…says Huma Qureshi to Nikita Wadhawan as she talks about her new Hollywood film, Bollywood plans and more
After her debut in ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’, Huma Qureshi tried hard to fit into the quintessential Bollywood perception, but now she has set her sights on Hollywood cinema. Huma has joined the Hollywood bandwagon with her new film Partition: 1947. When asked about jumping into new pastures, the actress says that as long as they pay well, she doesn’t mind jumping into TV or a web series. Excerpts from the interview:
How was the experience working with Gurinder Chadha in your first English film?
It was a wonderful experience. She is an acclaimed filmmaker, both in India and abroad. The cast of the film is also so unique and even the subject is so relevant today. It has been 70 years since our Independence and our freedom struggle, it is important to look back at our history and learn from our mistakes.
Did you do any additional prep for this movie?
Not really. But it is a period film and my character Alia speaks in a particular accent as she works as a translator for the Mountbatten family. So took a little training to learn the accent.
How was the experience working with acclaimed actors like Gillian Anderson and Hugh Bonneville?
My work primarily is with Edwina Mountbatten, played by the lovely Gillian Anderson. Working with Hugh was fantastic as I am huge Downton Abbey fan. All of them have done justice to their roles. All of them have contributed so much to the film, more than their stardom. Overall, it was a lovely experience.
Have you been smitten by Hollywood now?
I did not go chasing this film. I got a call to send Gurinder an audition tape, which I did. But if something interesting comes my way, then definitely. But my base will always be India.
Is working style in a Hollywood film different from a Bollywood film?
I don’t compare. I think it is rubbish to compare. Every set is different, every director is different. I have worked in some very organised Indian films as well. Of course, the working style is very different for this film as it is a period film and requirements are very specific. I think we can learn from them and even they can learn a lot from us
The way we use music and emotions in our films. English films are far more drier and have very less emotional content.
Your last film, ‘Dobaara: See Your Evil’, did not do very well, were you disappointed?
Well, success and failure is in the hands of the audience.
Do think that something went wrong somewhere and you have missed out from the big leagues?
No, I don’t think about all this.
Where do you place yourself in Bollywood then?
I place myself exactly where I am. I am very happy that I am doing the work that I want to and working with actors of such different calibre. I am very content.
Do you feel that Bollywood has developed a stereotypical notion of you are as an actor?
No, I don’t feel that way.
Not seen you in a rom-com genre yet. Do not like to do such movies?
I love that genre. But I want to do a film with a good script. I don’t want to do a film just because I like the genre.
You have always lived with your brother, how is that? Many people want to move away from their family, especially siblings…
I love living with my brother and will continue doing it until one of us gets married. But he is my life and I can’t imagine my life without him. I don’t like to go back to an empty house. But I get my space with my brother and I give him his space. As we are from a big family, we have been a very close knit.
Initially when you shifted to Mumbai, was life difficult?
It was difficult at the start. Also, when I started I was still studying. As a working professional now it is a different ball game now. I like Mumbai now it is my home. It took me a week but I became a Mumbaikar.
Apart from movies do you want to venture into any other medium?
Only if they pay me lot of money. Although it won’t be the only criteria, it will be the main criteria. Just show me the money.
Talking about money, do you feel that the industry is very biased when in terms of money?
Yes it is. Equal pay for equal work. Although I do know of cases that a woman has been paid more than a man. So, things are changing.