The bohemian in B-town

Apr 21, 2013, 23:59 IST | Urmimala Banerjee

Intelligent, charming and witty, these are words that best describe actor Adil Hussain. "I had a lovely Bihu in Assam.

It’s always fun to be home during the festival,” says the Assam born actor. Adil who left an impression with films like Ishqiya, English Vinglish and Life Of Pi was recently seen as an academician in an English feature film. In a free wheeling interview with CS, the actor talks about his early influences and foray into Bollywood:

Adil Hussain
Who: Adil Hussain 
What: Talking about his entry into Bollywood 
PIC/ Pradeep Dhivar

The wonder years
I have been performing on stage since I was three- four. I was a part of this group of four, which used to do stand up comic acts during Bihu. My job was to imitate Bollywood actors. My favourite was Amitabh Bachchan. I earned a lot of money imitating him. I feel I should pay him some royalty, but I haven’t done so (laughs out loud).

Matinee masti
The first Hindi film I saw was Mera Naam Joker. I remember it was a lengthy film with two intervals. But I was drawn to acting after I saw the Hollywood film, Papillion. The performances of Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman blew me over. Thereafter, my craze for Hindi films went down considerably.
But I will confess that I was completely fascinated by Sridevi as a 15-year-old. I remember seeing the film Sadma and going into a ‘sadma’. She moved me so much that I couldn’t eat for two days (smiles).

From theatre to Bollywood
I did not take a strategic decision to make a late entry into Bollywood (raises his eyebrows). I was happy doing theatre and would have continued doing so if theatre had more money. The thing was I was leading a bohemian life till I was 42. I did theatre and had a motorbike on which I took off for my travels. I felt rich with just `100 in my pocket. But now, I am married with a kid, so I need little bit more money to live comfortably. I am lucky to be blessed with many well-wishers in Bollywood; assistant directors, actors, casting directors who have seen my plays and recommend my name to directors. So here I am.

The best act
Out of the lot from National School of Drama, I think Irrfan is fantastic. I saw Gangs of Wasseypur and felt proud watching Nawazuddin Siddiqui. He is four years my junior and I am very happy for him. I love Ranbir Kapoor as he has great understanding of the nuances. I feel that mainstream producers should encourage more challenging work in B-town actors. That’ll be a big boost.  

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