Adil Hussain’s filmography boasts of projects across languages (English, Hindi, Bengali, Assamese, Tamil, Marathi) including Life of Pi, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, English Vinglish, Parched, Ishqiya, Love Sonia, 2.0, Kabir Singh, Good Newwz and web series Delhi Crime. His Norwegian film What Will People Say was the country’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards 2018.
But how did it all begin for Adil? Here’s what the actor shared:
1. What was your first acting project? How did the project come to you?
My first project was in 1982. It was the first-ever Assamese video film. It’s called Yug. I had done plays with its director-writer Dhrubojit Kishore Chowdhury. So he knew me. I played an unemployed person in the film.
2. What do you remember of your first day on set?
The scene was being shot at 2 am in a place called Biswanath Charali on the north bank of Brahmaputra river. It was the starting of December and I was shivering like anything. Also, in those days, the winters used to be severe. The assistant cameraman suggested I should drink some alcohol. I said I don’t drink, but there was no other way. So the director said try otherwise we can’t shoot with you. So I decided to drink. It was rum. It was the first-ever drink of my life. Within seven to eight minutes, the cold was gone. I thought it was a magical drink. Then I shot the scene, my first ever facing the camera. I wish I could find its footage today. I went to Assam so many times to look for it, but I couldn’t find it.
3. Were you nervous? How many retakes did you take?
Of course, there was nervousness. I think we shot till the morning. It was quite a lot. First of all, I couldn’t do it because of the shivering, but later we managed it. I think there were at least 8-9 retakes. I don’t know the shivering was because of the cold or the nervousness.
4. How was the rapport with your co-stars when you got to meet or work with them again later?
Many wouldn’t know the actors. But my co-actor in that scene was Hriday Goswami. He doesn’t act anymore. That was his first and last film. He was the lead actor. He lives in Assam, and we are still friends. All of us became like a family. The director Dhrubojit Kishore Chowdhury became Assam’s most respected and loved stand-up comedian.
5. If given a chance to go back to your debut role, what would you like to change or do better?
I guess I would try to be more convincingly drunk (laughs). In the scene, I was drunk and thought it looked convincing, but I guess I could be more convincing. But I really don’t know now. I haven’t seen it for the last 20 years.
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6. One film or role that inspired you to become an actor?
Well, it used to be Amitabh Bachchan with his josh and anger. But craft-wise, what inspired me was the Hollywood film Papillon, starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.
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