The Illegal is no doubt worth topping the list of films for Oscar : Adil Hussain

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By Rituparna Sengupta

National Award Winning actor Adil Hussain has been ruling the industry for quite some time. His impeccable acting skills gave him name and fame not just in Bollywood but across international industries. He worked in English, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi films, and many more. Some of his notable works include Life of Pi, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, English Vinglish, and others. In a recent conversation with Expresso Magazine, he opened up about his latest film The Illegal, and his closeness towards it.

Expresso: The Illegal is a beautiful story of distressed immigrants. So tell us everything about the film?

Adil Hussain : The Illegal a story of a young man who desires to fulfill his dreams but faces uncountable obstacles when he crosses the international border. The film is filled with beautiful emotions that match perfectly with the theme. Moreover, you will get to know about the current political scenario where human beings are reduced to illegal status. Honestly, this condition is applicable not just in India but also in other countries as well. So, it is a heart-wrenching story of a young man who is desperate to fulfill his dreams while heightening his struggles, pain as well as parent’s pain of separation. Altogether, it is a beautiful story. Yes, it is true that I met Suraj Sharma after a long time. Although our screen time is less, we kept meeting throughout the film. The story that we get in the film is rich in every aspect and even the critics acknowledged it. Coming to the director, Danish Renzu, he witnessed the situation of illegal immigrants in the US. This gave immense strength to the characters as well as the story.

Expresso: How was your work experience with Suraj Sharma on the sets of The Illegal?

Adil Hussain : No, we did not share the sets since I set my part in New Delhi and he shot his part in the US. Although I kept meeting him off space.

Expresso: Do you feel that The Illegal can get nominations for Oscar?

Adil Hussain : You see, Oscar is a different story altogether in terms of how you are playing a game. Most of the films that are sent to the Oscar are the best films. Even though the quality of it matters but at times, the pitching, PR, everything matters as far as I have heard from international directors. So, it is a difficult game to play. But, if you ask me, then the film is no doubt worth topping the list of films for Oscar and joining the competition.

Expresso: How is your connection with Danish Renzu and tell us something about your working experience with him.

Adil Hussain : Danish Renzu is one of the lively persons I have met. While working with him I felt that he is very sensitive and clear about his wants and demands. Even he lets the actors improvise and take time, and I feel that it is one of the most vital parts of being a director. He hired the right set of actors. Moreover, if the actors stay in present and work vigorously, it can create magic. So, The Illegal is undoubtedly one of the finest films and it was a great pleasure working with Danish Renzu.

Expresso: You always prioritize emotional characters for the films. So is there any pattern that you follow while choosing your projects.

Adil Hussain : Normally, I do not have any particular process for choosing any project. Once I get the script, I just go through it and analyze the character I got. You see, I feel that connecting with the character is very important, its narrative with the flow, emotional graph, everything is vital. The degree of credibility, the emotions suggested by the writer, authenticity, these scenes are better and ambiguous. As my teachers taught me, the open scripts are much more flexible since you can take the characters to a next level. But, the characters must align with the story. So, this is something, which I always look out for in a script or a film and The Illegal was certainly one of them.

Expresso: Share with us the best memory of shooting ‘The Illegal’?

Adil Hussain : There was a scene where I was unwell due to the pain of separation. But, being a typical male, I had to keep my vulnerabilities aside. So, the scene was quite challenging since this kind of true emotion should not be faked and it cannot be faked either. It might seem an ordinary scene but maintaining true essence is something, which is undoubtedly tough. So, this was the most memorable part of shooting the film.


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