My mother advised me to discuss politics and religion only at home’
...says the multifaceted personality, Danish Sait, as he and director Saad Khan talk about the upcoming social-political satire
Danish Sait is back as Nograj, albeit on a different platform. The anchor, presenter, stand-up comedian, television host, radio jockey, actor, and writer is someone who needs no introduction, and the same holds good for one of his most iconic characters Nograj.
The character, which was first introduced by Danish through a radio show, had a hugely successful run in cinema too. The first film, Humble Politician Nograj, which was released in 2018, enjoys almost cult status. There is an equal expectation in the upcoming socio-political satire web series, which will stream on Voot Select. The 10-episode series produced by Applause Entertainment and Firstaction Studios marks the digital debut of Danish and director Saad Khan.
The actor and director speak to CE, ahead of the release of this original web series, which will be out on January 6.
Danish admits that he is tired, even if in a good way, with bringing to life the role of Nograj. “I am glad that I got an opportunity to use Nograj to entertain audiences for many years, but on the flip side, I feel, with age and experience, my interest is getting changed, and so have been my career goals. I haven’t figured out the future of Nograj yet,” explains Danish, who also revealed to us that during this year’s IPL season, when he had to get into Mr Nag’s character on the field, he did discuss with the team whether he wanted to play this character next year as well. “I feel it is tiring, and at the same time I can’t give a final answer,” he adds.
What is it about Nograj that made the character such a people’s favourite? Is it the magic of the character or Danish’s exemplary performance? “I feel it is Nograj that catches all the attention. I am funny on screen and in front of the camera. Otherwise, I am a simple boring boy. So it is the character ‘Nograj’. The look, the moustache, the craziness in the eyes, the roller coaster ride that he takes to become an MLA, and his dreams to become the CM, it is all this and much more that people like about the character,” he says.
Danish, the actor, has also written the script of Humble Politician Nograj along with director Saad Khan. Does the multifaceted personality who has worked in different mediums, find the process of making a web series more liberating? “No. It has the same process as what we do with cinema. You have SMPs and lawyers sitting and watching the show. I don’t think there are many liberties except for the fact that one can tell a story by taking as much time as we want. Unlike cinema, the time constraints are a lot more flexible, and as long as the content is tight, we can work around the time factors,” he explains, and further clarifies that there are no separate set of audiences for OTT and theatres, and the basic requirement for all audiences is the expectations of entertainment.
Apart from Danish, who plays the titular role, the series also has Vijay Chendoor as Manjunath, Prakash Belawadi, Disha Madan, Varun Thakur, Shalini Narayan, and Geetanjali Kulkarni in pivotal roles. The political satire traces the life and times of MLA Nograj who harbours ambitions of becoming the CM. It deals with the power play involved, and resort politics.
There is a buzz that the film’s topic touches upon coalition governments, and Danish quickly says, “Humble Politician is fictional, and it has got nothing to do with actual political scenarios. Of course, the situations and the central incident could have taken place in some other places. But it is important to understand that it is just a comedy show, where a lot of.things are products of our creativity.
Danish is honest when he says that his knowledge about politics is minimal. “Even if I have an opinion, I discuss it with my wife, and life moves on. As a child, my mother had advised me that politics and religion should be discussed only at home, and I have always followed that” he says.
Danish Sait and Saad Khan have travelled together for almost eight years, and are associated with various creative works. Coming to Humble Politician Nograj, the director sheds more light on the kind of equation he share with Danish. “We have been friends for many years, and we have managed to maintain a good rapport. With Danish’s popularity whatever he is doing in the lockdown has helped this webseries come out so well. We did get a good response for our film, which was out in 2018, and I hope we get the response for this web series. There is a positivity that comes from Danish, and he has delivered his signature style as Nograj. With an ensemble cast to boot, this web series will definitely be a powerhouse for entertainment.
Saad had observed people in different situations to help the director craft the story and the various characters. “I have never taken any influence from any politician, and my inspirations are from the common people,” he signs off.