A variety of facial expressions come easy to Asif Basra. There may hardly be an observer who is not struck by the vivid mobility of his face. This trait coupled with high energy make Asif Basra a talented and fun-loving actor as well as a theatre workshop conductor/facilitator.
Asif’s father had a transferable job and in 1989 he came to Mumbai from Amravati. Since his Class X, Asif had been acting. Over time it had become an unwritten rule that for every annual function of his college days in Amravati, he would act and win a prize for the characters he portrayed.
Even while doing his final year in Mumbai, Asif acted. He graduated as a B.Sc student of Physics, went through a computer course and got himself a job. But theatre remained an attraction. His salary was spent on watching plays and there was a time when he went five or six times for one production by Salim Ghouse. Ghouse, who was well-known on the English stage was intrigued by this and asked Asif to meet him. That was the beginning of Asif’s entry on the Mumbai theatre scene.
When one of Ghouse’s actors who was to play Horatio in his production of HAMLET quit, Asif stepped in to take over the role. Plays such as Toni Patel’s production of MERCHANT OF VENICE followed. Asif did not however restrict himself to English plays. He has acted in Hindi and Urdu plays such as MERA KUCH SAMAN and DO QUAME. Three plays of his must find mention here. Asif played five different characters in Feroz Khan’s production of MAHATMA V/S GANDHI (English). The play is considered as one of the success stories of Indian theatre.
In MAIN BHI SUPERMAN (Hindi) he played a 12 year old child suffering from Spina Bifida. The play was performed all over India and was a ‘Grips’ theatre production. This play got Asif to interact with children closely and was instrumental in helping him conduct theatre workshops later. Asif has also acted in Rajat Kapoor’s production of C FOR CLOWNS, an endearing play that was largely enacted in gibberish.
In 1996 Asif decided to quit his 9 to 5 job as opportunities opened up in television. He slowly began to do theatre workshops for children. His workshops for children are indeed popular and are a regular feature at Prithvi Theatre’s ‘Summertime’ each year. For some time now Asif has also been conducting theatre based workshops for corporate companies. Besides the theatre Asif has acted in quite a few tele serials , commercials and in films too. Two of his recent films are Anurag Kasyap’s ‘Black Friday’ (February 2007) and Rahul Dholakia’s ‘Parzaania’ (January 2007). Both films have been critically appreciated.
His other film work includes two Hollywood films ‘One Night With The King’ (2006), directed by Michael O. Sajbeland and ‘Outsourced’ (2007), directed by John Jeffcoat. In ‘One Night With The King’ Asif finds himself in a cast that has actors Omar Sharif and Peter O’ Toole. The film, ‘Outsourced’ has won awards such as the John Schlesinger Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, 2007 and the Audience Award for Best Feature at the Indian Film Festival of LA, 2007.