Suraj Sharma deserved an Oscar nomination, says his ‘Life of Pi’ father Adil Hussain

Arya Yuyutsu

Zee News’ Arya Yuyutsu caught up with ‘Life of Pi’ and ‘English Vinglish’ star Adil Hussain in the second part of his interview. Here he talks about ‘Life of Pi’, ‘English Vinglish’ and his exciting future projects.

So how was it shooting for the movie? Where all did you shoot?

Well, the outdoor shots of Pondicherry were actually Pondicherry but a lot of the movie was shot in Taiwan. There’s an abandoned airport in the city that Ang Lee was given to use as his sets. So the hangars and all were used for the sets and the inside shots while the runway was made into a sort of ocean, with moving floorboards to create waves and a lot of water pumped in to make it that vast!

It was so larger-than-life, you won’t believe it. Ang Lee would sit up in the control tower or something while the shooting took place halfway across the runway somewhere. It’s a whole new level of grandeur.

And the tiger?

Ah, yes, the tiger. Well, there’s very very few shots with an actual tiger. Much of what you see is special effects. They’d hang a ball and move it around and that was supposed to represent the tiger’s position. So think of the imagination Suraj needed: that young boy did all that he did looking at a floating ball while sitting on a boat in the middle of Taiwan’s abandoned airport runway!

Now that the movie’s been nominated for the Academy Awards, what categories do you think ‘Life of Pi’ can actually win an award in?

(laughs) Well I think ‘Best Movie’, ‘Best Director’, ‘Best Background Score’… actually everything. I could just go on. In fact I also firmly believe that Suraj should have been nominated for ‘Best Actor’ as well. The boy really deserves that!

Moving to ‘English Vinglish’. That must’ve been a sharp contrast, with a debutant director and a more Bollywood feel to it. What was it like?

You know what, with an experienced director (like Ang Lee) there’s an extra sense of security you feel. You trust them completely, let them take the lead and let him guide you.

Similarly, Gauri (Shinde) is a woman whose warmth and her ability to endear you instantly gives you that sense of security and trust.

And I’m a director’s actor. I always try to submit to the director because he’s the captain of the ship. But I feel the director must always explain what he or she’s trying to do and what they’re trying to make me do. That’s where Gauri was exceptionally good. She’d explain everything so lucidly; it was a real comfort working with her.

Finally, what about your upcoming projects? Apparently you’re doing one with Emraan Hashmi, but are there some Hollywood scripts also in the air?

This Emraan Hashmi one is an international film because the director is the Oscar winning director who made ‘No Man’s Land’ – Danis Tanovic. I’m also reading some fantastic scripts which would become international films, but I can’t talk about it yet, I’m afraid.

So there are lots of projects I’ll be busy shooting for till mid October. Let’s see what happens after that.

My next film will release on April 19 and it’s called ‘The Lessons in Forgetting’. It is a film about female infanticide. It’s very important for the Indian audience to watch, especially given the current state of affairs. It’s about the relationship between a father and a daughter where the latter has lost her path and the journey of the father in his quest to find his daughter again is the crux of the story.

The other film is ‘Lootera’, directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, and it features Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha. It’s inspired by O Henry’s short story ‘The Last Leaf’. That should release in July this year.

Another film, directed by Aditya Bhattacharya (who made ‘Raakh’ long back), is called ‘Bombay’s Most Wanted’ or ‘BMW’. It’s a story about the person who invented encounter killing and how he’s brought back to rein in the particular police officer who used that modus operandi for personal benefit rather than that of society.

That’s about all I can reveal at the moment. But I do hope to keep doing movies with strong scripts which also appeal to the masses. Striking the right balance, perhaps!