FUNNY MAN TO KNOW

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By As a child he rattled off dialogue from Hindi films. As an adult, he has turned to making spoofs on them. And that has earned Sajid Khan an X-traa Innings this New Year
  • Published 3.01.04
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In a flaming red sari and sober half-sleeved blouse, big bindi and scruffy wig barely in place, Randira Bedi hardly oozes that sex appeal that has made Mandira Bedi so much of a household name. But ask any couch potato, given a choice whom he would watch and pat would come the reply, Randira. For what Mandira lacks, Randira has in plenty: oodles of a wild and whacky sense of humour. And the man behind the dumpy Randira, Sajid Khan, is certainly not tired of playing an X-traa Innings or two.

On the 31st night, the funny face of India — Kehne Mein Kya Harz Hain as Khan may have said — played a steady innings on virtually all the TV channels. If he was Randira Bedi on Zee, he was the stiff upper lip boss Armaan of Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin on Sony. While Aaj Tak saw him poking fun at Saddam Hussein, NDTV caught up with him to find out what he was up to on the 31st.

Some claimed his gags were silly, but then who minds laughing himself silly on the last day of the year? Or, for that matter, the first. As the new year rolled in, Khan was, as usual, in his element. Catch him on the sets of a Sab TV show he hosts called Sab Kuch Ho Saktaa Hain, and he greets you with an impish smile.

Improvisation being his forte, he leaves his fellow comedian Suresh Menon to follow the script. Menon, dressed in an ugly bald wig, welcomes viewers with: “Namaste. Welcome to the show. Main hoon Ganju Baba, aur aaj hamare guest hain Mumbai film industry ke Munnabhai. Sanju Baba.” In walks Khan in a zombie-like fashion, his expression blank, instinctively reminding one of Sanjay Dutt. It doesn’t take long to figure out that Dutt’s latest hit, Munnabhai MBBS, is the target of this gab machine.

While Khan’s brand of comedy blends slapstick and wordplay, its USP is its cheeky, insulting streak. One that comedian Paintal is wary of. “Sajid has a unique style and excellent timing. But at times, he does go overboard and his offensive comments could hurt sentiments. He should be careful,” he says.

Khan, however, couldn’t care less. “It is either humour which has an offensive value to it that works for me or its downright stupidity. I identify more with Groucho Marx, who was the father of insults, on the one hand, and Kishore Kumar and Rajendra Nath’s silly humour on the other. I can’t identify with Mehmood or Johny Lever or the vulgarity of Dada Kondke, Kader Khan or Shakti Kapoor,” he says, dragging on a Marlboro for effect.

Surprisingly the offensive nature of his comedy has gone down well with some of his seniors like Jagdeep and Satish Shah in the industry. While Jagdeep feels he is versatile and good with satire, Satish Shah thinks “his forte is his take on film actors”.

Born to a Muslim father and a Parsi mother, the 33-year-old grew up on a diet of Hindi films. His gift for mimicry and comedy made him a popular figure in Mithibai College in Juhu. Subsequently, Khan got into what he did best ever since he was a kid — talking while his sister Farah Khan’s love for dancing saw her drifting into choreography.

Khan, however can laugh as much at others as he can laugh at himself. As a child, he was a Jeetendra fan and would imitate his favourite star by wearing tight white T-shirts and trousers complete with white shoes and go to watch a Jeetendra movie.

“I even had a T-shirt given by my aunt which had ‘I love Jeetendra’ written on it. I am also a die-hard James Bond fan and can do crazy things like wearing a suit while going to a Bond film,” he chuckles, showing off a “007” screensaver on his Nokia mobile and a Bond wrist watch he’s wearing. He also has stacked up the counter-foils of movie tickets of over 3,000 movies he has watched to date.

How much he has assimilated will only show when the horror sequel to Ram Gopal Varma’s film Darna Mana Hain, Darna Zaroori Hain directed by him hits the screen. “It has my trademark black humour,” claims Khan whose ability to blabber non-stop has also earned him a daily radio show aptly called Hum Bolega Toh Bologe Ki Bolta Hain on Star’s Radiocity.

So then there is no escaping Khan. If not at home, he’ll surely go all out to tickle your funny bone in the car. After all, there is no denying he is a funny man to know!

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