There haven’t been many actors from the North East of India who have made their presence felt in the Hindi film industry, except one, whose towering performances have been appreciated by the industry as well as the audiences. The actor in question is none other than Adil Hussain.
Hailing from Goalpara in Assam, Adil acted in numerous plays in his college days and even worked as a stand-up comedian for six years before moving to Delhi. In the capital, he studied acting in the National School of Drama and further advanced his studies when he was offered a scholarship to study at the Drama Studio London, one of the most prestigious drama institutes.
After coming back to India, he was a part of several plays that got him international recognition and helped him transition from stage to cinema. It didn’t take him many films to get noticed in Bollywood. He made his Hindi film debut in a small role in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Kaminey. His second Hindi film, Ishqiya, in 2010 saw him playing the main antagonist opposite Vidya Balan.
Then in 2012, Adil acted in four different films, two of which were made in Hollywood. One was Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist and the second was Life of Pi, in which he played Santosh Patel, Pi’s father, and Tabu’s husband. The movie went on to win four Oscars.
But it was a Hindi film back home that gave Adil fame and made him a known face. The film was centred on a female superstar who was making her comeback in Bollywood after 15 years, the one and only Sridevi as Shashi Godbole: English Vinglish. Adil Hussain played Satish Godbole, Shashi’s male chauvinistic husband, and earned acclaim for his earnest performance.
2017 was a special year in Adil’s career: he played lead roles in two films, Hotel Salvation/Mukti Bhawan and the Assamese film Maj Rati Keteki. His heartfelt portrayals of a middle-aged son who reluctantly takes his father to Varanasi, where his father wants to breathe his last, and a renowned fictional writer who returns to his hometown after ten years won Adil the Special Jury Award at the National Film Awards.
In 2019, he was seen in his most commercial and comic role as the doctor who interchanges the sperm of the two Batras (Akshay Kumar and Diljit Dosanjh) in Good Newwz. He also made a brief appearance in Kabir Singh, one of the year’s highest-grossing films, as the Dean of the College attended by the film’s lead characters, Kabir and Preeti.
Adil was also in the critically acclaimed Netflix India original series Delhi Crime in 2019 as Police Commissioner Kumar Vijay. The heart-wrenching portrayal of the Nirbhaya case won Best Drama Series at the International Emmys in November last year among nominees from Germany, the United Kingdom and Argentina.
In 2020, Adil went back to his roots by starring in Axone (pronounced as akhuni), a film that takes its title from the Naga dish known for its strong odour. With a cast of actors from North East, Adil had an interesting cameo in the film with no dialogues and only gazing eyes – the eyes that alienate North East people from the rest of India.
Starring in films across as many as nine languages (Hindi, English, Assamese, Bengali, Tamil, Marathi, Malayalam, Norwegian, and French), Adil Hussain is one of the most interesting actors not just in India but also in international cinema. Directors and audiences are now fond of this tremendous actor and are ready to harness his full potential. The world awaits more and more of Adil with their A-Dil(s)!
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.