"Will there be a Pretentious Movie Review of Noor?" Advertisement

“Will there be a Pretentious Movie Review of Noor?”

Internet star and newbie actor Kanan Gill on what no one tells you about Bollywood

By Vatsala Chhibber  April 10th, 2017

The one interview question Kanan Gill is tired of answering is: “When is the next Pretentious Movie Review out?” These days, however, the question is slightly altered: “Will there be a Pretentious Movie Review of Noor (2017)?” Since the writer-comedian’s Internet celebrity surged with a steady dribble of sketch comedy (his 2016 series How Insensitive! was a success), work on his popular film-reviewing YouTube series has petered out. And now, Gill has landed a film. “Acting was never the goal. So, I decided to do a movie only when something exciting—and within my capabilities—came my way.”

Noor, which releases this month, is an adaptation of Pakistani writer Saba Imtiaz’s novel Karachi, You’re Killing Me! (Random House, 2014) and follows the part-hilarious part-heartbreaking journey of a journalist in Mumbai, played by Sonakshi Sinha. Gill plays her BFF and the funniest guy in the room (though, on set, he says he came a close second to one of the director’s assistants). “[My character] Saad Sehgal is one of Noor’s childhood friends and a lighthearted guy who just wants to make sure that people around him have a good time.”

Gill has been doing plenty of that off-camera too, with his recent stand-up tour, All Correct Opinions. “It will culminate in the shooting of an hour-long stand-up comedy special that will be up on Amazon Prime. After that, I’m going to make a movie and maybe lose some weight,” he says. And while Gill is non-committal about that pretentious review of Noor (“wait and watch”), he does offer a succinct summary of life as a Bollywood newbie.

 1. Film sets are as exciting as Wednesday afternoons

“They aren’t really glamorous; they’re actually frightfully normal. And the coffee is average.”

2. Ego checks are mandatory and unexpected

“When bystanders saw us shooting, they would often come up to me and ask, ‘Hero kaun hai?’ I think they were disappointed by my lack of muscles.”

3. The camera is not your friend

“A film camera is very intimidating. I’m used to live audiences. I know what they can do and I can handle that. A film camera doesn’t laugh or move; it stares at you blankly and you don’t know how you did until much later.”

4. Success and failure are irrelevant if your friends suck

“I’m not really nervous (about the release). My comedian friends will make fun of me irrespective of the outcome.”

5. Every happy ending has an anticlimax

“Sometimes I stopped and had a third person’s point of view on what was happening, ‘Holy shit, we’re shooting a movie!’ (But) most of acting is just sitting and waiting for shots to be set up. I ended up spending a lot of time writing jokes in my van.”