By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: The brilliant Adil Hussain, who so convincingly played as Sridevi’s unintentionally cruel husband in English Vinglish, is now going to be seen as Tabu’s husband in Ang Lee’s The Life Of Pi, which releases in English, Hindi and other dubbed languages on November 23.
In fact, at the premiere of English Vinglish last week, Adil, who is a seasoned stage actor and acting teacher trained at the National School of Drama, sat and watched the film with Tabu.
Says the actor fondly, “Yes, I met up with my latest screen-wife at the English Vinglish premiere. Tabu is very special, just like Sridevi. In fact, my first screen-wife Vidya Blan from Ishqiya, was also there at the premiere. So I got a chance to meet up with my three glorious screen-wives all at the same venue. It was a pleasure working with all three of them.”
Adil, who never craved for a career in movie acting, has lately shot for The Life Of Pi in Taiwan.
Just how Adil bagged the coveted role in Ang Lee’s film makes an interesting story. “A very dear friend of mine Dilip Shankar was the casting director. He asked if I was interested in a screen adaptation of The Life Of Pi. I said, sure. Then at around midnight one evening I got a call from Ang Lee’s casting director who said the director wanted to meet me. I said, ‘Wow, where, when?’ Ang Lee and I met at the Taj Lands End. The first thing I asked him is why he wanted to film this novel. It seemed like such an impossible novel to film. It still does. I don’t know how he managed it. I went to Taiwan to discuss details and then we shot there.”
The way the role of Sridevi’s husband came to Adil makes an even more interesting story. “I was shooting at an inaccessible place when the casting director of English Vinglish asked me to shoot two scenes from the film on a video camera and send it to the director. Gauri Shinde saw the scenes and I was on. That I was playing Sridevi’s husband was entirely a stroke of luck. I am fortunate to have bagged the role. I know so many husbands like the guy in English Vinglish. I didn’t try to act. I behaved how I’ve seen friends behave with their wives.”
Luckily for Adil, his own wife in real life has no such grievances. “We are very happily married,” informs the actor who is at the moment kicked about his next film, Partho Sengupta’s Sunrise.
Says Adil, “It’s not a big Bollywood blockbuster. I am really not interested in overnight fame. Or mass popularity. I love to act. I’ve been doing so on stage for many years now. Cinema is just one more avenue to explore my passion for acting. I am glad I am being noticed in English Vinglish. I want to do roles that are layered and enigmatic, like the one in Sriram Raghavan’s Agent Vinod.”
Adil is uncomfortable with Bollywood’s lack of protocol. “In Hollywood even Penelope Cruz has to audition for The Pirates Of The Caribbean. In Hindi cinema, no one asks the stars to audition. I am glad that every role I’ve done so far has come to me after auditions.”