Huma Qureshi is not new to the Indian web space. After Leila, she is back with another series Maharani, a political potboiler set in Bihar. This will be her second project in quick succession. She was recently seen in Zack Snyder’s zombie film Army of the Dead. She opens up about grasping the right dialect, doing fewer projects and the difference in the functioning styles of Hollywood and Bollywood.
“I can easily pick up a dialect if I hear it for 2-3 days. I consider myself a fairly decent mimicry artist. Subhash Kapoor, who has also written the show (Maharani), is very good at this dialect. The other writers are also from the same region and they have a grip over the nuances. We also did a two week workshop in Mumbai and that helped a lot. I did a similar accent in my first film—Gangs of Wasseypur but this one was harder and more authentic,” says Huma.
Huma says she is quite selective about her characters. “I think actors are a bit neurotic and they like to put themselves in uncomfortable zones. What happens in our industry is that the people want to see you in roles similar to what they liked you in. So, I remain very careful that there could be a gap between my projects but I shouldn’t repeat myself.”
She adds, “I never aspired to be a part of the rat race because you’ll remain a rat even if you win. Why do I need to work more? What do I have to prove? Where do I need to go? By the time my career ends, people should take a look at my filmography and say that I have done different roles. What’s the point of doing four films in a year where I can’t even change my hairstyle because continuity will be compromised?”
How was the experience of working in a big Hollywood film? “We finished Army of the Dead at the end of 2019 but the post-production was delayed due to Covid-19. We shot Maharani last year in between lockdowns. I got a call from Subhash sir when the first lockdown happened and then the first Zoom narration happened. At the end of 2020, we shot in Bhopal, Mumbai and Jammu. It was a miracle to shoot from inside the bio-bubble. So, we shot differently but both the projects are releasing together.”
She further says, “I have done all sorts of films—big budget ones, song sequences everything, but an actor’s job remains the same that he or she has to deliver between two takes. I don’t think beyond that. The one difference, however, is that in India we could do 2-3 projects simultaneously or can meet other commitments, but in Hollywood all your dates for a particular period get blocked. That’s why you have to be clear about the projects you take up.”
Maharani will stream on Sony Liv.