‘Comedy is harder than tragedy’ Danish Nawaz

  • 09 Dec - 15 Dec, 2017
  • Shahzeb Shaikh
  • Interview

I first spotted Danish Nawaz doing a guest appearance in the popular sitcom, Sab Set Hai (SSH) in the early 2000s. The show is still very much in the memories of every youngster who grew up at that time. Famous for its immaculate comedy and perfect dialogues, the show was memorable in each aspect. Although Danish wasn't a big part of SSH, it was another hit sitcom, Roommate which proved to be the reason for his success. In that show, he bugged his roommate to an extreme extent. While comedy remains his fortè, Danish has also worked in many serious serials that prove his calibre as a versatile artiste. Interestingly, Danish has also worked in a film and is currently involved in production and direction. MAG recently sat down with this talent for a chat regarding his acting career, future course of direction and much more.

I start my conversation with his entry to the media field. Danish reminisces, “I joined television at a time when the Pakistani drama scene was in a state of transition. During my days at an engineering university, there was a programme called Sab Set Hai. Azfar called me for a cameo but the feedback was so great that Ghazanfar sahab offered me an entire show called Roommate. After which, there was no looking back. The feedback grew and so did work.”

Interestingly, Danish Nawaz is the son of famous, late actor, Fareed Nawaz Baloch and brother of TV actor and director, Yasir Nawaz. I am compelled to ask if ancestry matters in an artiste's career? “Being Fareed Nawaz's son is obviously an honour, but the situation is not the same in having a sibling in the industry because people usually start comparisons and build unnecessary pressure,” he states.

It is often said that talent runs in the blood of an artiste who comes from a family of artistes. It is important to know whether art is self-learnt or taught. “I think it cannot be taught but yes we can train. No one taught me, however, I have a few mentors who trained and guided me to understand this craft. And, honestly speaking, I am still learning and evolving,” replies Danish. According to him, his inspiration comes from common people. He shares, “My true inspiration comes from common people, people who we live around (me) – the aam admi, that is why I made a very special project called Extra – The Mango People.”

Danish is most popular for his comic stunts. So, how technical is comedy and what are its basic ingredients? Danish explains, “Comedy comes naturally. It is well known that comedy is harder than tragedy. That is mainly because it is not easy to tickle brains through words. I must say that even though it’s my forte, comedy is harder,” and adds, “you can’t fake funny. If you don’t believe me, try producing a laugh, and then try producing tears. I think you’ll find it much more challenging to make yourself genuinely laugh, than cry.”

His thoughts on present Pakistani comedy scene are quite critical. “We had load-shedding issues in 90's and we still have them today, our saas bahus were against each other in the 90’s and are still at odd ends, so I feel as a nation we are moving forward very slowly. This reflects on the issues that we portray on screens be it comedy or not. Therefore, the work today is fine but our channels should encourage new topics,” he opines.

Danish has acted in TV as well as films. Which one he finds more challenging? I ask. “TV is definitely more challenging than movies. Surprisingly, entertaining is slightly easier in films because you have the audiences’ full attention, so even a small gesture works, but on TV you have to do more, reason being the excess of channels, as they (viewers) can switch a channel in less than a second,” he answers.

In the recent times, Danish has been actively involved in creating and writing concepts as a screenplay writer. “I actually like writing concepts. So I am involved in creative thoughts and brainstorming. However, as a screenwriter, I am working on a feature film.”

On the directorial front, he is working on serious directions like Sun Yaara and Paymanay among others. While one discusses his directorial work, it is pertinent to inquire as to how this sudden shift towards direction came by? Danish is quick to respond. “I wanted to work on something exciting and more creative, so I shifted to direction.”

Danish made his Lollywood acting debut with his brother’s directorial Wrong Number, which was a major success. His thoughts regarding present Pakistani film industry are very optimistic. He quotes, “We are in an amateur stage. The best thing is that finally films have started to make business. Like new filmmakers, the audience is also new, so the current scene is great and we should all support it. In the recent years, Lollywood has delivered films like Bol, Wrong Number and Jawani Phir Nahi Ani, which show that it is growing as an industry.” The future of Pakistan’s film industry is “very bright”, he thinks.

Adding on, Danish stresses upon opening of training institutes for acting in all parts of Pakistan.

Danish Nawaz is a strong proponent of social media. He is of the view that “social media is highly important to artistes, especially for promotion of their work because this is a great tool to dispense their talent to a larger potential audience.”

Danish ranks his debut movie very high on his achievement list. He says, “Wrong Number was the right decision. It was a great learning experience for everyone of us. Now, we are all more skilled and equipped to make greater films.” As for his most cherished TV project, Danish holds Nadaaniyaan and Extras – The Mango People high on his list and plans to open up his own production house in the future.