Through Adil Hussain’s artistic journey

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Adil Hussain is a versatile  actor and that’s apparent from the kind of roles he’s played thus far  in the films  like ‘English Vinglish’, ‘Main Aur Charles’, ‘Lootera’ and  ‘Life of Pi’ to name few. It’s this choice of content-driven roles that separates him from other actors.

Driven by his artistic vigor, actor Adil Hussain has traversed through new places to find his calling and now finally he is enjoying what he is doing.

Based in Greater Kailash in Delhi with his wife Kristen Jain and son Kabir, Adil is continuously travelling, on the job as well as in pursuit of happiness.

His wit, impromptu reactions and balanced responses while relating his journey in Bollywood, made for a lovely conversation with Shveata Chandel Singh from Public Telegraph.

From his reluctant entrance into Bollywood to receiving special mentions at the National Awards, Adil’s acting portfolio has amassed staggering laurels. But that’s no surprise, given his solid background in theatre. He claims that his love for acting goes as far back as his kindergarten days and his constant performance through school and college days, which eventually led to professional theatre training.

He grew up in an ambience where the Bihu functions were held at the field literally in front of his house and he recollects being inspired by two standup comedians.

Reminiscing his love for acting, he says, “I’ve been attracted to acting since childhood when I saw some standup comedians who performed during the Bihu functions. I got fascinated by their quality of performance imitating actors and situations. I would come back home and invite my friends to watch me do the same.”

Calling himself the clown in the family, he recalls the era when television had not forayed into Indian households. He had been a mimic, standup comedian and a theatre artist for years before making his appearance in Bollywood.

He kept doing plays every year in school, college and even participated in many competitions where his talent was highly appreciated. He recalls, “Then I went for graduation to the capital city and there I got involved with standup comedy. I also got involved with films, television and radio plays.”

Despite his obvious love for acting, Adil’s father wasn’t happy with his career choice. “My mother accepted it, but my father didn’t want me to devote time to acting. Rather, he wanted me to become a professor.”

He adds, “But I realized that I needed to hone my acting skills and came to know about the National School of Drama where I applied in 1990. I was lucky enough to be accepted. After graduating from NSD, I went to UK as a Charles Wallace scholar to study theatre. After returning from there, I again trained myself with a teacher for next six years off and on. That’s how it all started.”

About the hesitation to enter Bollywood films, he says, “Theatre was always my first love. As an actor, I don’t enjoy being stereotyped and want to explore acting more with versatile roles, hence the cautious approach to Bollywood. Theatre gives you a wider platform to showcase your talent.  There one rehearses for months, so you have enough time to practice and perform, but films are different. For every movie we have to play a totally different character.”

About choosing the right film, Adil says, “It is difficult for those who are new to Bollywood to find diverse roles. My aim is to be a little daring and different in every film of mine and that is why I limit myself. If there is some script which allows me to play roles really close to the lives I see around me like the complexity of life, the details, the depths, the superficiality, artificiality, the masks of life etc., I definitely say yes to play that role. So, when it makes sense to me I choose to play that character.”

One such different script that attracted him was Hotel Salvation. Crediting the people he works with for their fresh ideas, Adil says, “I got a text message from a common friend of mine and the producer. I was told that this film was written by a 23-year-old whose first short was appreciated at the Venice Festival in 2013, when he was 21. I read the script and found it quite appealing. I am extremely glad that I did the film.” He goes on to add, “It was amazing working with director Shubhashish Bhutiani. For such a young director, his understanding of father- son relationships is surprisingly nuanced.”

Besides being a great actor, Adil is a great cook as well and loves whipping up new recipes for his family. “Whenever I am home, I love to cook for my wife and son. I cook an array of dishes from Kashmiri, Assamese, Bengali, Malayalam dishes to Pasta and Western food. When my family relishes what I cook for them, it gives me immense satisfaction.”

On this tasty note, he signs off and tells everyone to follow their instincts to find the right direction in life.

Photo Credit : Javeed Shaik

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