Huma Qureshi known as an epitome for body positivity and her portrayal in Gangs of Wasseypur 2 , Jolly LLB 2 , Dedh Ishqiya is currently garnering rave reviews for Maharani and Army of the Dead.
The Maharani actor spoke to Our Editor Mun Mun Ghosh about her character in the series, Hollywood and her relationship with her brother Saqib Saleem
In Maharani Huma Qureshi plays the role of Rani Bharti, an 'illiterate' homemaker. Her husband is the Chief Minister of Bihar in the 90s. When he resigns owing to his ill health, he appoints her to the post.
D Fashion: ‘Maharani' is rumored to be inspired by Rabri Devi, please shed some light on this.
Huma: In our first communication itself, it was made clear that the show has nothing to do with anybody's life. This is a completely fictional story and there is no commonality with any living person.
D Fashion: What preparations did you undergo for the character?
Huma: I didn't research or prep that much for the show but relied on the script entirely. Playing Rani Bharati is multifaceted, she has various shades associated with her character and that has been a great honour to portray. To get into the skin of the character, we tried on various looks that helped establish the phases in her life. I told my costume designer to send a few sarees and when I turned up wearing them everybody in the crew was so surprised to see me in a 'dirty' saree holding a 'dirty' leather handbag, wearing rubber chappal. Suddenly Rani Bharati came alive because many times your body language changes when you wear the costume. But workshops were really helpful to understand Rani
D Fashion: Any plans of entering politics in near future?
Huma: Never, That's one thing I can tell you with confidence. I have no interest at all.
D Fashion: Your transition from the character of Leila to Rani Bharti?
Huma: As an actor that's my job I guess, transitioning between one character and the other. I think Rani Bharti is far more vociferous and far more outspoken then Shalini from Leila. So I think, just her strength and who she is, despite the fact that she's a rural, rustic woman, who has never really been to school in her life. While Shalini of Leila was very different, she was educated but not really empowered. So Rani Bharti is far more empowered character.
D Fashion: What is your take on women in politics?
Huma: So, In the show Rani Bharti asks her husband as to why did he make her the Chief Minister of a male-dominated government, while asking this question, she is making a much larger political question that why is there not better representation of women and shouldn't they have a say. After all, they are also citizens of this state and this country, and they should have equal participation.
D Fashion: Tell us about a memorable sequence /funny incident while shooting.
Huma: I believe every day was memorable. The day we shot in the tabela was quite memorable, with cows around, wagging their tail, got me quite petrified. But apart from that, I think every day was memorable. The locations were really beautiful and far also shooting in the Jammu assembly was quite memorable. I've never been inside an assembly hall in my life, so I think that was the first for me.
D Fashion: Zack Snyder is in full awe of you, tell us your experience in ‘Army of the Dead'.
Huma: It was a great experience working with the whole team, I believe the best thing was that I was no different from anyone else on the set. The Army of Dead is so much about representing diversity. The environment was like we wanted to learn about each other's cultures. We wanted to know more about each other's work. They also made me cook for them, so we went hunting for Indian spices and I prepared chicken for everyone and It was all about knowing each other better. Once, we were travelling with an Indian cabbie. He recognized me and mentioned that he saw me in the Bollywood film, Jolly LLB that also featured Akshay Kumar. He then began showing songs from the film on his phone. Nora Arnezeder who was travelling with me was like ‘Huma, you can dance so well'. So, it was great to work in such a setup and discover each other's cultures and bond.
D Fashion: Your favorite co-actor/s?
Huma: I really don't have any favorite co-stars, but I think people are really enjoying, whether it's been Amit Sial or Soham or Kani or Aashiq Hussain, any of these actors, they just bring so much of themselves to the character. However, I love the whole female friendship and camaraderie with Kani's character and I think that brings out such a beautiful thing between both the women. So I really hope that if there's a season 2 to really explore that element of their friendship.
D Fashion: Do you and Saqib continue to evolve together in the industry?
Huma: Yeah, I always turn to him to be my confidant, to be my venting person, like my punching bag, whatever you want to call it. He is always there for me with some advice. He's the younger one but I would still say he's the smarter one in our relationship.
D Fashion: Last but not the least, OTT over mainstream cinema?
Huma: OTT versus mainstream cinema, I mean one can't really choose one or the other. It's like saying that just because people can now order in, whenever things open out, people will stop wanting to go out to a restaurant. I think both are important and it makes us human. of course, we don't know when theatres will reopen in India, hence we have to really sort of be reliant on platforms like Sony Liv to entertain us. Also I'm really happy about the kind of stories and the kind of content that is coming out, I think that's really incredible. So I think both would thrive and ultimately it will be a big win for the audiences because they'll have so many options to choose from.
Maharani is now streaming on SonyLIV, India's first premium video on demand (VOD) service.
Operating in SVOD mode at $5.99 for a month, $29.99 for 6 months or $49.99 for an annual subscription, viewers can purchase their access SonyLIV online or via in-app purchases. Subscription gives viewers in the GCC access to 70 popular shows, 1,500 movies and more from the rich content library available. across UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain.
For more information, log onto https://www.sonyliv.com/