Adil Hussain: Bollywood doesn’t care much about international awards, otherwise I would have been the lead in many films
Adil Hussain’s performance in the film Pareeksha has been earning plaudits, and now it’s getting noticed internationally too. The actor took to social media on October 1 to share the news that he has been awarded Best Actor at the Indo-German Film Week 2020, Berlin.
Sharing his view on why awards have become important to an actor’s career today, he tells us, “We have become a market society, and they are sort of a recognition by people in powerful position. For example, a critic, who you trust, would say ‘this is a good film, go and watch it’. Once they watch it, they are vindicated, and then more and more people watch it, and start expecting good performances out of you. Then producers also are eager to cast you, and you start getting roles which you dreamt of — well written and nuanced.”
However, on whether Bollywood cares about such international recognitions, Hussain says a firm no. “I don’t think they care much, otherwise I would have been in the lead cast of so many films. I am not sure, but I am probably the only actor in India who has received the National Award of another country, the Norwegian National Award, and then Kosmorama, which is given and voted by the Scandinavian film fraternity for the same role as What Will people Say. I was the only actor in India, that should have actually given me (opportunities), but it didn’t,” he adds.+ +
He does keep getting offers internationally, the 56-year-old adds, and his Hollywood agent gets enquiries from people who have seen What Will People Say (2017).
Do these international honours impact or effect one’s career back home in India? Do they translate into more opportunities? Hussain cites the examples of Oscar winners, music composer AR Rahman and sound designer Resul Pookutty, who had said they had trouble finding work in Bollywood after the international award.
“I have heard those stories, but I have not received an Oscar, so I don’t know. What I am saying is at least in the independent film circuit, it is a different ball game altogether, it’s very different from the Indian film market. In the independent film market, films are not only depending on the Indian, but also the world market, and it has a multi-cultural, racial audience. It definitely plays an important part when you get an award,” says the actor.
On whether he agrees that people back home recognise your talent more when an international audience appreciates it, Hussain says it’s been the ‘eternal story’, right from the time of acclaimed filmmaker Satyajit Ray. “When I performed the play Othello in 1999, critics here in India saw it, they didn’t even mention my name in their reviews! But when I got reviews from Independent and The Scotsman saying ‘Adil plays Othello something near perfection’, even before I landed in India, I was everywhere. That validation had been with Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali,” he says.
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