In 2018, we saw one of India’s earliest OTT sensations called Sacred Games. A 10-part series adaptation of Vikram Chandra’s 2006 novel of the same name, co-starred by Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, the first season of Sacred Games became an overnight benchmark for Indian shows. And while Khan and Siddiqui graced most of the show’s promotional material, it was some of the supporting characters that went away with more applause than the show’s two male leads. One of them was Kubra Sait Ka Kuku, at first glance, Kuku seems like another version of Ek Mol, something we have often seen in Hindi cinema. However, as the season progresses, we are struck with a revelation about Kuku that not only sets him apart from previous Mole characters, but also shows Gaitonde-Kuku’s case in an entirely new light.
Sait, who auditioned for the role in Mukesh Chhabra’s office, told me that she didn’t quite understand it the first time. “I remember Anurag Kashyap calling me and saying, ‘There’s something there, I don’t understand what it is… Do these two scenes for me.'” She eventually managed to capture the character, and The rest, as they say, is history. Kuku was one of the most favorite parts in the first season of the show. She mentions that even after three years, strangers call her ‘Kuku ji’. Sait says that while Kuku was his breakthrough to the Indian public, he experienced something similar in his international debut, the Apple TV+ Foundation.
Goyer (best known for co-writing Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy) and Josh Friedman (best known for adapting HG Wells’s War of the Worlds to Steven Spielberg), the show featured Isaac Asimov. Adapted from the epic series of novels. Sait is cast in the role of Fara, the grand hunter of the planet Anacreon. In her audition for the Foundation, Sait says that she was not particularly good on her first attempt. “The casting team told me they saw something in me, and asked if I could give them something else,” Sait says. It turned out to be an arduous process of six months after which Sait was finalised. “My immediate reaction was this one big blob of sweat that ran from my crown to my back,” Sait mentions.
Sait is grateful that in both his successful roles, the directors and casting team believed in him. Says Sait, “I was sent away from both and asked to come back a second time. Another interesting similarity between the two shows is that Sait’s characters from Kuku and Fara are not present in the original text, thus allowing him to interact with his character as an independent within the world created by the screenwriters, rather than worrying about the reaction of the fans. giving hand.
Starting out as a TV host, Sait was a latecomer as an actor. Says Sait, “I’ve said ‘good evening, ladies and gentlemen’ crazy many times. With the amount of hair on my head, I think I must have said it many times.” According to him, TV hosting was a business that allowed him to be his true self. But it was early on that he realized becoming a completely different person in front of the camera that got him hooked to acting. He remembers the first time Anubhav Pal explained to him the concept of ‘character arc’ on the sets of Going Viral Pvt Ltd. Ltd., a mockumentary-style limited series about a social media strategy company, where Sait takes on the role of a no-nonsense CFO. “He explained to me saying, ‘There is no graph, which begins here, and ends there.’ And I was completely amazed by the word,” laughs Sait.
While Going Viral proved to be a perfect move for Kuku, in films, Sait played a TV presenter in two big-ticket Hindi films: Sultan and Gully Boy. Since then, he has been approached for several TV presenter roles in Hindi films, which he claims he politely declined. Sait says, “I didn’t want to be associated with that title, not that I have anything against it because I still host shows, but the whole thing about acting was taken away from my hosting life. “
According to the Jawaani Jaaneman actor, acting has taught him empathy. “I was fascinated to use my body, my voice, but to be someone else. And you’re not judging by what they did. So, it took me a long time to get to a place where I realized ‘Imagine you treated everyone as a character you’re playing, then there would be no animosity. No bad blood,'” Sait says.
There are talks about how Hollywood executives and streaming services are engaging in symbolic inclusion, but SAT sees no shortage of it. “When it is not done, people ask why it is not done. And if it is done, people say it is not honest. The issue is, who judges?” Sait asks, adding, “Sometimes decisions are made to make a statement, but wouldn’t you like to be best dressed to be seen a certain way? Even if someone makes a dishonest effort, I think it changes a lot for us who are in the mix.”