From radio to television and now films, Danish Sait is many talents rolled into one. But it’s not all glitz and glamour for this funnyman as he gives some reality bytes from his life.
The funniest men are often known to have the saddest of stories behind them. You’ve been open about your parents’ separation and the domestic violence that your mother had to endure. Did humour offer you an escape from this reality?
I think comedians are just more observant people. And that awareness adds to their personality. My sense of humour though wasn’t something I developed during the tough times at home. I’ve been funny since childhood and my mum has the tapes in which I made these hilarious expressions and talks. As for my past, my sister Kubra and I didn’t have a father around. But then, who’s to decide that you need to have both parents to have a perfect household? My mum Yasmin played both roles, fulfilled all our needs and it was just as perfect.
Related reading: How do I intervene in my parents’ abusive relationship?
What are your earliest memories of a non-conventional setup at home?
That scene in Secret Superstar where the tiny girl is peeking through the door and sees her parents fight? That was me. I remember seeing my parents fight, which went on till I was 16, and the domestic violence that mum went through. Those were horrid times. But amidst this sadness, I also saw a glimmer of happiness because after school, I’d go to the supermarket that mum used to run and help her out. Meeting various people, observing their accents and mannerisms provided me much joy and have today provided fodder for my work as a radio presenter, actor and entertainment professional.
Mum later sold her jewellery to put me through boarding school. I recall standing at the window at school waiting for mum to drive up in a car like the parents of other kids but she always came in an auto. Finally when I enrolled for engineering, mum bought a car. Now, the fights at home were about reversing and parking our car the perfect way.
What is the baggage from a background like this?
I don’t have baggage from the past. There are things that happen every day that bother me more. Like the other day, I sent an audition tape to somebody and it didn’t come through. And I thought to myself, “after all these achievements, am I not good enough?” It’s these tiny things that one goes back home with. I also get hassled when people who don’t know me pass judgement and somebody comes and tells me “so and so said this about you.” Know what? As an artist, it’s all about happiness and pranks for me. But at home, I’m quiet and to myself, either talking to mum or on my PSP. I’m happy to say I’ve made peace with my past and the skeletons have long been buried.
You’ve also battled depression. What gave you the strength to open up?
Deepika Padukone’s sister Anisha is a good friend and the first time I spoke about it was their Live Love Laugh foundation. It started when I was 21. I was doing radio in Dubai and was battling impatience and anxiety. Being a show producer, I wanted to get behind the mic, but instead was giving content to the RJ. All I wanted was to become a star. The girl I was dating was not around and that made it worse. I was chasing the limelight and in my hunger to be known, I didn’t realise that my whole motive to be known was misplaced.
My home was a pile of garbage, I was overweight and couldn’t get out of bed. Mum brought me back to Bengaluru and I took professional help. I got better and at the same time, never shied away from talking about it. Unfortunately, a lot of kids today are battling depression because for them life is all about likes, hits and shares.
Related reading: 5 ways depression affects and destroys relationships
Your mother, sister and special someone… how much have these women influenced you?
My mother is a rock star – she taught me to be a better person. My sister Kubra is like a second mother – when I was a kid, she’d feed me, help me do homework and attend PTAs. She has the answers to all my questions. My girlfriend is my grounding force and has made a responsible man from a mere boy. All these women have had a profound impact in the way I look at and deal with the world.
Then, Danish dreamt of his mum owing a car. Today, what are his dreams?
Today I’m in a more secure space. All I care about is my work. After having done extensive work in radio, online, television and now movies, my ultimate goal is to become a teacher and work with kids.