Actress of depth and versatility

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Actress of depth and versatility

Thursday, 15 February 2024 | Exotica

Actress of depth and versatility

Huma Qureshi, the acclaimed Indian actress, has carved her niche in the film industry with her remarkable talent and versatile performances. Her breakthrough role in Anurag Kashyap’s crime thriller Gangs of Wasseypur garnered widespread acclaim, establishing her as a force to reckon with in Bollywood. Known for her ability to portray complex characters with nuance and authenticity, Qureshi has since delivered captivating performances in web series like Laila Maharani. Beyond her acting prowess, she advocates for social causes and gender equality, using her platform to address important issues. Huma Qureshi continues to captivate audiences with her talent, proving herself as one of the most compelling actresses of her generation. She talked to Exotica about her craft and career. Excerpts:

Can you share a bit about your journey into the film industry and how you got your start as an actress?

I was into theatre in college and that’s where I discovered my love for acting. I moved to Mumbai with the intention of becoming an actor. In my initial days in the industry, I did a commercial which was directed by Anurag Kashyap and he offered me Gangs of Wasseypur. That’s how my journey in cinema was kickstarted.

What motivated you to pursue a career in acting?

In school I used to keenly participate in extra-curricular activities. Whether it was elocution, debates or plays. When I went to college, I was deeply attracted to theatre and was bitten by the acting bug. I moved to Mumbai with the dream of becoming an actor.

Of all the roles you’ve played so far, which one has been the most challenging, and why?

I have played roles which have challenged me as an actor and made me push myself out of my comfort zone. It’s difficult to choose any one role. I thoroughly enjoyed playing both Mohsina and Jhilmil  even though they belong to completely different worlds. In the recent past, whether it was Tarla, Monica, Shalini or Rani Bharti - they are all strong women who will not be deterred by society or it’s norms and will rise above their circumstances with sheer will power and be unapologetic about their ambitions.

Can you tell us about any upcoming projects that you are excited about?

The third season of Maharani will be streaming soon. I think this is one of the only shows which has a female protagonist and has been commissioned for the third season. I am really looking forward to how people receive it.

How do you think the film industry has evolved during your career, especially in terms of roles for women and what changes would you like to see in the entertainment industry, particularly in Bollywood?

It’s important for every actor to figure out their own path. There always will be a plethora of roles to play and actors must choose roles that work for them. The parameters for choosing roles are one’s own. The sets have more women in all departments of filmmaking. Even though it’s still not a level plating field, for example, the pay gap between male and female actors is still an issue, the industry has space for everyone and is constantly evolving

How do you approach preparing for a new role? Are there any specific methods you follow?

Not really. For me, reading the script multiple times helps. I just follow the script and the director’s vision. Of course as an actor I improvise where it makes sense. But, essentially, I rely on the script for shaping my role.

Balancing personal and professional life can be challenging. How do you manage to maintain that balance? What are your favorite ways to unwind and relax when you’re not working?

I love sleeping. On days when I am not shooting, I am usually catching up on my sleep or hang out with my friends and family.

In recent years, many actors have become advocates for social issues. Are there any causes that you are particularly passionate about? How do you see your platform as an actress contributing to social change or awareness?

I made a film which addressed body shaming called Double XL. As an actor one is expected to fit a mould but I have never adhered to that. My film was  about how the skills a person has is far superior and what matters more than the looks or the how much they weigh. There has always been a lot of pressure on women to look a certain way and I have always advocated against that thought process.

What advice would you give to aspiring actors who are looking to enter the film industry?

Every individual’s journey is different and they have to write their own story. What worked for me might not work for someone else. Focus, determination and resilience are key qualities.

Are there any lessons you’ve learned in your career that you wish someone had told you earlier?

I am glad that I got the opportunity to be on the journey and experience it for myself.

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