Talent spotlight: Ace actor Adil Hussain on playing a gay role in the film Abyakto
To excel in enacting roles true to their characters, one needs to be a flaneur too. And Adil Hussain is no doubt a flaneur. Quite like Che Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado in The Motorcycle Diaries, this 56-year-old talented actor went around the remotest parts of the country riding the pillion of his teacher, Khalid Tyabji from National School of Drama, for more than one-and-a-half years, observing people of all colours and creeds.
The actor tells us that the rich experiences that he gathered still help him in internalising the rural, tribal or small-town characters that he essays on screen. Anyone who has been lucky enough to watch Goutam Ghose’s much-feted upcoming Hindi feature film Raahgir at the recently held Kolkata International Film Festival would agree that very few could have played the downtrodden yet a happy-go-lucky and frugal character of Lakhua to perfection like Adil did.
“During that trip with Tyabji, I stayed at a remote village in Bastar for three months in 1995, where the people haven’t even seen a bus or a car. Such exposure is so much important to actors who don’t want to play only city sleek guys. One must have the proper orientation to bring conviction to the characters and that exposure helped me in identifying with Lakhua so well," tells Adil.
After Maati and Ahare Mon in 2018, Adil will again be seen in Abyakto directed by debutant director Arjunn Dutta, that release in theatres today. We had a small chat with the actor on that and more. Excerpts:
You simply won our hearts with your performance as Lakhua in Raahgir. What was your takeaway form the role?
Though we are exposed to modernity and market society, the spirit of true India for me still lies with those people like Lakhua, who live in the remotest part of the country and are sadly marginalised to the point that we don’t even know they exist, which is a great tragedy. It’s heart-wrenching when I see that the billionaires, politicians and even the intelligentsia are not talking about them ever. What Columbus did to the Native Americans is what we have done to the Indian tribals. Lakhua for me represents the tribals from whom India could have learnt how to tread gently on planet earth and live with absolute respect to nature.
What are you playing in Abyakto and how was it working with Arjun?
I am playing a gay character who is in a relationship with a married man but he is not really looking for actualising his desire to be with the man. He is a literate, compassionate and a sensitive person who empathises with his friend’s fear of what will people say and being in a relationship with a woman, whom he respects and loves otherwise. It was amazing to work with Arjun who has done such a splendid job of telling a story softly and gently.
You did a hard-hitting short, Meal. Are there any other shorts that you are doing?
Yes, I just finished shooting for Saving Chintu, directed by Tushar Tyagi. It is themed on adoption.
What are your other upcoming projects?
I am currently shooting for Delhi Crime 2 and leaving for New York to shoot for Star Trek. Also, I did another Hindi film, Pariksha, directed by Prakash Jha, which will release soon. I play a rickshaw puller in Ranchi, who carries rich kids to expensive schools and dreams to send his bright son to one such school. The film shows the father’s struggle when his son gets admitted to a good school.