Danish Sait: Puneeth Rajkumar had enjoyed One Cut Two Cut, felt proud

The trailer of One Cut Two Cut, starring Danish Sait in the lead, shows a group of four people — dressed in red jumpsuits and Salvador Dalí masks, clearly inspired by the Netflix show Money Heist — entering a government school and holding students and staff as hostages. It is clear that the soft-natured school teacher Gopi will have to step in to save the lives of schoolchildren.

One can’t help but wonder whether Gopi’s toothbrush moustache (like Hitler) and the hostage-takers dressed in uniforms that’s become a symbol of resistance, courtesy Casa de Papel, have a profound meaning and deeper political context? “There is no Hitler or fascist angle to the movie, I can assure you that. Is there an undercurrent of social commentary? I will not deny it,” Danish told indianexpress.com.

Now that question is out of the way, Danish explains how One Cut Two Cut was born out of a character that he created for his online comedy videos. “I had found bizarre statistics about 9 lakh people in India getting married in a month or a year. I am not sure. And I put out an ad saying ‘everyone is getting married except for me and if you think I’m cute and interesting email me.’ I created an email called gopiisancool@gmail.com. I received some 500 or 700 emails within a few hours. I felt Gopi really did strike a chord and decided to make a film out of it. We needed to give him a profession, so we made him an arts and crafts teacher,” he said.

Danish has two movies (Humble Politician Nograj, French Biryani) and a web series to his credit. All of them were led by characters he had created to make prank calls or funny videos for the internet.

“My prank calls were around the same time when the entertainment boom was picking up on the internet. In fact, one of the first calls to go viral was me putting petrol in a diesel car. The native medium for which I was creating it was radio but I would upload it on SoundCloud and distribute it through Facebook and Twitter,” he remembers.

Gopi is Danish’s very recent invention. He took inspiration from real-life people to create the character. “It (the inspiration) is difficult to put a finger on. But, it must have come from people who I met in real life. I have no shame in admitting that I love watching people. I think life has so much to offer. You should keep your eyes open,” he advises.

Once inspiration strikes Danish, he first tests it by making short videos of the new characters to gauge how people react to them. When sizable people react to his ideas positively, then he begins the process of making movies on them. “Be it Nograj, Asgar and now Gopi, these are characters that have become a hit on the internet already. They have been massively consumed. I am talking about views running in millions. If they were not interesting, they wouldn’t have this kind of traction. I know when to drop some ideas too. I created this character called Anil. He was an old-school wedding photographer. It was only funny to me and nobody else. I dropped the character and started doing something different. It’s trial and error,” he explained.

Danish Sait: Puneeth Rajkumar had enjoyed One Cut Two Cut, felt proud (File) Puneeth Rajkumar at the launch event of One Cut Two Cut. (Photo: Facebook/ Danish Sait)

One Cut Two Cut is one of the last projects that was greenlit by late movie icon Puneeth Rajkumar. Danish recalled that his relationship went beyond the work they did together over the years. “He (Puneeth) was a friend and a mentor. He had seen the Gopi videos. When I went to him with an idea to make a film, he knew what we had in mind and what we were going to do with it. When he heard the story, he was immediately on board. My relationship with him was not that of a typical producer-actor. He was my family. There were 14 people at my wedding and he was one of them,” he said.

Danish also revealed that Puneeth saw the movie before his untimely death last October. “He enjoyed it and was proud of the fact that a first time director had done a good and compelling job. He was happy that so many people were associated with this film and so many people got an opportunity from this film. That’s all he ever wanted to do. He was always investing in new generations of storytellers. He was happy with what we had managed to pull together,” he said.

Directed by Vamsidhar Bhogaraju, the film also stars Prakash Belawadi, Samyukta Hornad, Vineeth ‘Beep’ Kumar, and Sampath Maitreya, in pivotal roles.

One Cut Two Cut will start streaming on Amazon Prime Video on February 3.

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