Monday, April 15, 2024

Sahil Khattar: After so much content creation, acting completes me now

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YouTuber-turned-actor Sahil Khattar, who is all set to surface with Jio Cinema’s Bajao, speaks to The Pioneer about his chuckling personality, his ‘atrangi’ moments, Punjabi music, and more.

SHIKHA DUGGAL

When we study mass communication, an expression that’s used more often is something called vox pop. The news segment where reporters ask the opinion of the public! Youtuber-turned-actor Sahil Khattar dismissed this format as pointless padding and went on to become the first of the firsts to introduce this format as a vital ingredient to understanding his country, and never more so than now. The show Being Indian received so many hilarious responses, and we learned so much from what he brought to the table.

This very day he has become that in-demand actor with back-to-back releases and is now all set to surface with Bajao on Jio Cinema with Raftaar and Tanuj. So immersed in knowing how this desirable actor is working his way through the strange world of entertainment to become the largest maker of music videos in the web series, we speak to the former television host ourselves. But, we begin to chuckle at some notes because “hello, hello, hello…” (this was our tongue-in-cheek humor, oops) — “You are so right, my jocular attitude has always turned the tide for me. There are incidents when I see situations going out of control, and my instinct is to use the wit I have in me immediately. I have used my light-hearted humor not just on the streets, as I am known for, but also at corporate offices and packed stadiums. The wit just takes the cake away,” he said.

Elaborating further on his personality and the connection to the central theme of his upcoming web series, he draws that relationship for us: “While I am gymming, the only songs playing in my headphones are the underground, international Punjabi tracks. I’ll be listening to those songs even before they become bangers! Because my circle is Punjabi, I discovered all the latest tracks. My taste has developed over time, becoming a little more commercial since the time I started doing radio. But there are always days when I oscillate between hip-hop and retro. So my character in the web show has all the plans and solutions; he’s short-tempered and intelligent. He’s just crazy, and perhaps that’s why they cast me. He’s that robust mix of brain and brawn. Another conceivable reason for me to be a part of this show was also because my character is Haryanvi and the Haryanvi wave has just started, so my preparations were de trop.”

What did he mean by de trop? Well, he responded quickly, “I have gained almost 12 kilograms for this character, pure muscle mass! You know, there is this very funny notion in the north that they’ll be marketed well if they have a top-notch physique, hence the weight gain. ‘Room mein impression padh jayega!’ So he’s one of the most unique characters I’ve played. My monologues are going to entertain you big-time. Another thing was the Haryanvi accent I had to pick up; this was a calculated move by the directors because everyone in the OTT circuit is going so hard on this accent. Even though I was brought up in Chandigarh and have represented our country from Haryana, my soul still wanted to bring that perfection to the sets. That’s why a dialect coach was hired.”

Sharing some of his “atrangi” moments, the content creator expressed, “Guys, I am not normal — I am very obnoxious. Everything I do is very Atrangi! These days ‘mai bahut mann ka karne lag gaya hu’, is very spontaneous! After a lot of content creation and anchoring, acting completes me now. I over-prep in this profession now because I feel I am ready to go as an actor. Imagine me as the best student, but as a backbencher! Nobody ever knows what I am preparing for my role, but when I reprise, I do so with so much conviction. There were moments like when I had to whisper ‘Par meri aawaz hi nahi nikal rahi thi’, or take out my slip, but I always missed it, and we had to retake. I lied down on the road and danced!”

Telling us some more morsels of information about his show, he explained to us, “The show is about the hip-hop scene of Punjabi music, and I really believe in numbers because that’s where all of our investments are coming from. People are making documentaries on Punjabi singers nowadays! Diljit Dosanjh deserves a lifetime of documentaries. Having said that, what I mean is that audiences are understanding the pulse of Punjabi music, and that’s why our show is going to be a success. I believe so!”

Ending it on a Being Indian note, the host and dost of the most well-liked show in our country recalls, “Frankly speaking, we just went out on the roads and just started talking to people and putting it on to an edit. People started loving it madly! he explained, ‘Humne kabaad se jugaad kiya,’ and we found so many funny and hilarious people on the roads. Just like me! Every day we were shooting in the dark, and it was a bull’s eye. We always had some clips in the bank. We had no storyline; we were just going by instinct. I was just following a pattern to extract content, and that’s why we became the pioneers of vox pop in the country. Soon after, brands started flocking in due to the popularity of my show. All of this gave me a good kick-start in the entertainment industry.”

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