Kanan Gill on Noor co-star Sonakshi Sinha: She recommended Joker for a Pretentious Review!
Kanan Gill — of Pretentious Movie Reviews fame — is making his Bollywood debut with the Sonakshi Sinha starrer Noor. Here's a quick interview with the comedian-turned-actor:
The good part about meeting a new actor, who happens to be an established stand up comedian, is that there is a lot of laughter. The most refreshing thing about Kanan Gill, is his easy going behaviour. His answers are brief and there is absolutely no effort to play act the ‘hero’. He became popular on YouTube, thanks to his popular show Pretentious Movie Reviews, in which he makes fun of '90s movies along with Biswa Kalyan Rath. Now it seems, he could not care less if he will becomes a bona fide Bollywood celebrity after the release of his upcoming film, Noor, with Sonakshi Sinha in the lead.
Though he may be unaware of it, Gill is already winning over some hearts. As is evident from two young female journalists nearby, who I hear enthusing, "He is sooo cute!”
Excerpts from a conversation:
From Bengaluru to Bollywood, what has the journey been like?
I used to write software and now I am working in a movie. It could not be more different than that! In general, the pace is very different. Mumbai is super-fast and everyone wants to be one up on the other. In Bengaluru, people are a lot more content. ‘You want to have a beer?’… ‘Sure’.. It took me a while to adjust to Mumbai. There is a reason why Mumbai is so sought after. This city makes you want to pursue any ambition you have.
Do you have the ambition to make it bigger as an actor now?
Time will tell. [Smiles]
But do you have the ambition?
I think about it differently. I don’t think of it as having an X goal. At any point, I have an exciting opportunity, I will do it. If it’s something that I have not done before and if it challenges me, I will do it. This role excited me and I thought I can do justice to it, so why not? If something comes along after this, great — and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
How did the role happen?
The casting agent saw my review on my show (Pretentious Movie Reviews) and recommended me for the part of Saad. I got recommended for a few parts earlier and I decided to go for this. Three years ago, I was considered for another movie but that did not work out.
Were you disappointed?
Yes, it was a huge disappointment.
I can’t say. It was a disappointment for everyone. I just thought my time will come when it has to and it showed up on my doorstep now.
So you met the director...
Yes, he explained the story and I auditioned. After I was shortlisted with other candidates, Sonakshi saw me and recommended me.
Yes, she jokes she was your ‘Godmother’. Do you think this industry requires some influential figure?
Not any more. Things have changed.
Did you have the image barrier of being a funny guy?
This is not just a funny role. There is more to the character which I like. He is a relatable person.
You are playing Sonakshi’s best friend’s role. Would have preferred a romantic lead?
[Laughs] I know that people assume you want a certain thing. But I don’t want to play a big, prominent ‘starry’ person. I just want to play a good role in a good film. The whole idea of “Mere ko ek type ka role karna hai” is outdated. People are not pursuing stardom anymore; they are pursuing making just a good film.
How was it working with Sonakshi?
She had actually seen my review a few years ago and tweeted to us that it was very funny.
Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon. She loved the review and was familiar with my work. During the film, we met for readings and she was very easy going. The three of us, along with Shibani Dandekar, were very comfortable and laughing and joking on the sets. Sonakshi’s experience clearly shows. She would nail it anytime she was told to do something. She was very helpful to us. After all, she has done 17 films.
Which ones have you seen?
Have you seen Dabangg?
No… I haven’t really watched many movies overall. Amongst hers, I have seen Lootere. That was good. Recently, I was watching another movie called Joker.
You haven’t seen it either, right? [Laughs]
No. Is it the kind that would be apt for a Pretentious Review?
Way more [smiles]. Sonakshi is very sporting about it and herself recommended it.
Have you reviewed any of Shatrughan Sinha’s movies?
What genre of movies would you like to work in?
I don’t know. A good movie can be made in any genre. I enjoy horror movies and would love to be in one.
Coming to your own field of stand up comedy, who is your favorite?
Eddie Izzard, Louis CK, Gilbert…in India, all my peer groups. We all have started around the same time and we have pushed each other. My close friend Biswa Kalyan Rath and Kenneth Sebastian, Naveen Richard are my other favourites.
Talking about the shows in the digital space, how do you see the current sexual harassment case against TVF CEO, Arunabh Kumar?
The biggest take away is that companies and startups have now started having sexual harassment policies. It’s the most positive change that has come out of that. As far as the investigation is concerned, let it take its own course.
Now, more women are talking about it..
Yes, it’s important to talk about it and I am cognisant of it. It’s a very serious matter and needs to be looked into.
Coming back to your film, have you read the book on which Noor is based (Karachi, You're Killing Me)?
The spirit of the book is the same but because of the change in location from Karachi to Mumbai, there are a few necessary changes in plot points.
So, as one of the jokes in one of your reviews goes — “this is a good movie but the book is better…” — what would you say for Noor?
[Laughs] Yeah, the joke goes—“This is a good movie but the book is better… ‘which book?’… ‘any book’.” Does not apply to Noor!
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