Huma Qureshi: Ajith is a director's actor
Huma Qureshi, who returned to Tamil cinema with Valimai wants to be in more films down south
Huma Qureshi, the Valimai star, is now busy with multiple releases, promotions for her projects and has also taken to writing. Clearly, and self-admittedly, she continues to hold a childlike fascination towards films. Be it watching the first-day-first show of her film with producer Boney Kapoor to absorb the fans' energy or being candid about not planning her career, Huma doesn't hold back in expressing her thoughts either.
It has been a great start of the year for her with the release of her web series, Mithya, her special appearance in the much-celebrated Sanjay Leela Bhansali directorial Gangubai Kathiawadi, the release of Valimai, and now, the shoot for Maharani season 2. In this exclusive interview with Cinema Express, Huma opens up about how her choices in films and web series are unrestrained and instinctive, and how she lets stories speak for her.
"I like playing strong parts, and I like the action but I don't think enough action films get made with women," she begins. Huma played the role of a cop in Valimai, who's a colleague of Ajith's character, Arjun. Citing how it is usually women characters who get rescued in such films, Huma explains that she is happy with the way her role panned out. "I feel very strongly that women can also do action, but we just don't get enough opportunities to do it. Even when you do, you do not get enough budget. It is great that a film like Valimai gives me that space because so many other people — if I were to do an action film on my own — will not see it. Now, I have so many fans from all over India who will be seeing me in this avatar." Huma also hopes that Valimai opens up avenues for many other people to make these kinds of films.
She also reveals that she had heard a lot about director H Vinoth before she came on board the film. Quite interestingly, Huma's first meeting with H Vinoth at Boney Kapoor's office did not go as she had expected. "When he narrated the script to me, it was H Vinoth sir, Boney sir, and Anu ji — our costume head. So I was chatting, and I normally like to talk as you can see. After the meeting, Boney sir came to drop me and I said, 'I think Vinoth sir doesn't like me'. He didn't say anything. Boney sir said that H Vinoth is a shy, reserved person." Of course, the meeting went well, considering Huma's role in the film.
Speaking of working with H Vinoth, the one thing that Huma repeats is about the director's clarity and his vision. "His vision is so clear about what he wants... not just from me, but the entire film."
H Vinoth had earlier revealed that Huma's character went through a re-write and Huma says she can, in hindsight, see how this change has worked in favour of the film. Originally, there was a romantic angle in the film. "Earlier, my character was supposed to be romantically involved with Ajith sir, but later, as the film went on and the pandemic hit us, there were so many changes that happened. There were so many scenes that we had shot, which we couldn't reuse because there were some recasting issues with other cast members due to the pandemic."
However, Huma believes that it has all worked out for the better. "Now that I look at the film and how the track has actually panned out, I think it's probably for the better," Huma iterates. Huma says she found Ajith to be an effortless actor. This made things easy for her. "He is an instinctive actor and a director's actor. I found him to be—despite his superstardom—very receptive, passionate, eager, and hungry as an actor."
Speaking of superstars, Huma has appeared already in a star-vehicle—Kaala—starring Rajinikanth. On the other hand, she headlines shows and movies in Mumbai. The actor claims that this is unplanned and that she is not performing a balancing act. "I love Tamil films and I want to do more films here, so I am waiting for more people to hire me, and cast me," she says.
After all the juggling between her projects, do the lines get blurred between her true self and her character? She says, "I don't want to carry the baggage of being an actor in my real life. So for me, each time I put on make-up and I wear a costume, that's when I become someone else."