In her tenth year in the film industry, Huma Qureshi has a major release coming up in the form of Monica O My Darling, a crime comedy directed by Vasan Bala.
Surprising fact: Huma Qureshi has acted in 23 films, web series and television shows. It’s surprising because though she has become a well-known name, she does not get much mention on social media or have the camera trained on her in award shows. Yet she’s proved her talent time and again.
After getting a Bachelor’s degree from Gargi College, Delhi University, Qureshi got into theatre with NK Sharma as teacher and mentor and also worked for a few non-profits. In one of those rare strokes of luck, Hindi film director Anurag Kashyap spotted her in a commercial for Samsung mobile phones and was impressed with her looks and acting skills.
Subsequently, he signed her for three films. This is how Qureshi made her film debut with a crime drama Gangs of Wasseypur directed by Anurag Kashyap. She couldn’t have asked for a better platform as she essayed the role of gangster Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s wife.
Asked by Patriot to name her favourite film, she replies, “It’s tough to choose one. I’m fortunate that I played different roles in films like Gangs of Wasseypur, 1947 Partition, Badlapur, Kaala Karikalan and many others which had talented directors such as Nikhil Advani, Anurag Kashyap and Gurinder Chadha. I am always keen on playing good characters and enjoy working with all but these roles are my favourites”.
In Gangs, her superb performance was appreciated by film fans and critics alike. The general consensus was that she did justice to her character. And she did receive a prestigious Supporting Actress award from Filmfare.
Afterwards, she starred in the black comedy Dedh Ishqiya and was a supporting character in the revenge drama Badlapur directed by Anurag Kashyap, where she plays a sex worker. Once good reviews poured in from the audience, there was no doubt about her popularity.
Then there was no looking back. Prestigious banners and good directors were ready to take her on. She got the golden chance to act in Jolly LLB, Dobaara and See Your Evil. She also stars in the web series Leila. Her portrayal of the character of Rani Bharti in SonyLiv web series Maharani is also getting positive reviews and receiving appreciation.
From ads to fame
Huma was born on 28 July 1986 was brought up in South Delhi. Her father Saleem Qureshi owns a chain of 10 restaurants, her mother Ameena Qureshi is a Kashmiri. She has three brothers.
On the personal front, somewhere along the way, she was in a relationship with Mudassar Aziz, director and writer but that is reportedly history.
In 2008, she moved to Mumbai to successfully audition for the film Junction, which never got made. She featured in advertisements with top stars such as Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan. These commercials gave her much visibility in the media and she got many lucrative offers from the film industry.
When Gangs of Wasseypur was shown at the 65th Cannes Film Festival, Qureshi received a lot of praise and appreciation. Some people compared her persona to that of the late Smita Patil.
In a list of her best films, there is always mention of Luv Shuv Tey Chiken Khurana. Badlapur, Ishqiya, Kaala Karikalan, Bell Bottom and Ek Thi Daayan.
How did she get a role in Kaala? “I’m lucky that Rajnikanth Sir offered me a role. I was so excited to be acting with him. I also loved the shoot because it’s not often that I find such a well-etched character for a female actor in a typical ‘mass’ film. I play the part of Zareena, a Tamil Muslim. The story spans three decades, showing my transformation from a 20-year-old to a woman in her fifties. I shot for 40-45 days and absolutely loved the story and my part in it”.
So how was her experience of acting with the legendary Rajnikanth? “This is the first time I got a chance to work with a big star like Rajnikanth who’s just as famous as Amitabh Bachchan. Really, at first, I felt a little nervous but sharing the screen with him was a wonderful experience. Rajnikanth is a superstar with a massive fan following yet he is very humble”.
“My role as Zareena is so real, unlike a cardboard cutout heroine”, she gushes. “I loved my character and felt fortunate to play this role with a superstar”.
Also memorable is Viceroy House, where she played the daughter of late Om Puri who’s in love with a Muslim boy. Film critics and journalists were fortunate to be present at the premiere of the film at Bikaner House, where British-India director Gurinder Chadha and the Qureshi family were present.
Huma Qureshi has never shied away from negative roles. She has acted as a witch in supernatural thriller Ek Thi Daayan along with popular actors Emraan Hashmi, Konkana Sen Sharma and Kalki Koechlin. She was given the honour of hosting the 60th National Film Awards at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.
Another feather in her cap is the short film Sujata, also directed by Kashyap, where she plays a young girl who is struggling to come out of the clutches of her tormentor cousin. This film was shown at the Indian Film Festival at Los Angeles. It was a major achievement for her as an actress and she received a special mention in the ceremony.
Asked about Monica O My Darling, she replies, “It’s a story of a young man who desperately tries to make it big with some unlikely allies and a dastardly diabolical plan to pull off the perfect murder”.
A crime comedy, the script is written by Yogesh Chandekar and is produced by Sarita Patil; the music is given by Achint Thakur. Director Vasan Bala is best known for his hit film Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota.
So is her link with Delhi still strong? She replies promptly, “I love Delhi and this city is full of interesting things. One can say Delhi is a happening place. I cannot forget my childhood days. I love to be in the city and visit my professor who taught in Gargi College”.
Lastly, what does she feel about the future of cinema? “Audience choices and cinema are changing. There was a time when films became hits due to big film stars. Now that perception is changing”.