A Minute with Actor Adil Hussain

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The Goalpara born actor has now become an international celebrity after the heights received by the movie Life of Pi in the recently announced Oscar award. Though, much before that, he started become the heartthrob of most of the national and international movie bugs. And here comes the story of  the other side of Adil Husain, an acclaimed actor and one of the co-stars in Life of Pie.

In a recent visit to the state of Assam for his latest venture- Sringkhal, Adil Hussain spoke exclusively to Mrinmoyee Hazarika. Sitting on the sets of the Assamese film Sringkhal directed by Prabin Hazarika, located in a remote village near Sipajhar, the humble actor opened up his feelings on his acting spree and many more.

Q. Share your feelings after Life of Pie won Oscar in four categories.

It is really an overwhelming and very heart warming moment being a part of Life of Pi in the Oscar. I screamed, whistled and clapped with my wife (Kristen Jain) and Kabir (son) as I saw the programme winning four academy awards. The morning was loud and noisy altogether.
When I saw Ang Lee (director of life of pi), accepting the ‘golden lady’ and the way he reacted emotionally affected me.

It is a great opportunity for Indian or even Assamese film makers to get inspired from the Indian story based in India. There are fantastic novels in Assam which should be made films with international standard. The Assamese producers who have money and the government should come forward together and do the needful research.

Q. Share your feelings on coming back to Assam for Sringkhal.

A. I feel like coming home again. I started my career with an Assamese film in 1982 and in 1988, I did the last Assamese movie, Pita Putra. And after twenty four years, when I have started acting in an Assamese movie, I do not feel like acting. I do not have to act. I am just being myself. Since I understand this place and I am emotionally and deeply attached to this place , characters like these are natural to me. As soon as I enter Assam I am relieved to be home (laughs). It feels good that now I am playing the lead role in Sringkhal. At the beginning, I did not expect to play the lead role, though I wanted to. I was just a 19 year old guy then and established actors were there and my understanding of acting was not good enough to play a lead role. Now, I feel that I am equipped for a decent job in bringing three dimensional things into a role.

Q. Reason behind doing Sringkhal.

A. I have always followed my heart rather than my big brother (I call my brain, my big brother). I think, I am lucky to be a part of this film, which has a beautiful and simple story. And at the present age, I have not seen such simple movies across the globe let alone in India.
You need real story telling which comes from your heart and I will always emphasis on the calling of heart. These days, intent behind making a film is money but not to tell a story, which bothers me a lot. This is the kind of the film in which Prabin da’s heart is emphasising him to tell a story. I know him well, since we had shared a house together in 80s. When I read the script of Sringkhal, I was totally blown.

Q. How you see people’s expectation from you.

A. I am a little bit worried about it as I am doing an Assamese film after so many years. People are watching me (my films) in Assam too, thankfully. I am hopeful in bringing in some sort of reality in an Assamese movie by featuring an Assamese character through Sringkhal.

Q. On the changes of roles from Life of Pi to Sringkhal.

A. I think, as an actor my job is to respect and to accommodate different kinds of situations, roles, ideas and people. The inner flexibility of ideas is important and the basic job of an actor is to shift from one role to another. And now I’m playing the role of an Assamese actor in an Assamese film, a true Kalidas. Every character I play is always more of myself. The character is not outside of you. Finally, you are only playing the character. The areas in which we do not get a chance to encounter in our day to day life, we do it through our roles in films. I always believe that I am playing another self of mine. That’s the fun part and that is why I act.
One has to be very vigilant and it is never an easy task to transform from one self to another. But, now it is a bit easier for me.

Q. Your experience in working with Ang Lee and Meera Nayar.

A. The first thing I noticed is their meticulousness and precision of planning and of execution. Both of their eyes are so trained to notice the details of everything. They will go to any extent to get it perfect in every sense of the word, be it script or costume etc.The second and the important part is that they are so humble. Ang Lee is the most humble person I have ever met throughout my life so far. He does not even consider himself to be a director. That is indeed a great learning period for me. I think every director in India should attend a workshop to understand what direction means. (Adil worked in Life of Pi with Ang Lee while Reluctant Fundamentalist with Mira Nair).

Q. Your take on the present situation in Assam.

A. When I first heard about the violence in BTAD, I was very sad. How could it be possible, even today, that people do not understand each other? How can we call ourselves civilised or modern when we get involved in such uncivilised activities? At the same time, I am not blaming the political system. I think, we all are responsible for it including the artistes.
We all have become money oriented, entertainment oriented and this is affecting all spheres of society all around the world. The government should chalk out a humane solution to check the problem of infiltration happening in Assam. Violence is, definitely not a solution to this.

Q. Experience on newly gained celebrity status

A. I do not consider myself to be a celebrity (laughs). I think it is part of my profession. When I used to be in the theatres, I was known to those people only who are associated with theatre and the people who watched it. But film being a far reaching medium, obviously people would recognize me.
When I was at the Chandigarh airport before coming to Guwahati, I could not stop giving autographs and photographs for one hour. I have to face my consequences of my action gracefully. I have faced such situations in Delhi, Mumbai or in Chandigarh than Guwahati. May be, the people of Guwahati airport feels shy to talk. They look at me from far away, but hesitate to come forward.

Q. Say something on your role in English Vinglish.

A. Personally, I have grown up in such environment where male persons always play the lead role in a family. But, as a person, I am not that kind of person to subvert the females. Even I feel it awkward too when I said, “My wife is born to make laddos” in English Vinglish.
One of the benefits that I gained from the film is that people in South have watched me, as I was a co star in English Vinglish with Sridevi.

Q. On Assam as film destination.

A. I will try my best to project it and it should be done. Assam and the entire Northeast is a fantastic place to shoot films. There are numerous locations here. But the government should also take responsibility in this regard. The first thing is to project Assam as a safe place. There are number of  bandhs being enforced. So, such an unpredictable situation is not very good for any production company. The professional groups of the other parts of the nation would rather prefer other places where the government itself takes the responsibility to clear permission and other stuff if the situation remains the same.

Q. About your upcoming projects.

A. Recently, I have shot a film based on a 12th century old story based in Punjab on which I’m not allowed to speak. Then, there is Blemish Light, an Indo-American production for which shooting starts from December 11. It has a very strong story. Besides that, I’m also featuring in a Bengali film – Kasher Dewal with Rupa Ganguly. After that there is another film called Feast of Varanashi, a British-Indian production. The shoot of Sunrise starts from March next year.

by Mrinmoyee Hazarika

(NB: This interview was taken during Adil’s visit to Assam for the shooting of an Assamese film Sringkhal. The parts mentioning the feelings of the actor after Life of Pi won Oscar, are added later. Currently, the actor is busy in shooting for the movie Sunrise and he has just completed shooting for another Assamese movie, Raag.)
This interview has already published in North East News Portal
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Hussain is a digital marketer, avid blogger and technology enthusiast. His focus is on blogging, film-making and tech updates. He likes spending time editing videos, travelling and reading all about what's going on in the tech world. You can find him on Facebook. more about Hussain Ahmed.

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