B-town actors have been increasingly taking up projects overseas, and Huma Qureshi (above) is the latest to join the bandwagon. HT Café catches up with the actor to speak about acting in a British production, preparation for her role, and working with actor Hugh Bonneville.
First time’s a charm
Huma’s pretty excited about her first project overseas — a British period drama directed by Gurinder Chadha of Bend It Like Beckham (2002) fame. “I’d be lying if I said I’m not [excited]. It’s a dream come true. Gurinder Chadha is someone I admire and she is so passionate about her work. The research that she does for a project is admirable,” says the actor.
In order to learn the accent and intonation for her role as an interpreter in the 1940s, Huma apparently did some research in London (UK) about how people spoke and behaved at the time. “Gurinder wanted me to get the accent and intonation right. It was painstaking, but I enjoyed it,” the actor says, adding that she loves to play characters that lets her portray a gamut of emotions. “As actors, we are chasing the excitement and contentment that comes with a perfect shot; that’s why you choose to become actors,” she says.
Huma says it was fun working with British actors Bonneville and Gillian Anderson. “Hugh was interested in India and Indian politics. We spoke about [his TV show] Downtown Abbey and Hindi films, especially Mughal-E-Azam (1960),” says the actor. “Of course, they kept teasing me about the song-and-dance routines in Hindi films. And I stood up for our industry,” Huma says, laughing.
The actor is also happy that Indian actors no longer play stereotypical or insignificant parts in Hollywood or British movies. “I promised myself that I won’t go to another country and settle for less. I am happy being in my country and with the work I am doing here. I won’t go out and play second fiddle to anyone,” she says.
When asked about actors such as Irrfan Khan, Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone, who have made a name for themselves in the global entertainment industry, Huma says they’re an “inspiration” to her. “They have paved the way for all of us and put India on the global map. What they have managed to do is not easy,” she says.
However, the actor admits that she has “a long way to go”. Speaking about the different opportunities now coming her way, the actor feels this is just the beginning. “I am a bit Zen about these things. You should just keep working,” she says.