Right from her debut film Gangs of Wasseypur (2012), Huma Qureshi has chosen a unique path as far as her film choices are concerned. She has explored bold roles in movies such as Badlapur (2015) and Dedh Ishqiya (2014). Here, Huma talks about rejecting glamorous roles, believing in equal pay for equal work, and more.
Have you rejected purely glamorous roles in the past?
Yes I have. I believe in content. Just looking pretty next to the hero gives me no joy. I believe I have more to offer than that.
What do you have to say about the pay disparity in Bollywood?
I believe in equal pay for equal work. Gender, race, skin colour or ethnicity should not be the parameters to hire someone, or to decide how much they should be paid. There is an obvious disparity. But hopefully, we are inching closer to bridging that gap.
Several sportswomen have made India proud at the Rio Olympics. Do you feel their recognition has helped empower women in India?
It has, but there is still lopsidedness, in India and the world, when it comes to women’s basic rights and freedom. We are proud of our athletes. A lot of world-class athletes come from Haryana, a state that is known for its imbalanced male-female ratio.
This says a lot about the indomitable spirit of these female athletes and their families. For me, growth and empowerment are about giving a woman a choice. Then, whether she wants to be an Olympian or a homemaker, or she wants to wear a bikini or cover up in a burkini is nobody’s business. We should work towards building a society that can freely offer its women this power.
Is now a good time for female artistes in the industry?
Bollywood has always been a male-dominated industry. But I am happy to be part of this new movement; today women are carrying the weight of an entire film on their shoulders. Films like The Dirty Picture (2011), Queen (2013) and Kahaani (2012), among others, were game changers. Even in regular films, there has been a tectonic shift in how women are portrayed.
Tell us about the NGO you are associated with.
It is called Breakthrough. The organisation addresses women’s rights. They work towards spreading awareness about educating the girl child, female infanticide, etc.
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