Indian Film and Theatre Actor Asif Basra and His Suicide

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Asif Basra, who acted in many Bollywood films and known to American audience for his role in Outsourced, committed suicide by hanging. He was found dead on 12th November, 2020 in his private property on lease in McLeodganj, a tourist hotspot suburb of Dharamshala in Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh, India. On the suicide of Asif Basra and untimely death, an array of Indian Bollywood Actors whom he supported in motion pictures has expressed their shock and grief on his suicide by hanging.   

Condolences of Eminent People

Expressing grief on his untimely death, Nawazuddin Siddiqui said on twitter: “It is unbelievable, yet another loss of a dear friend Asif Basra – a gem of a talent & full of life personality, Rest in Peace My Friend – More Power to Family.” Mr Siddiqui was refereeing to another tragic loss of Sushant Singh Rajput early this year. Actress Anushka Sharma took to her Instagram story to pay her last tribute to the departed Asif Basra: “My sincere condolences and prayers with the family and the loved ones. RIP Asif Basra.”  Priyanka also condoled: “RIP Asif Basra … A terrible loss of a talented, versatile artist, my deepest condolences to the family.” In addition to the aforesaid prominent individuals, a host of others have given dent to his feelings on the passing away of Asif Basra.

Early Life

A Muslim by religion, Asif Basra was born on 27th July 1967 in a small town Amravati in Maharashtra and still in his teenage, he ventured onto the stage in theatre productions during school days. In 1989 he moved to Mumbai and continued to act in college productions not ignoring his studied. He obtained B.Sc. degree in Physics, completed a computer course and got himself a job. However, he could not resist his love for theatre and acting.

A turning point welcomed him when Salim Gause, a well known personality for English stage, was staging a play “Boesman and Lena” authored by Athol Fugard and Mr Basra continued watching it  for a week night after night. Salim Gause was moved and met him. The meeting turned out to be his entry into the Mumbai theatre scene. He acted as Horatio in 1991 in Salim Ghouse’s production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

He acted in several talked-about plays including Feroz Khan’s Mahatma vs Gandhi, Manav Kaul’s Mumtaz Bhai Patangwale and Vikram Kapadia’s Tuglak.

His attending Urdu Classes

Kapadia said that over the years, he and Basra became “learning buddies” while attending Urdu classes at Mumbai University. “I am yet to make sense of this news since he was such a positive and jovial person. He often invited me to come and visit him in Himachal Pradesh,” he said.

His Career in Motions Pictures

Mr Basra has worked in a variety of films – “Who, 1998 as History Teacher, Omakarnath Akshit. He acted as Aakash in “Rules: Pyar Ka Superhit Formula in 2003, in Quicksand as Airman in 2003. His name was Shahnawaz Qureshi in Black Friday and Ramnath Mohan in Love in Nepal in 2004. He acted other films such as Parzania, Outsourced in 2005, Jab We Met 2007, Tandoori Love as T.V. Kumar in 2008. In 2010 he worked in three movies namely Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai (Shoib’ dad), Lamhaa as Driver and Knock Out as Police Inspector. Kai Po Che, Krish 3, Ek Villan, Manjunath, Anjaan, Saanjh, Wrong Side Raju, Fareeky Ali, Sheitaan, Islamic Exorcist, Kaalakaandi, Hichki, Fenny Khan are other projects he participated during the period from 2009 to 2018. Recently he was also seen in Satellite Shankar as Cab Driver, P Se Pyar F Se Faraar as Sompal Singh and as Muthan in Big Brother in Malyalam Language in 2020. He was a part in Web series Paatal Lok and Hostages.

Cause of Suicide

 Upon his demise, Sachin Krishn, the director of Hostages Season 2, said: “I am stunned by the news. I don’t know the full facts. He was such a jovial person on sets. In fact, we used to envy his life because he would stay in the hills and come to Mumbai only to shoot. He was not only a fine actor but more importantly, a beautiful person. It feels like a personal loss.”

Krishn added he had tried contacting Asif Basra several times since September after the show went live, but never got a response. “I got in touch with every actor after Hostages Season 2, so I was trying to get in touch with him too. I would ask my associates to reach out to him, but there would be no response. I would think, ‘What’s wrong with him?’ and later thought maybe I offended him. In this industry, you feel maybe the actor wasn’t happy the way the graph of his character was shown. But now, I am shocked.”

It can be inferred from circumstances that it is depression and bitterness that is the culprit for his demise. He was bitter that only mega stars, who have backings and lobbies get importance. The actors like him, who work hard for creating a niche in the cut-throat competition in the entertainment industry and others. According to the Director of 2019 ‘Tashkent Files’ having an important role of Asif Basri, Vivek Agnihotri said: “Asif had an important role in ‘Tashkent Files’ where he shared screen space with Naseeruddin Shah, Mithun Chakraborty and Shweta Basu Prasad. Vivek said that he was going to cast Basra even in his next, ‘Kashmir Files’. “But destiny had other plans,” Vivek added. Vivek and Asif go back a long way, when Vivek used to direct the nail-biting thriller Saturday ‘Suspense’ on TV and Basra acted in it. “I am in shock and it is yet to sink in that he’s no more. I last met him when we had a party to celebrate the completion of the 100-day run of ‘Tashkent Files’. We had a blast. He was a personal friend.” Vivek further said that Asif had loved working in ‘Tashkent Files’. “I found him quite fine when he did
‘Tashkent Files’, he was a bit bitter about Bollywood but then I guess many of us are, even I am,” Vivek added.


What exactly was Asif bitter about, we asked? Replied Vivek, “Well, I have nothing sensational to reveal here. We simply used to talk about how we don’t take good actors seriously in our industry. He used to say yahan ya to phir star hota hai ya everybody else hota hai. Supporting actors are not supported. He had issues about that,” and added, “But that’s true. I agreed with him.” Vivek further said that Asif had loved working in ‘Tashkent Files’. “I found him quite fine when he did
‘Tashkent Files’, he was a bit bitter about Bollywood but then I guess many of us are, even I am,” Vivek added.


What exactly was Asif bitter about, we asked? Replied Vivek, “Well, I have nothing sensational to reveal here. We simply used to talk about how we don’t take good actors seriously in our industry. He used to say yahan ya to phir star hota hai ya everybody else hota hai. Supporting actors are not supported. He had issues about that,” and added, “But that’s true. I agreed with him.”


Vivek does, to say, “Stars are allowed to waste money to the tune of 60-70 per cent of a film’s budget. Someone should research this and see- so many films with stars in the lead are so pathetic- no content, star kuch bhi bol raha hai, kuch bhi pehan raha hai. And why is this being tolerated? Because people can be fooled with PR campaigns and absolute lies. I have worked with stars who smoke and drink but they paint an image in public that they are teetotallers. Time is not spent on craft and talent is not respected. And let me tell you I am not bitter per se. Mere se koi bhi kaam karta hai main wahi baat karta hoon that how we can make our film industry better. So I can’t really say whether Asif was indeed bitter or not, but he wasn’t talking about great experiences in the industry.”

In the last, we wish had some persons involved in serving humanity on the front of depression a plague like pandemic sweeping across the globe approached him and convinced the futility of this world and some hopes in another one, he would not have committed the suicide.

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