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Updated: June 9, 2012 21:18 IST

Honestly upbeat

Vishnupriya Bhandaram
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Proving her mettle: Huma Qureshi
The Hindu Proving her mettle: Huma Qureshi

Huma Qureshi says that off-beat is the new main-stream

A week after Cannes, Huma Qureshi is still flying high, she has every reason to be. Her debut film, Gangs of Wasseypur got a standing ovation at Cannes. “It's just unbelievable. The response was amazing. If I ever write an autobiography, this has to be one of the high points in my life,” says Huma. She believes that as an actor if one can communicate beyond language, then the job is done.

With a strong background in Delhi theatre, Huma stepped into the Hindi film industry after much struggle. Huma worked in many advertisements; in fact while shooting for a commercial with Aamir Khan, Anurag Kashyap (who was directing the commercial) approached Huma and said he would cast her in his film. “I thought he was joking, but obviously he wasn't…” laughs Huma. Thanking her stars and luck, Huma believes that she couldn't have had a better launch into tinsel town. “It's an honour to work with Anurag. I couldn't ask for more. I was apprehensive because of the number of actors and I told Anurag and he just had two phrases to say, ‘Shut up!' and ‘Trust me', I couldn't really argue with that,” she laughs.

Talking about her role in Gangs of Wasseypur, Huma says she plays Mohsina, a small-town girl and an air-head who thinks she is the prettiest girl in the village. “Mohsina tries to copy everything she sees on the big screen in her own little ways. She is heavily influenced by Bollywood,”says Huma. Paired with Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Huma admits that she thought the pairing was absurd because of the height difference but Anurag simply said, aise pyar bhi hota hai na… Considering that the casting is off-beat, Huma passionately says that the offbeat is the new mainstream. “Gangs has all the trappings of a masala entertainer, but it has content. Audience can connect with the film anywhere. You see films like Vicky Donor, Kahaani doing so well, while the big block-busters are bombing at the box-office. It's no longer about who's in the film but more about what is the film about,” she asserts. When asked about her ‘dream role', she excitedly answers, “I would love to be a part of a biopic, going through ages, growing on screen. That will be fun.”

On her co-actor Nawazuddin

“It is sad that people are just waking up to the phenomenon called Nawazuddin. He is a powerhouse of talent and there is so much that I have learnt from. His talent is finally seeing the light of the day, if I am not wrong he probably struggled in the industry for over 12 years. He told me, ‘Kisi hero ko maarna hota tha toh mujhe bulate the…' He is perhaps the only Indian actor to have three of his films premiere at Cannes simultaneously.

Forthcoming projects

Even before Gangs of Wasseypur has released, Huma has landed three big roles. After Gangs of Wasseypur, Huma is looking forward to Love shav te Chicken Khurana, a romantic comedy and touted to be India's first food film, being directed by Sameer Sharma and flagged by UTV. She is working with Kunaal Kapoor and an ensemble cast.

Next up is Ek thi Daayan — a psychological thriller produced by Vishal Bharadwaj, directed by Kannan Iyer. “I am paired with Emraan Hashmi and my co-stars are Kalki Koechlin and Konkona Sen Sharma,” she says. Huma has also signed a film with Nikhil Advani.

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