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Updated: July 25, 2013 21:04 IST

Fifty shades of Danish

Harshini Vakkalanka
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Hello! Is it me you are looking for? Danish says pranking on radio is tougher than telly. Photo: Murali Kumar K.
The Hindu Hello! Is it me you are looking for? Danish says pranking on radio is tougher than telly. Photo: Murali Kumar K.

Prankster, comedian and RJ, Danish Sait tells us that his mother is traumatised every time he gets in front of the mirror to practice

If you are ever caught off guard by a call from Nagraj, Nagesh, Asgarh, Chacko or the seemingly American John, know that it’s just Danish Sait carrying out his “supari” in the most faithful and convincing manner.

He can change his name to avoid recognition. “But I have taken a conscious decision not to change it. I wanted to keep it that way, to see what I can do with these characters. I want to build these characters, I want people to know me and associate me with these characters. People can forget my name, I want them to remember these guys,” says Danish returned to Bangalore just over a year ago after a stint with radio in Bahrain and Dubai, where he played with accents in a local birthday segment.

And he’s careful to ensure no one gets hurt during the process.

“I’m very picky about the people I prank. I never prank kids or anybody over 50. I don’t accept requests to prank parents either because I know I wouldn’t want anyone to mess with my mother.”

sImpersonation and imitation is a childhood habit which he picked up as a form of entertainment in boarding school.

“So what happened in boarding school was that for eight years the only possible thing I could do besides studying, playing and spending time with my then girlfriend was to imitate the teachers. That’s when I realized that I could pick up accents and quirks, build on them and even overdo it.”

His part-time MCing gigs also helped quite a bit. “It’s environment driven, you pick up your skills by observing. When you travel, you meet people, then you start gauging them and trying to imitate them. Though sometimes you may feel like an idiot, when you practise in front of the mirror. My mum is traumatised every time I get in front of the mirror and practise.” Yet, Danish says, the reason people find pranks calls and impersonations funny, is that nobody wants to laugh at themselves.

“We all want to laugh at someone else’s expense. People like it when others are poked fun at. It’s why Cyrus Broacha’s Bakra is funny. I don’t know if I’m in that league yet. But you can do a lot more on TV. Pranking on radio is a lot tougher because most people just hang up.”

Danish is also quite popular in the city’s comedy circuits. He opened Cyrus Broacha’s recent show and recently performed at a comedy show in at UB city.

What he does though, is not stand-up, it’s improvisational comedy, something like the popular American show Whose Line Is it Anyway.

“I like improvisational comedy, which is different from stand-up. We are basically given situations or emotions on the spot or we pick off the cuff from the audience energy,” explains Danish who was hooked after serendipitously landing up to watch one such show at the Alliance.

“Improvisation is hard because you have a fraction of a second to react to the situation and I’m acting and doing comedy on stage. Observation is important and so is research. For instance if I’m asked to talk about a horse riding school, I need to know what happens there. You need to read a lot more and stay up-to-date with everything that’s happening around, with everything from Uttaranchal floods to the IPL scandal or Gangnam style.”

“When you do an improv show you never know what to expect, you have to gauge your audience. Our biggest challenge is knowing the unknown. We need to know what we don’t know because you may know,” he grins.

Danish feels the Bangalore stand-up scene is thriving, what with those like Praveen Kumar (who opened Cyrus’s show with Danish), and Sandeep Rao. Then there are others like Saad Khan doing improv.

“We’re not competing with stand-up because we’re quite different. But the improv scene is still nascent. The reason why people who organize events don’t take improv seriously is because they are in self doubt wondering whether the audience or their colleagues are intelligent enough. But an improv artiste can both simplify and complicate things,” he explains.

So what does he want to be known as, an RJ, a comedian or an MC?

“I don’t know, I m still finding my territory. I’m young and I can afford to travel and host events but I won’t be able to do it once I hit 35.”

All he knows is that he wants to be remembered for his pranks. “Radio today is an important platform, it binds an entire city together with the music because a million people are tuning in at the same time; they’re all listening to the same things. It’s the perfect balance of information and entertainment and you can talk about what happened on radio today or 10 years down the line.”

Yet, he shrugs, it’s pity that there are no VJs anymore. “Or else I’d be on TV, I think I have a face that can go on TV. Then again I might as well be an RJ and talk for a living.”

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