'Not celebrating cultural diversity as much as we should'
Acclaimed actor Adil Hussain, who has featured in international films like The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Life of Pi, says ignorance regarding cultural diversity continues to exist in India.
Born in the northeast state of Assam, Adil came to Delhi and enrolled in the National School of Drama for studying theatre. Considering the fact that his command over Hindi language was comparatively weaker then, he also faced problems to bag roles in plays.
However, according to him, learning acting cannot be focused only on the correct pronunciation of words.
"A lot of effort has been taken to deal with the issue and now the situation is better. We all know that students from some parts of India have problem in speaking in fluent Hindi, so as schools, we should train them and encourage them to learn instead of keeping them away."
"You see, we are teaching theatre and not Hindi language theatre. So, instead of linguistic correctness, we should focus on the fundamental aspect of acting," said Adil.
So, in the digital era, when one is constantly talking about promotion of 'glocal culture', are we celebrating that in real sense?
"Well, isn't it humane to talk more and practice less," he quipped, adding, "I think yes, we are not celebrating cultural diversity as much as we should. However, I am very positive and hopeful. The economy is changing so is the mindset of people. Maybe it is happening slowly, but it's surely changing."
He is himself liberal in mindset. Having been a student of philosophy and born into a Muslim family, Adil chooses to follow spirituality over organised religion.
"I think the essence of all the religions is same, but that became organised religion and created division after a point. For instance, the Sufi version of Islam is the essence of Islam. Later, some people created sects. Same with Hindu religion, where the core is Sanatana Dharma.
"After reading quite a lot, what I realised is that we all are here to experience each other through the life's journey – to go beyond all the good and bad, right and wrong to discover ourselves," said Adil, who has featured in Bollywood films like Ishqiya, Agent Vinod, English Vinglish and Force 2.
The actor plays a crucial part in the forthcoming film Mukti Bhawan which deals with life, death and afterlife. Adil says he had a very special experience doing this film.
Since it is an indie film shot mostly in a linear manner, he got an opportunity to live through the emotional journey of the character – something that usually happens in theatre and not in cinema.
While some iconic filmmakers like Mira Nair and Ang Lee have recognised the actor's talent abroad, Indian film directors seem to have not explored his potential enough. In fact, some of his international films did not even have a wide theatrical release.
Asked if India is not a conducive market for such films, Adil said, "At the first place, I wonder who created the market of so-called commercial films? If we are talking about the importance of the audience's appreciation, we must not forget that they are only choosing from what filmmakers are serving at the theatres.