Huma Qureshi – Ruling the fiefdom of Performance
There is no secret formula, a procedure, a ploy, a shortcut, a trick or a tactic that pave the way to success. Albeit, a single trait that beats all and clicks all the time is – HARD WORK and PRESERVANCE. Who else can explain it better than the quintessentially adaptable actress of Bollywood Huma Qureshi, who’s journey to success has been dotted with challenges and hardships. From essaying the role of a coying girl in ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ to playing the strong character of a mother who is in search of her daughter in ‘Leila’ with effortless ease, Huma is now testing waters with web series and Hollywood projects. She has ascended to the top of the heap in real-time and there seems to be no stopping for her and she’s on a spectacular rise up the ladder.
I remember Huma once said ” I want to surprise people” and she has so rightly done so. Whether it’s about straddling diverse landscapes of entertainment or charming french riviera with her sartorial preferences in her glitziest best or silencing critics for body shamming, she is downplaying the difficulties with ease and taking the unconventional path to fame, fortune, glory, and success. Her social media likability, rising admiration and sterling success records are a testimony to her tale of success, which is inspiring for many who don’t have strong backing in Bollywood. During our recent meeting with Huma Qureshi and exclusive tete a tete she spilled her heart out talking about her movies, world of web series, dreams, aspirations and her personal life.
Q. Where are you on the scale of the excitement post-Leila since you have received such an amazing response on your performance?
Huma Qureshi: I am really happy that the show has received such an overwhelming response, also because it has started a conversation. Creating a dialogue is the best thing which art can do.
Q. How do you look at your journey from Gangs of Wasseypur to Leila?
Huma Qureshi: It has been an amazing journey and I have enjoyed every moment of it. As an actor, I have always chased good work and good directors. My dream is to do a certain kind of work and I am living that dream… I feel blessed. I’m very happy with the choices I have made. Failure and success are part of everyone’s journey. I have learned from each mistake and cherish every success.
Q. Since the starting point of your career, essaying versatile roles has remained your forte, is it by choice or by chance?
Huma Qureshi: It has been my choice always because I like taking risks and attempting different kinds of roles. It gives me the kind of excitement which every artist wants. This is who I am even as a person, so my choices are just an extension of me.
Q. What challenges did you encounter while navigating the entertainment landscape of Bollywood?
Huma Qureshi: The biggest challenge as an artist is to get work which you want to do. I do not fit into a mold as such, so that can also sometimes prove to be challenging. Until a few years ago, I gave auditions for every film of mine. I have built all my relationships here from scratch and to be honest the challenge never ends, it just changes its form.
Q. Does being beautiful still works to your advantage in Bollywood in terms of getting meatier projects?
Huma Qureshi: I think our industry has evolved to a large extent. In today’s time of content-driven cinema, the goal is not just to look good but also should hold the merit of being good at your job. Beauty and talent go hand in hand.
Q. Visiting Cannes for the screening of Gangs of Wasseypur and to Cannes now share your experience?
Huma Qureshi: Representing my country at a global level is always exciting. Cannes will always be special for me because my first film Gangs Of Wasseypur premiered here. It was the first time that I saw myself on the big screen too. So, no matter how many times I go there, my excitement for Cannes will always be like I am going there for the first time. And your Cannes looks catch the eyeballs and well-received how you work on your fashion outings.
I always believe in being confident and only then will I be able to carry off whatever I am wearing. This has always been my fashion mantra, to be comfortable and confident and that is what I took to Cannes as well.
Q. Are you a sybarite, epicurean who has decadence for luxuries of life or simply believe in leading a simple and frugal way of life?
Huma Qureshi: I come from a very humble background and have always believed in hard work. That is something that my parents have always taught me and Saqib. One can be as rich and luxurious as they want, but if they don’t remember and appreciate the simplicity of life, then it is of no use. So I appreciate, enjoy and I am grateful for the luxuries that my hard work has enabled me to get.
Q. Can you tell us about some elements of your wardrobe that are irreplaceable?
Huma Qureshi: A white cotton outfit, a pair of well-fitting jeans, white/black shirt, heels, and good lingerie.
Q. You have plenty on your plate right now, with such a hectic schedule how do you fit in a comprehensive beauty and fitness regime?
Huma Qureshi: There is no secret to it. You look glamorous when you believe in yourself, be happy and do your thing. That is it.
Q. What is the biggest misconception that people have about you?
Huma Qureshi: The biggest misconception, people have about me is that I am an extrovert. I am actually a big introvert, whose pretending to be an extrovert. So, whenever I am going out or I am doing interviews, etc, I think I am projecting a certain image, not that it is not me, it is me, but It just feels like this way. I am such a private person, I always need to hide behind my characters, to feel comfortable, especially when I am interacting with other people or I am engaging with other people.
Q. It’s not wrong to say that you are choice of big directors Bollywood and internationally Anurag Kashyap, Sriram Raghvan, Gurinder Chaddha and now Deepa Mehta, please comment on that?
Huma Qureshi: I’m fortunate to have worked with the best of filmmakers and got the opportunity to play interesting roles. It has been a great learning experience working with all and I’m grateful to them for showing their faith and confidence in me as an actor.
Q. Avalanche of posts on your Instagram page reflect your fondness and Penchant for travel humoungously, please describe the traveler in you?
Huma Qureshi: I love traveling to different places and New York and London are my favorite destinations. Traveling gives people the kind of space one needs, and also to appreciate scenic beauty.
Q. Which place caught your fancy the most in the world, are you a beach person, mountain-loving or city life attracts you the most?
Huma Qureshi: My favorite city in the world is London! I am a beach person and I love the feel of the beach. It makes me feel at ease and it calms me down to a great extent. I want to visit untapped beaches which are close to Mumbai where I can go for weekend getaways. I keep reading a lot of travel magazines about beaches in India which are yet to be explored.
Q. Name a place or two in Delhi and Mumbai where you love to hang out and dine in?
Huma Qureshi: I love to hang out at home. I love to go to my friend’s home and just like chill there. Ummm, I can go to the same restaurant every week and not be bored with it. I am quite a boring person. Yes, I like to experiment a bit, but experimentation is mostly a bit when I am not at home, which is when I am not in Mumbai or Delhi. So, then I really like to go and check out different places.
Q. What’s your regular comfort meal?
Huma Qureshi: Rice, with anything soupy, is a good combination and a comfort meal.
Q. Are you a health food buff, your Instagram posts, and pictures of healthy food suggest the same?
Huma Qureshi: I eat healthy food and my daily intake comprises of six to eight meals. I opt for healthy organic snacks but I am not too fussy also. I eat roti, dal, sabzi, etc but inconsiderate portions and stick to homemade meals.
Q. How do you spend your leisure time? If you are at home what do you like to do?
Huma Qureshi: My leisure time is very boring, I like to read, I like to watch a lot of television, like international shows on Netflix. I like to read a lot, you know. Working out is a new passion. I really enjoy gymming and discovering new ways to train, rather than doing the same boring thing. I sleep a lot like whenever I have the opportunity, I take a nap.
Q. After Priyanka and Deepika now all eyes on you since you are doing projects in west tell us about your thought, and working with Zack Synder’s?
Huma Qureshi: I really look up to Priyanka and Deepika. They are my seniors and it is so nice to see what they have done for our country. I am really excited about this project and looking forward to work with Zack.