The director of the 2018 film and the new 10-part series that drops on Voot Select tomorrow, talks about bringing Danish Sait back as Humble Politiciann Nograj.
Last Updated: 10.20 AM, Jan 05, 2022
In 2018, Improv comedians Saad Khan and Danish Sait presented to the world their first feature film collaboration, for which they took one of the latter’s favourite skit avatars, Mr Nags and gave him a bigger platform with Humble Politiciann Nograj (HPN). The film revolved around the corrupt but ambitious Nograj’s attempts to win an assembly election and starred Vijay Chendoor, Roger Narayan, Shruti Hariharan, among others.
Cut to just over three years later, and the duo are back, only this time Humble Politiciann Nograj is a 10-part web series that’s coming to Voot Select tomorrow. In a quick chat with us, Saad tells us more about how the series came together and what to expect, among others. Excerpts…
Danish has, time and again, said that this was a character he wanted to rest for a while, while Saad was always sure it would become a franchise. How did he change Danish’s mind? “It was very easy, right at the back of the movie’s success, the kind of love we received was immense it was not just us who found this world funny and that people who watched it related to it. The minute the film came out, there was a surge, which prompted us to organically get into planning what could be done next,” explains Saad.
While the film was meant to make audiences sit back and think about the people they have voted into power, one wonders if that message actually hit its target or not. “See, we are projecting comedy; we are entertainers and looking at providing humour to the audience. Yes, there was a subliminal social message, but it wasn’t the reason we made the film or the series now. We wanted to bring out the show with the only idea of having fun and going on a joyride. We never really thought about putting in a social message and driving that point home, because then it tends to become preachy, and we didn’t want to have that. HPN is meant to make people forget all the stress of the last two years and have a blast, no pun intended,” says the director.
But did they have a let’s play it safe code while working on the script of the show, given the current political atmosphere in the country? “Not really, because even for the movie we got a lot of love and no one turned around and said that we did something wrong or out of context. What we are presenting is a fictionalised world, there’s no resemblance to anyone – it’s just Nograj and the people around him. The political aspect is only a base to it, the show is all about Nograj and his madness, like, for instance, his love for pop culture, where he says Sherlock Homeless or Holeness; no politician across the globe would say stuff like that. We never really try to go too close to the edge. You don’t have to be vulgar to do slapstick,” he says.
Fair enough, no bearing to anything or anyone, but resort politics? Isn’t that striking too close home? “We have not written it to tap into the political environment; it just flew into the narrative. It’s like this, if I am making a movie on race cars, I would have to talk about how they drive these cars. So, the world is there, what we are doing is not taking comedy to the next level with resort politics, instead, resort politics is only an aspect. The comedy is around Nograj and the people around him. For instance, there is a scene in the trailer where Prakash Belawadi’s character says ‘Baralla” and Nograj retorts, “Are you a CM or an auto driver”, these are characters that have nothing to do with anyone in the political system,” Saad elaborates, adding that the show follows Nograj’s progression in politics from being an MLA to his next step.