Danish Sait: We have given our best for Malaikottai Vaaliban, regardless of the reactions

Actor-comedian Danish Sait talking about his experience working in  Lijo Jose Pellissery's Malaikottai Vaaliban, starring Mohanlal
Danish Sait: We have given our best for Malaikottai Vaaliban, regardless of the reactions

As you scroll through Danish Sait's Instagram handle, you will find a video he made during the last T20 World Cup featuring prominent cricketers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. This video is still one of the most liked videos on his account, with nearly 10 lakh likes. After he shot the video, he got a call from filmmaker Lijo Jose Pellissery, which marked the beginning of his journey as Chamathakan of Malaikottai Vaaliban. Danish hit two jackpots within 24 hours: While one was a significant milestone for the hilarious entertainer in him, the other was an opportunity to play a contrasting, deceitful character on screen, which would also mark his Malayalam debut.

"Whenever I asked Lijo how he imagined me as Chamathakan, he said, 'You're mad, that's why.' In hindsight, perhaps he just needed somebody with no inhibition. And Mr Mohanlal is the immortal monument of the project; you just need to be there doing mad things like stabbing people or sitting on a donkey. At some level, you can't be conscious. And as a person, I'm not very mindful, and  I'm okay to be me at all places," says Danish, laughing.

Danish Sait as Chamathakan
Danish Sait as Chamathakan

Although Lijo found Chamathakan in Danish and could navigate him through the character,  the latter shares the emotion that the final product is the collaborative effort of everyone involved in the process, " Lijo obviously had an idea about the look and feel of the character. He already knew what he wanted. However, At no point did Lijo discourage an idea from my end. One of the remarkable testaments to this collaborative effort is how we came across one of Chamathakan's lines,'Nilathu Veena ente Oro mudi narinum njan pakaram chodhikkum'. When I suggested that Chamathakan could say, 'I will avenge every strand of hair that has fallen off my head', Lijo was receptive and came up with the translated version of the line in no time."

Danish hadn't played characters similar to Chamathakan before. So he went through a process to get into the skin of his role. "Lijo, being an ardent Stanley Kubrick fan, the first round of preparation came in the form of watching films like A Clockwork Orange. Then, I attended workshops and worked with an acting coach, " shares Danish, specifying his efforts to embody the viciousness of Chamathakan and hide his natural tendency toward humour. Detailing on the same, he adds," In one of the scenes, where my head is getting shaved, I don't blink at all. It is a sign of fearlessness, but on a closer look, you can see my legs shaking as a sign of anxiety.  I feel it is a blend of the emotional and physical turmoil of the character."

Danish in Malaikottai Vaaliban
Danish in Malaikottai Vaaliban

However, the efforts and preparation put into making a film will be validated when it reaches the audience, as cinema is for the masses. Unfortunately, Malaai Kottai Vaaliban couldn't keep the rhythm it had created before the release after it reached the audience. Was Danish disappointed by it? "I wouldn't want to read too much into what the expectations were and what the outcome was. When this is such a big film, the anticipation around was also high, naturally. So was mine. Everybody in that film knew we had done our best; now it's up to the audience. I recall asking Mr Mohanlal if he ever gets nervous before the release of a film after spending 43 years in the industry. He replied that there was no reason to be nervous. We have done our best, and the audience will now have their say. Yeah, that's literally what the business of performing arts is. And Malaikottai Vaaliban is the greatest experience I've had so far in my career, and it will always be special to me," says Danish.

Highlighting Lijo's media interaction post-release and the changing landscape of filmmakers clarifying the audience, Danish shares, "Lijo just initiated a conversation between himself and the audience. And that's fantastic. I think it's perfectly fine because when there is a dialogue, there is an exchange of ideas between experienced creators and viewers who have an opinion on a film. I believe that this dialogue is essential."

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