When we catch Danish Sait on a Zoom call in mid-March, he’s down with Covid-19 and isolating. “Are you sure you can speak?” we ask. “Of course. I am much better now,” he says. We offer to do the interview another day, but the 32-year-old insists, “I’m fine. I’m not such a delicate darling either.” The first few days of the infection were bad, he admits, but with the symptoms on the wane, Sait is looking for an escape from boredom. “I’ve asked my manager to line up as much work I can do from home,” he says.
His friends, though, will tell you isolation fatigue is a mere excuse; even in the best of times, Sait is a restive chap. “He can’t sit still for a minute,” says Vamsidhar Bhogaraju, writer, comedian and the director of One Cut Two Cut, Sait’s third film. “Even if he’s on a break, he’ll call up five times with some idea or the other. He’s always thinking about his next project.”
Sait doesn’t deny his eternal restlessness. “If I’m sitting idle, I’ll probably start eating my furniture,” he laughs. This is why, during the first phase of the lockdown in early-2020, he picked up whatever was lying around in his home—a broomstick, sneakers, glasses, tissue boxes, and even a cat—and transformed them into props for his daily minute-long skits, imitating typical households struggling with the agonising confinement. Out of Sait’s boredom emerged conversation pieces between the fictional motley avatars of Jaya, Ramamurthy, Bro, and others who, through their chatter on topical themes (from the PM’s 8 pm speech to the British royal family split), transcended the Bengaluru tropes he upheld and resonated with a wider pan-Indian audience.
As an RJ, emcee, show host, actor, influencer, and IPL’s only traveling comedian (with the Royal Challengers Bangalore, hosting the Insider Series as loveable buffoon Mr. Nags for seven seasons now), Sait was a recognized multi-hyphenate even before the lockdown. But through the last several months, he’s broken out of his regional playground and produced online content that had social media across the country hooked and in splits.
With most of his videos clocking over 5 lakh views on Instagram, Sait is among Indian social media’s biggest trailblazers. He’s as comfortable autographing actor Anushka Sharma’s palms as Mr. Nags, as he is asking cricketer David Warner poker-faced, “Australia first had Warne, then Warner, when are they going to have Warnest?” His fan-following ranges from commentator Harsha Bhogle to former Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who alluded to his lockdown sketches through a tweet on his birthday on July 1: “Happy birthday... I’m not sure whether I should be wishing Jaya, didi, Ramamurthy, bro & all the others who share a birthday with you...”
Sait was quite the showman, even as a child. Kubbra, his elder sister and now an actor, recalls that in his pre-school days, he would sit on a merry-go-round with his classmate and hum ‘Do deewane shehar mein’. Later, at Coorg Public School in Kodagu, where he studied for six years, and at his college in Coimbatore, Sait would always be up on the stage for cultural events.
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