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Q&A | Huma Qureshi

After the overwhelming response to her portrayal of Mohsina in her debut feature Gangs of Wasseypur, Huma Qureshi was seen in Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana. Her next release is the supernatural Ek Thi Daayan. The Delhi girl, who discovered her passion for acting in college through theatre, also has action film D-Day and Dedh Ishqiya coming up. Edited excerpts from an interview:

What attracted you to a supernatural thriller like ‘Ek Thi Daayan’?

Producers Ekta Kapoor and Vishal Bhardwaj, a star cast not seen before (Emraan Hashmi, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kalki Koechlin), a new talented director (Kanan Iyer), wonderful script, lyrics by Gulzar and Vishal Bhardwaj’s music—with this team of creative people it was a no-brainer really. I was attracted to the genre as well as the package.

What’s your role in the film?

The film is set in contemporary Mumbai. I play Tamara, magician Bobo’s (Hashmi) romantic interest. Things change and he begins to question the past and present. The story is very much like the fairy tales and folk tales of witches and daayans that we have grown up on culturally, but with a contemporary spin.

You are also working with Madhuri Dixit in ‘Dedh Ishqiya’.

I am having a dream run, working with people I either like or admire, like Madhuri Dixit. She is beautiful, fun, lively, real and down to earth. We had a great time working together. I am also working with Irrfan (Khan) and Rishi Kapoor, along with Arjun Rampal, in Nikhil Advani’s D-Day. That’s an exciting, slick and edgy film in which I play a RAW agent. All the roles I am doing are diametrically opposite.

Are you choosing the films or are they choosing you?

It’s a bit of both—films I want to do and film-makers wanting to work with me. I am flattered that today people are writing or tweaking characters with me in mind. The story and storytelling are most important in determining my choices. It has to move you and entertain you. The kind of work I want to do is nebulous. The compartments of commercial and arthouse are no longer watertight. Today all genres are doing well and interesting writers, directors and producers are putting together exciting projects.

Do you consider yourself a serious actor?

I resent being called a serious actor. I am not serious, though I take my craft seriously and am dedicated to it. Just because you do offbeat cinema, or have come from theatre, people stereotype you as a serious actor. My brother (Saqib Saleem) has gone the YRF (Yash Raj Films)-Dharma route and I have done the kind of films that I have. It’s as much a matter or luck and chance that we are working with the people we are, even though both of us are very similar. I want to be part of movies that move audiences—whether a caper, thriller or action.

Ek Thi Daayan released in theatres on Friday.

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