Features Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 05:30
Anisha Sheth | The News Minute | November 2, 2014 | 4.43 pm IST When he got his first job as a radio jockey five years ago, 26-year-old Danish Sait had already made happily ever after retirement plans. Of sorts.  But in the years since hosting a breakfast show at his first radio job in Bahrain, Danish seems to have put those plans on hold. His signature show – the pranks he plays on people on Radio Fever 104 FM – has been hugely popular. How could it not, when he tries points out that it is not “gorrment” but “gowrrement” in an accent that is capable of switching easily between Kannada English and Tamil English and Malayalam English. And international Englishes. This is Danish pretending to be a BBMP official:  “Yenidu, mane munde wole dig madidira?” “Not phone, wole, wole” “Ninu gourment property damage madidhiya, yeshtu gottha punishment? Ten yyears”“Eh! It is nat gorment, it is gauwrrment” This by the way, was the Kannada way of speaking English. And then, there is Dakkhni Urdu, the language spoken by a large section of Bangalorean Muslims, alternatively lyrical and crisp, tailor-made for someone who’s trying to pull your leg.  This is Danish pretending to be someone who bought a Chetak: Uncle you remember you sold me that Chetak?“Kya uncle itna cheating karko bechkoi tumei” Those are just the tip of the iceberg. You can listen to him frighten the daylights out of a boy whose father or uncle discovered his messages to his daughter/niece. (When she messages you again, say she is your sister. I will message her now only uncle). Then there is the vegetarian who is made to believe he and his family ate chicken Manchurian at a restaurant and is asked for feedback.  In one prank from nine months ago, Danish pretends to be a police officer pulling up someone for stealing a packet of pens. He speaks with all of the accents mention above, but also throws in American, British, Chinese or Japanese (too difficult to make out because of the near shrill yelling of the poor prankee). “The entire mix of my childhood” is present in all these pranks, his education divided between Bangalore and Coimbatore (where he learned Tamil). Danish says that after graduating with a degree in visual communication from Coimbatore, he worked for a while with an event management firm which paid him Rs 15,000. When somebody who knew somebody who owned a radio station, spoke to that somebody about Danish, they sent him a VISA and a ticket for an interview. “I thought I would ask them for double (of his current salary), save half and live on half. In five years, I would live happily ever after in India after buying a house,” Danish says. Well, this is where things went right. Although he gets homesick easily, Danish says he “loved” living in Bahrain where he hosted a breakfast show. “It was like a kitchen-run show. You do something good, you get a piece of chicken,” he said.  But this job was how he built an understanding of the medium. “The internet is where I got my basics from. I would listen to radio stations from across the world and that’s how I also picked up international accents.” When he switched jobs to a radio station in Dubai, he says he hated living there somehow and the work too was saturated with ads. At least a quarter of your time is spent on doing ads in Dubai, he says. If you’re hosting a breakfast show, you would say something like: “I had chai this morning, and it was good, but it was good because of Sunrise Milk.” But he has been with Radio Fever in Bangalore for nearly two-and-half years now, and seen huge success playing pranks on request. Asked if he doesn’t get bored, he said that there after doing something for so long, there was a risk of a “creative burnout” because “people expect so much from you”. Changing jobs was not the answer, he feels: “Even if you change jobs, you’re just changing your job’s geography, not your life’s geography.” He is now writing a script for a comedy, and is in the process of talking to all kinds of investors. He is hopeful that work on the film could begin by next year.  On whether there are certain lines he thought should not be crossed when making jokes, he says that there was in irony in this: “The thing about people in India is that people cannot laugh at themselves, they can laugh at others. Another person’s distress is a million people’s laughter.” Of the innumerable requests he gets from people to play pranks on others, there are some his simply refuses to do. One person wanted him to call his mother and tell her he was dead. A student wanted him to play prank on his teacher. “If you are thinking about playing a prank on your teacher, your teacher is probably right in being a little hard on you,” Danish says.  A big help in navigating these requests and deciding which ones to do was fellow RJ and mentor Darius. “One and a half years ago, my sensitivities to these things would have been different,” Danish said, had it not been for Darius.  Poking fun at people isn’t always a laugh. “I hate get hate mails all the time. There are people who will find a reason to be offended by anything… you find yourself at the firing end of nothing,” he says.  So what makes Danish laugh?  Although he leans towards intelligent humour, he says it is “being in the presence of good people. That’s when you laugh from the heart.” (Photo Courtesy: Danish Sait - RJ Danish Facebook page)
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