YouTube sensation Sahil Khattar is back on the small screen as Saleem Suyimiyan
MTV Beats launches a parody series on Bollywood songs with the comedian
He claims to be one of the most ‘un-Punjabiest of Punjabis’ but that’s not stopped him from becoming the most popular Punjabi on the Internet.Sahil Khattar, the munda (boy) from Chandigarh, known for his comic roles in YouTube channel, Being Indian’s videos Every Punjabi In The World and Punjabi on The Phone, is back to the small screen with Gaano Ka Rafoo Centre on MTV Beats. The former RJ, comedian, writer and actor who is among the Top 10 YouTube stars in India tells us about his new show and what’s weighing down good comedy content in India.
What’s Gaano Ka Rafoo Centre about?
It’s a quirky take on all the songs you’ve heard. The character called Saleem Suyimiyan is the man behind these takes. Saleem Suyimiyan batein karte hain sacchi but suyi ki tarah yeh chubh apne aap jaati hain (Salim Suyimiyan speaks the truth but his truth pricks like a needle), because he is a tailor and he runs Gaano Ka Rafoo Centre. We are going to dissect all the massy lyrics that tickle your funny one. For example, in the song, Main Bani Teri Radha (from the movie Jab Harry Met Sejal) which Anushka Sharma sings, there is a line, Maine sakhiyon se ankhiyon mein rakhna hai tujhko piya thoda zyaada, zyaada (I want you to be in my eyes more than my friends). Suyimiyan wants to know if Radha (Anushka) is seriously thinking of giving Shah Rukh Khan a place in her eyes? Are these her eyes or a big godown? How can SRK fit in Radha’s eyes?
Saleem Suyimiyan is inspired by?
The character is roughly based on Aamir Khan’s character of Chote Mamu from Andaaz Apna Apna.
Considering how the digital space is growing, do you think TV is taking a beating?
Not at all! Take the example of America. Digital content has been around for 10 years, but television hasn’t suffered there. The budget for America’s Got Talent keeps increasing every year. In India, it’s just been three years since digital content has caught on. Television is here to stay and America is the biggest testa-ment to this.
How challenging is it to keep coming up with newer content?
It’s not difficult at all to come up with new and fresh content. Earlier, competition was lesser and there were fewer actors. But now, it’s different. People are flocking to production houses to become heroes and character actors. It’s similar with television and digital content. We have shows in different genres and concepts that are more intriguing.
Tell us about Being Indian’s Punjabi videos.
I was talking to someone and when that person discovered that I’m Punjabi who is a vegetarian, he was like, ‘How are you a Punjabi? You don’t eat meat and you don’t dance to Bhangra music. Are you Punjabi or un-Punjabi?’ Then we came up with the characters, Un-Punjabi, Dilliwala Punjabi, NRI Punjabi and Pindwala Punjabi. The day we shot Every Punjabi In The World, we didn’t even have a script. The writers wrote a draft and we went to shoot. Whatever I had observed all through my life, I poured it into my acting. But our second video — Punjabi on The Phone was planned with a script in place!
Do you think we are missing out on quality comedy? We either have to watch classic shows or have to sit through bad content.
If you observe closely, most super powers in the world are right wing. The US has Donald Trump, Russia always had Vladimir Putin, and India has the BJP. With the right wing in power, a little bit of radicalism is building up in society. While our conversations are going regressive, we also want progress. I think to maintain the balance, we end up choosing sides, either progressive or regressive. So there isn’t anything in-between. There is no content that balances these extreme thought processes. If you have watched Movers & Shakers by Shekhar Suman and the first few episodes of Comedy Nights with Kapil Sharma, then perhaps you were lucky because it has become a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have watched good content. This gap will not be bridged.
Gaano Ka Rafoo Center premieres on July 29 on MTV Beats