Adil Hussain brings acting pedigree and a sense of calmness even to unabashedly commercial Bollywood flicks
By Chetan Mehrishi
“Be transparent in your intentions, develop the courage to follow your inner heart, draw inspiration from your parents and also from the goodness of the society around you”
It takes an immensely gifted artist to be able to work in theatres, art house movies, mainstream Bollywood as well as international cinema and that too with ease. And no other in recent times than Adil Hussain fulfills that criteria. The man Transcends among genres with a style as fresh as the chai of where he is from. If we are to cover the career span of this gem of an actor (Which is more than three decades by the way!), this web page would fall short halfway, but we’ll try anyway! So here’s us telling you why Adil Hussain is a talent that goes beyond the barriers of language.
Man from the East
Born in Gualpara, Assam to a family of scholars, Hussain has had a childhood like everyone else. The youngest among his seven siblings, Adil always had a keen interest in acting, so much so that he would act in school plays, do impressions of Bollywood stars and mimic performers during Bihu celebrations. He would continue to perform in plays in his College as well. His passion led him to National School of Drama, New Delhi to further polish his skills after which he went to Drama Studio, London on a scholarship.
The Stage Was Set
After returning to India, Adil began his career with Hengul Theatre, Assam and moved to Delhi later on. Working under the mentorship of Dilip Shankar, he received his first acclaim with the play Othello: A Play in Black and White. Hussain is still a visiting faculty at his Alma Mater in NSD.
(No) Roadblocks Ahead
When it came to getting meatier roles in plays and movies, language played a major role in Adil’s career. Since his mother tongue is Assamese, he often used to bag insignificant characters due to his lack of fluency in Hindi unlike his peers. That barrier was finally broken when he got to play the lead in Doordarshan and BBC’s Jasoos Vijay in 2002. He got Vishal Bhardwaj’s attention who later gave him a part in Kaminey which paved his way to mainstream Bollywood. There were no U-turns for Adil as his grip on the language and craft led him to star in big budget films like Ishqiya, English Vinglish and Lootera all of which got him the much deserved praise.
From East to West
Hussain’s skills got Hollywood talking. He got to work with internationally acclaimed directors like Mira Nair in The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Ang Lee in Life of Pi. Needless to say, Hussain mesmerized the audience with his simplicity and depth. One of his most acclaimed movies is What Will People Say which according to Hussain, mirrored situations similar to what he had witnessed at home during childhood when in spite of his love for music, they were not allowed to play instruments at home. Adil played the role of a loving yet strict father who’s concern for society’s acceptance seems to overpower his love for his daughter with utter conviction. But never forgetting his roots, apart from Hindi Cinema, Adil still continues to work in Assamese and Bengali Films as well which is a proof that he doesn’t let fame get to his head.
Speaking of Barriers…
Adil has appeared in nearly all the spectrums of cinema and knows how to keep himself relevant and connected with audiences of all demographics. No wonder today when OTT platforms are booming, Hussain made a splendid debut in the media with Netflix’s Delhi Crime and boy what a debut it was! The show and Hussain’s performance left the audience in awe craving for more.
Apart from winning two Special Jury National Awards, Adil Hussain has won Amanda Awards in Norway for his film What Will People Say which makes him the first Indian to receive the top Norwegian honour in arts.
‘I am not bankable, so Bombay needs to find a slot for me’
What Lies Ahead?
2019 is going to see more of Hussain and we just can’t wait! His latest project is the psychological thriller Nirvana Inn which is to be released this year. Also an untitled project by Netflix UK is on the cards. Apart from this, his native love is going to keep him busy with some more of Bengali and Assamese Cinema.
If you think that this National Award-winning actor has only one passion to follow, here’s the news! Hussain is as talented of a chef as he is an actor with Assamese and Kerala cuisines being among his favorites.
For the past three decades, Adil Hussain has been teaching the boys just how it’s done, keeping his approach towards playing a character simple. This versatile artist is here to stay for a long, long time.