Comic actors can be intense: Dubai-based comedian on his OTT debut

Comedian and actor Nitinn R. Miranni on shattering stereotypes and playing a serious character that stands in contrast to his comic persona

By Laraib Anwer

Published: Fri 28 Oct 2022, 8:15 PM

As he jokes with his nasal voice, making impressions through his cold, with even the room service attendant laughing out loud, Nitinn Miranni finds means to make people laugh even in the most mundane scenarios, with comedy coursing through his veins. Born for the comic world, apart from his widely loved stand-up shows across the region, Nitinn has played his hand in short films like City of Life, which went on to win many awards, Soul of Dubai, See Yourself and many more. Most recently, he was seen in the Indian drama web series Karm Yuddh, playing the role of a CBI officer, set against the backdrop of the high-profile Roy family of Kolkata and the ruffles between them.

Winning a Lion Gold Award for the best OTT debut, Nitinn is among the comics who are breaking stereotypes, as he takes on a much more intense role, contrary to his jovial presence on stage. With his recent feat, the actor takes us along on his journey of showing a different side to his personality taking the challenge head-on.

Edited excerpts from an interview:

How was your web series debut experience?

I think the debut experience has been quite interesting. I’ve done a few projects in the past as well like City of Life, which is a Dubai-based film and have been a part of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, but I think after Covid-19 the wave of OTT platforms has emerged, so the experience has been fantastic. We obviously hit a bit of a lag during our shoot because of the pandemic but overall, the experience was fantastic and I’m a bit overwhelmed with how much love and support came our way from all over. Especially in Dubai, since I grew up here, I’ve been getting so many messages from people. The experience was great but getting so much love and support is even better.

What went into the preparation for your role as a CBI officer?

I would give a lot of credit to the makers because I’m a stand-up comedian in real life and in the past, the kind of projects I’ve worked on have largely been in the comedy genre, so to play the role of a ‘no nonsense’, straightforward CBI officer was a different breed altogether. I had to do a lot of research in terms of understanding the mannerisms, the body language and I had to learn how to connect my speech with my thinking at the same time. If you have ever noticed, CBI officers always speak in a very direct and firm manner, with the correct words. I also started working out to look the part. What was very exciting was that I got to do my own stunts. There’s a major fight sequence and we shot the whole thing in one take. Even the parts where we had to retake were worth it when we looked at the end result, it was absolutely magical.

Did you face any challenges while you took on this role?

I think the only challenge was the pandemic, since the dates kept shifting, the location got cancelled or protocols kept changing. But the good thing is I was mentally prepared all the time, if they called me at any time for the shoot, I’d be ready. So, I did my best to make sure that I was well prepared. Also, I say this with complete humility that I am a trained actor. I’ve done workshops, I’ve done theatre in Dubai, so it was just a matter of time where people understand that just because I’m a comedian, it doesn’t mean I can’t do much else. As a matter of fact, most comic actors are quite intense actors. The project I did with Ali Mostafa, it’s a beautiful film for the Dubai government called Soul of Dubai, I remember him calling me up and saying ‘listen you did a great job as a taxi driver in City of Life and everybody loved the scene, I want to offer you something but there are no lines, it’s a very serious part and you just have to act with your face’. I said ‘please tell me where to sign up’. It was just a matter of time since I moved into this direction because in real life, too, I’m a fairly intense person, but since comedy dictates most of my personality, I think people are really surprised and I think it’s working in my favour.

You recently won the Lion Gold Award for the best OTT debut. What does this win mean to you?

The show released on September 30, and here we are, winning a debut award. I am extremely humbled. What happens often in this industry is that one faces a lot of doubt. It means a lot to be awarded on a stage where Ranveer Singh, Karan Kundra, Vani Kapoor and all these amazing actors were also getting awarded. But it also means a lot of pressure now for the future. The good thing is I love pressure. I’m one of those guys who works better under pressure, and I’ve got a few more projects in-hand going on for me. I’m going to be in a short film called Painkillers, where I think people will see a completely different side of me and I hope they accept that as well.

You have worked in a lot of short films. How was your experience different in comparison to working in an OTT series?

Speaking from a production point of view, nowadays even short films are produced with a high budget, and the amount of effort is not very different. It’s like shooting one episode of a web series. Kudos to the people who are making these films, where the production value and styling is of such high quality. The only difference I would say is the duration. An OTT series is like reading a book, whereas, a short film is like reading a snippet from a newspaper. But in terms of acting, there’s not a lot of difference and as an actor I never think that since it’s a short film I’ll put less effort.

What does the future hold for you?

I am a stand-up comedian and I think that is part of my DNA. Comedy is something which I use as a way of expressing my identity, but definitely I want to do many more films and series. I’m not stopping now, and I’m charged up in terms of whenever I get an opportunity to showcase what I have in mind. When I’m in front of the camera, I just want to be in a place where I’m expressing myself to the fullest. There are plans for a big film as well so fingers-crossed it happens and I can make Dubai proud, again.

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