Danish discusses his time working in Lijo Jose Pellissery's Malaikottai Vaaliban and the reasons he loves acting more than anything else in an interview with OTTplay.
Danish Sait | Photo: Instagram
Danish Sait, who has been wanting to work with a visionary filmmaker for many years, receives a phone call during the Australia T20 World Cup 2022 India v/s Pakistan match. The Kannada actor, who is also a standup comedian and a social media star with his viral humour videos as Mr Nags, was surprised by that call, which made it possible for him to star in a highly anticipated Malayalam movie.
The Humble Politician Nograj actor is now busy with the promotions of Lijo Jose Pellissery and Mohanlal’s upcoming fantasy period drama, Malaikottai Vaaliban, in which Danish is playing a prominent role.
Danish discusses his time working in Malaikottai Vaaliban and the reasons he loves acting more than anything else in an interview with OTTplay.
You are a well-known stand-up comedian who also creates content for different social media platforms. The films in which you have acted are also of a satirical nature. What makes you prefer it to other genres?
Comedy has always been my best way to get away. My response to any emotional trigger is comedy. Making people laugh has been the focus of my 16-year career, whether it was through prank calls on radio or creating funny content for the Royal Challengers Bangalore and online as Mr Nags. I have a natural sense of humour.
Were you passionate about acting from the beginning?
I adore the medium and firmly believe that magic exists, and that's all that matters on the day everything comes together and we see it on the big screen. Many people have no idea how much work and stress go into making a movie. I am thrilled to be an actor, and the entire process is incredible.
I enjoy making content, so that's all I really want to do. I genuinely appreciate and cherish the opportunity I got through Malaikottai Vaaliban. In the months of January through April of 2023, I did not post any videos. I wanted to put everything into the movie. All I want is to continue to grow as an artist, regardless of the medium.
How did you come to be in Malaikottai Vaaliban?
I received a text from Prashanth Pillai saying that Lijo wished to speak with me. Afterwards, during our conversation, the director proposed that I be cast in Malaikottai Vaaliban. I said, "Yes," without thinking twice. I received a call from Lijo during the India vs. Pakistan match at the Australian T20 World Cup, requesting that I quickly go through a presentation of the character. Things started to get real for me when I flew down to Kochi.
When I visited his Kochi flat, he had a mood board in his room that included details about the setting, the characters, and the costumes. When I asked him how I should get ready, he told me to watch videos of hyenas. You will see how helpful that instruction was to me if you watch the movie.
We see a glimpse of your character in the trailer—a partially shaved person sitting on a donkey. What kind of preparation did you do for your character?
I have let Lijo explore my inner actor a hundred times. For that, I shaved off a portion of my beard and head. For instance, I wanted to spend two days at home because I was so exhausted. Lijo declined my request to have the remaining hair on my head and face removed. I looked half-shaven as I flew all the way from Jodhpur to Delhi. I strolled around with it in a casual manner, lacking any inhibitions. When my wife saw me at the airport looking like that, she was definitely taken aback.
Honestly, this movie offers some of the best chances for a comfortable performance. Every actor in this movie gives their best performance because Lijo does not rush you and instead allows you to fully experience every emotion of your role.
These days, most people would rather watch movies on OTT platforms than go to theatres if the movie lacks rave reviews. What are your thoughts on the matter?
I think both OTT platforms and theatres have their own space. We are seeing films like Neru gross more than Rs 100 crore. Its stellar cast is helpful, but in the end, people are drawn to the big screen by the performances and content more than anything else. In the meantime, some fantastic films and web series are streaming online every day.
People ultimately want to have an enjoyable experience when they go to the movies, which is why a film like Malaikottai Vaaliban would excel as an ideal cinematic experience. You would be astonished at what a visionary man could accomplish on a large canvas with a group of talented actors and technicians.
What other aspects of Malaikottai Vaaliban, besides the outstanding cast and the Lijo Jose Pellissery factor, would captivate viewers?
I want to underline that watching this movie would be among the most beautiful things in your life, whatever those things may be. Bringing together the right amount of cast, music, costumes, and gorgeous frames to make the scene visually appealing to the audience is a difficult task.
These days' audiences are sufficiently sophisticated. Seeing films like Neru, The Great Indian Kitchen, Joji, and Kaathal: The Core as an outsider in this field has given me a great deal of respect for the audience here. Everyone enjoys watching a different genre, whether it be comedic, action, or has themes that will make you think for hours.
What are your upcoming projects?
To be honest, I have been working nonstop, and I am a little tired now. Right now, Malaikottai Vaaliban is my only concern. I genuinely hope that everyone finds our work in this film to be amazing.