Danesh Razvi is currently basking in the glory of newly acquired fame and attention following the release of Netflix series A Suitable Boy. In this six-part series directed by Mira Nair and adapted from Vikram Seth’s novel of the same name, Danesh plays the role of Kabir Durrani, one of the three suitable boys the protagonist Lata has to choose from.
It was a simple “yoga connection” that got this Mumbai boy his first acting gig. The film-maker happened to attend the yoga class taught by Danesh’s mother, a disciple of B. K. S. Iyengar. Despite the criticism and mixed response received by the show, there has been “mostly positive” feedback for Danesh, feedback that “overwhelmed” him after a point, as the social media accounts soared with followers overnight. “It’s all new” and out of his “comfort zone,” admits the 27-year-old, who attended the Los Angeles’ School of Theater, Film and Television to get formal training in acting.
Danesh might be reluctant and unsure about social media but is very clear on how to go about his career. “I want to work in good films and in projects that I feel passionate about and do not want to do things because they pay me well,” he said, quickly adding that he hopes he is privileged enough to do that.
One can see the same earnestness in the character he portrayed in A Suitable Boy. Kabir is sincere about his love, practical but also passionate. And he is very likable. In a way, the character is an extension of his own personality. When I was late for the Zoom call due to an appointment with the dentist, he sincerely asked if we should postpone the virtual meet. It’s the thought that counts, I wondered.
Excerpts from an interview:
What was the brief given to you by Mira Nair?
I have grown up in Mumbai and the story is set in the north, in post-Partition India, so Mira and I would discuss about the attitude of the character in that time. She would say ‘it’s about relating to the people who have been through hell’. It was easy for me to get into the character; however, I had to work on my cricketing skills (laughs). Yes, I don’t really play cricket and I had to learn how to play like a superstar.
How’s life post A Suitable Boy?
It has been great. Strangers have reached out to me through social media and through phone.
You are not really active on social media, are you?
I am not big on social media. I am learning now, as I should be using it for work, but I don’t know how to handle it. I don’t mind promoting something that I am passionate about but I don’t like the approach of selling on social media to get a job. The acting should get someone the acting job, not social media. It’s not my thing but I will grow into it, maybe.
What is your take on the criticism received by the show?
If we are talking about the criticism of the show being in English, I want to say the book is written in English, we speak English and it was picked up by an English production house to be made for the BBC. We have dubbed in Hindi too for our own audience. If this was picked up by an Indian production house for a native audience, things would be different, but that unfortunately did not happen. We are proud of our work and everyone is entitled to their opinions.
Danesh is currently busy reading scripts and is in talks to finalise his first feature film, which he would start shooting in January.
‘A Suitable Boy’ is streaming on Netflix.