Adil Hussain’s tryst with acting could be compared with the adventures of an explorer, whose search never ends and in the process, he discovers one gem after another. Hussain, too, continues to explore different mediums of acting and in the process, has created masterpieces in almost every form.
Eagerly awaiting the release of his next film 'English Vinglish', in which he plays the role of Sridevi’s husband, the National School of Drama graduate boasts of an impressive body of work that ranges from stand-up comedy to theatre, and clown act to cinema.
Last seen in 'Agent Vinod', critics felt his portrayal of an ISI agent brought back the era of larger-than-life villains in Bollywood, but Hussain is particular of not repeating himself. “Unlike my recent action thrillers, I play a family man in 'English Vinglish' who explores the various facets of the husband-wife relationship.”
On acting with Sridevi, he says, “It was both an honour and challenge. A challenge because she is such a fine actress that matching up to her performance is not easy.”
'English Vinglish' will be followed by the Hollywood fantasy film, 'The Life of Pi', where he plays Pi’s father.
Hussain has tasted success in both theatre and TV. His portrayal of Othello in Roysten Able’s play 'Othello: In Black and White' is considered by critics as the best piece of Shakespearean acting at both home and abroad. In the early 2000s, his portrayal of Jasoos Vijay in the TV series by the same name was quite a hit.
Though, cinema keeps him busy these days, Hussain has a soft corner for theatre, the reason why he chose to make Delhi his base, where he is a visiting faculty at the NSD. “In theatre, the interaction between a performer and the audience has been tested and refined to a very fine degree. The response I get from theatre is vibrant, immediate and palpable. Cinema, being a relatively new medium, is still evolving,” says Hussain.
For Hussain, acting is a way of life. “My aspirations as an individual and an actor are the same — to grow and evolve to my fullest potential.” Hussain never chose a role by its length. He had just a scene in 'Kaminey', but he agreed to do that despite having already signed for some major movies. “If you are doing a small role, you get more time to prepare than someone who is playing the lead. There is a higher chance of your work standing out,” he says.
Apart from cinema, Hussain is also working on a few plays that take a closer look at life. One of them is on the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna at the battlefield, another is called Finding Shams, which is based on Rumi. The actor recently returned from Puducherry after doing a series of plays.
Among the new crop of directors, Hussain praises Vikramaditya Motwane, with whom he has worked in 'Lootera' that has Sonakshi Sinha and Ranveer Singh in the lead. He is looking forward to working again with Gauri Shinde, the director of 'English Vinglish'. He is also eager to work with Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, Shoojit Sircar and Shimit Amin to name a few.
Hussain, who hails from Assam, has plans of turning director with an Assamese film, which will be the screen adaptation of a story called 'Boliya Hati'. The movie is currently at the scripting stage and he is in talks with producers.
Till shooting begins for his next film, Hussain is busy teaching the nuances of acting to the new batch of students at the NSD.