Thursday, November 22, 2012

Huma Qureshi

“When I was offered ‘GOW’, I didn’t expect it to be a big film for me”

By Ankita R Kanabar

(This interview was published in the November 3 issue of Super Cinema) 

She’s a refreshing change from the staple fare of Hindi cinema actresses. She’s not trying to ape anyone. Not trying to get into the size zero bandwagon. She’s just being herself – cute yet sexy, bubbly and non-diplomatic. That is, Huma Qureshi for you. Just before I was to interview Huma, I tweeted and asked if anybody has any message for this lovely lady, and just within few seconds, tweets started pouring in. While guys wanted to know if she’s single and if she would have coffee with them, girls too have a ‘girl crush’ on her. Now, certainly that’s quite a big deal for an actor who’s just two films old. One can’t deny that Huma has certainly left the audience smitten by her charm. Her raw sensuality, disarming smile, and ‘chulbulapan’ have clearly left men drooling over her, and no, we aren’t surprised. Just as I speak to her, I realise that it’s probably her off-screen vivaciousness that translates on-screen and brings spark to her characters. She’s confident, yet, earthy and that reflects when she speaks. While she’s still garnering accolades for ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ series, her next film, ‘Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana’ released this Friday, and is getting some great reaction from the audience and critics alike. Huma has just returned from the screening of the film and she’s had a very long day, when she settles down for a long telephonic chat with me in the wee hours of night. Despite that, her voice shows no signs of fatigue. Here we have, Huma Qureshi getting candid about ‘Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana’, and Hindi cinema. She also reveals her relationship status, amidst a lot of other things 

Now that’s a very quirky name for a film – ‘Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana’... 
(Laughs) Yes it’s a very unique and yummy name. It’s basically a romantic film, but very unusual for a romantic comedy. You know, Anurag Kashyap is known as ‘The King of dark films’; he himself agrees to it, so something from his stable has to be unique but having said that, this is a real fun film, and not a dark film at all. It’s about relationships, and joint family, and how life can be filled with all the interesting weird people around you. And while the film is about discovering a recipe, it’s also about finding yourself. It’s a metaphor of sort.

From ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ to ‘Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana’, that has been quite a shift, isn’t it?
Oh yes absolutely! Both the films are completely different, and so are my characters. While Mohsina lived in a very dark environment amidst gangsters and was the only light of Faisal’s life, in ‘Luv Shuv...’, Harman is this highly educated girl, she’s a doctor. She’s very real and earthy. I’m sure most Punjabi girls, down the north and all, would identify with my character in the film.

How was it working with Kunal Kapoor?
Fantastic! Kunal is extremely hardworking. And in fact, he was also involved in the creative process, during the pre-production, like scripting and all. So, that was interesting. He is open to new ideas and suggestions, and it was very easy to work with him because he’s such a nice person. He’s a kind of actor who makes everyone around very comfortable, which was important in a film like this that had so many actors.

‘Luv Shuv’...has been getting great reviews already from industry insiders and the audience who saw it on Friday; that must feel good?
That does feel really nice. I was just telling our director Sameer Sharma that when we were making the film, we didn’t really realise that we’re making a good film. But I think what works for the film is that it has a very simple romance. Today, most films with the romance element are very complicated. But here’s a simple love story, with a lot of innocence. And the response has just been overwhelming. When we were promoting the film in the north, and areas like Punjab, we were so thrilled by the response we were getting.

Didn’t you have any apprehensions about making your debut with a film like ‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’, which was slightly niche and had a multi star cast?
No, not at all because I didn’t really think that way. I was given an opportunity to be a part of a film that had a good script and was being made by someone like Anurag Kashyap, so I just did it. I’ve always been a big fan of Anurag Kashyap as a filmmaker, and I’d have been stupid if I’d refused an opportunity like this. And while I was working for ‘GOW’, I’d never really thought that I would get noticed or appreciated because I didn’t even read the script and didn’t know exactly about my character since Anurag was still wanting to have many improvisations in my character, and there wasn’t any clarity in the script that time. So, when I was offered ‘GOW’, I didn’t think it would prove to be a big film for me. So, all the feedback post the film, has just been very overwhelming. The good thing is also that cinema is now changing, unlike earlier where we had too different categories like mainstream cinema and boring cinema. Now even slightly off-beat films are very entertaining so I think I couldn’t have asked for a better debut than ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’.

 What do you have to say about all the guys falling for you, and even girls saying that you’re their ‘girl crush’? Even all the tweets coming your way on twitter are full of appreciation...
(Laughs) Oh really? It’s really cute of people to say such things. This just feels so nice. See, we become actors for appreciation, and for getting noticed. So I feel really wonderful to be getting all the attention. Also, I’m a twitter addict, so I keep checking and reading tweets all the time, and love to reply to the tweets that I find interesting and sweet.

When people saw you in ‘GOW’, the audience thought you were different, more so in terms of your looks, and most definitely someone who wouldn’t join the size zero bandwagon. I think you remind us of yesteryear actresses. Your take?
You know when I signed ‘GOW’, I didn’t know how to go about my looks, because like I said, I didn’t expect anything from the film. And I think, all of us, as in all women, have some inherited beauty and it all depends on the director and his sensibilities as to how he portrays you on screen. My looks or image is not something I bother about because your image is what depends on your previous film. And if you see, most of the top actresses have always got some flaw or the other, because we’re not perfect. So, it’s okay to have flaws. Like you said, that I remind you of yesteryear actresses, a lot of other people have told me the same, and I find that flattering. But I’m glad that people are accepting me the way I am. See, if a particular film or role demands that I have a particular look, I would obviously mould myself accordingly. But the way I am currently, the way I look, that’s me, and I like myself that way. I am happy the way I am. I would not bother about what others have to say about me because that’s their perspective, and may be they have a particular norm or definition of beauty. So, that doesn’t bother me at all. Ultimately, I feel, beauty is internal, and all that matters is what you do on-screen.

What are the kind of films you wish to do in future?
I want to do everything. Everything! Like even now, I’m doing different roles and films. ‘GOW’ was totally different from ‘Luv Shuv...’ and my upcoming films are ‘Ek Thi Daayan’ and ‘D-day’. While ‘Ek Thi Daayan’ is a supernatural thriller, Nikhil Advani’s ‘D-day’ is hard-core action film, so they’re all different genres. I want to experiment a lot, work with different filmmakers, and try to re-invent myself every six months. See, you know, if I just continue doing dark films, I will get bored, and if I continue to do romcoms, even then I will get bored. So I just want to try out everything. I’m an actor, not a filmmaker. So I would try out a variety of roles and genres, anything that I think would work and anything that seems real to me. As an actor, that’s my job, to fit into various roles. Moreover, now we have an older generation that is so experienced and knows so much and then we have new talent that brings in the freshness. So, there’s so much variety in cinema now. Today, even a leading lady has so much to do in a film than just look pretty. There is much more scope for leading ladies, and I’m so glad to be a part of cinema at this point of time, in order to experiment with different roles and films.

Tell us a little about ‘Ek Thi Daayan’ and ‘D-day’...
I’ve almost finished shooting for ‘Ek Thi Daayan’ where I’m paired opposite Emraan Hashmi. This film is a combined venture between Ekta Kapoor and Vishal Bhardwaj so what more could you ask for? It should turn out to be fantastic. ‘D-day’, I’m shooting for, at the moment, and all I can tell you is that it’s an action film.

You said you want to work with different filmmakers, any wish list of filmmakers that you wish to work with?Like I said, I want to do everything; similarly, I want to work with everybody. Like Anurag Kashyap, I called the ‘King of dark films’, so he is best in that genre and similarly there are other filmmakers best at different genres. So, I want to work with all the best filmmakers, in various genres.

Your fans on twitter wanted to know if the pretty Huma is single
I’m absolutely single. (breaks into a laugher)

And what’s your take on love and relationships?You know, I’m a die-hard romantic, but at the moment I can be the worse girlfriend, because I have just no time. There’s so much work, and there’s no time to meet someone, and then get involved in a romantic relationship. But someday that will happen, and I know it will be beautiful. Whatsoever, the fact remains, I’m a hardcore romantic. 

Images - Courtesy Rohan Shreshtha 

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