“At 22, I wanted to become a hero like Amitabh Bachchan or Dharmendra!” says Adil Hussain

Published on Jun 27, 2021 07:30 AM IST

The actor talks about being popular in the stand-up comedy circle, earning about enough and growing up a Guwahati

Adil Hussain at 22 (top) and at 55 (above)
Adil Hussain at 22 (top) and at 55 (above)

At 22, where were you career-wise?

I had already made a good name for myself in the stand-up comedy circle and amongst the people of Assam as the youngest member of a very famous satire group called “Bhaya Mama”. I had acted in a couple of tele-films as well.

Adil (centre) visiting Tom Alter (left) and Moon Moon Sen on the sets of Gajamukta in Assam
Adil (centre) visiting Tom Alter (left) and Moon Moon Sen on the sets of Gajamukta in Assam

What was your bank balance like?

I didn’t have a bank account, but I earned just enough to look after my food and my stay!

Any romance in the air?

I had no romantic relationships, apart from a few infatuations and crushes.

Adil (extreme right) with his stand-up comedy team, Surojit Gogoi, Sanjib Lal Das & Dhrubojit Kishore Chaudhury
Adil (extreme right) with his stand-up comedy team, Surojit Gogoi, Sanjib Lal Das & Dhrubojit Kishore Chaudhury

What was your focus in life?

I desperately wanted to become a film actor, and of course wanted to go to Bombay, act in Hindi films and become famous.

What was your frame of mind?

I was and I remain an eternal optimist. I always had the ability to laugh at myself and make light of a situation.

Adil with Naren Patgiri, a famous writer now in Assam, during a street play
Adil with Naren Patgiri, a famous writer now in Assam, during a street play

Were you living with family?

My family lived in a small town called Goalpara in Assam. I was in Guwahati and hardly got to visit family during those years. I always felt close to my mother when I went back home to see her once in a while.

His second digital film, Bih-hu, where he plays Ajit, the famous Hindi film villain
His second digital film, Bih-hu, where he plays Ajit, the famous Hindi film villain

What was your sense of fashion like?

I was pretty influenced by Bollywood icons in those days. I could not afford fashionable clothes, but tried my best.

What was your fitness quotient like?

I was very energetic. I rarely slept at night but was still completely productive. I remember shooting a film without being able to sleep for 50-60 hours and still feeling energetic!

When Adil met Dr Bhupen Hazarika to ask for his help in getting a censor certificate for Bhaya mamar Bih-hu
When Adil met Dr Bhupen Hazarika to ask for his help in getting a censor certificate for Bhaya mamar Bih-hu

Your most prized possession then?

A suit that I had gotten made cheaply, which I wore for special occasions.

What was your biggest dream?

To become a hero like Amitabh Bachchan or Dharmendra, fight the bad guys and romance the beautiful women on screen.

If you had a chance to change one thing about yourself at that time, what would it be and why?

I can’t think of anything in particular I would like to have changed, apart from probably having more respect for my own intuition and following my higher choices rather than basic instincts. Later, this became one of the most important approaches in my life.

Adil poses with his landlord’s Maruti van in Guwahati in 1987
Adil poses with his landlord’s Maruti van in Guwahati in 1987

The biggest life lesson that you learnt at that time?

There were quite a few, but the most important one probably was to be interested in investigating the purpose of your actions — finding out why you do what you do.

From HT Brunch, June 27, 2021

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