with you?
DS: I believe that you’re either Michael Jackson or you’re trying. Michael Jackson is the single greatest superstar who ever walked the face of planet Earth. Everybody else is just trying. I don’t think someone like me will ever be popular enough to be known to a billion people in this country and that’s what keeps it real for me. It would be wrong for me to live in a bubble where I think, “I am going to be so popular, how do I step out? Will people be the same?”
SMD: When I mentioned your fans, you said they’re not fans, they are stake holders in your success. I want to know more about that.
DS: Today, when I share content or do something with a brand, I charge money. But these guys give me their digital space for absolutely free, and all they want in return is laughter. Which is why I say they’re stake holders in my career. This is not blind faith, they’ll call out my bullshit immediately. They’re not going to go to Instagram and Facebook and watch a video and have nothing to say about it. Which makes me very real, because there are no illusions between them and me. My problems and their problems are the same.