Huma Qureshi on Rajinikanth’s Kaala: 'I’m glad the gamble to play an older character paid off'

Haricharan Pudipeddi

Jun,14 2018 08:30:13 IST

It’s not every day that we see leading heroines from mainstream cinema play much older characters on screen. However, Huma Qureshi is an exception, and her gamble to play a 50 plus character in superstar Rajinikanth’s recently released Kaala won audiences and critics over, earning her the kind of response she’d never anticipated. In this exclusive chat with Firstpost, Huma opens up on why she didn’t mind making her Tamil debut with an older character, playing Rajinikanth’s pair and being part of a film that raised important issues.

Huma was supposed to make her Tamil debut with Ajith’s Billa 2, but owing to unavailability of dates she couldn’t sign the project. Six years later, her wait to enter Kollywood has ended with Kaala, which she describes as the perfect launch pad. “Over the years, there have been a few offers from the south. But, I’m glad I made my debut with Kaala, and I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my career in Tamil. Ever since the film’s release, my phone hasn’t stopped ringing and neither have congratulatory messages from friends and fans. I’m quite happy with the response, especially with the love I have received from Tamil audiences.”

Huma Qureshi and Rajinikanth in Kaala

Huma Qureshi and Rajinikanth in Kaala

In recent times, Kaala is one of those rare Rajinikanth films where every character had a purpose. From Eswari Rao to Anjali Patil and Manikandan, every actor had his or her moment to shine on screen, and some shone even in the scenes featuring Rajinikanth. In the film, Huma plays Zareena, a character much older than herself. Explaining why she didn’t have qualms about playing an older character, especially in her maiden film in a new industry, Huma said: “Both audiences and critics have felt this is probably the first time every actor in a Rajinikanth film has been given weightage. All the characters have been etched very strongly. Each one of us had a purpose in the film. I really liked my character and I believed in Ranjith’s overall vision. Therefore, I really didn’t mind I was playing an older character. All the love and appreciation I’ve been getting for my role is proof that it has been received very well. I’m proud of accepting this character.”

In a recent interview, actor Pankaj Tripathi revealed he signed Kaala solely for the reason to share screen space with Rajinikanth. Nothing else mattered to him. Admitting that she didn’t want miss out an opportunity to work with the country’s biggest superstar, Huma also said that she was bowled over by Ranjith’s beautiful script. “As excited I was to work alongside Rajinikanth sir, I was equally excited about Ranjith’s vision and how he treated Kaala not just as another commercial film.”

Kaala shines the spotlight on land being an identity for the oppressed, and how their lives are exploited in the name of redevelopment. Huma is in favour of the fact that films should entertain, but she also feels it’s healthy if they also address an issue and raise pertinent questions. “All films should entertain, but some manage to raise some important issues and talk about them; create a dialogue. Kaala is one such film. This is one of the reasons why cinema is also seen as a medium to bring about change and start a conversation. I’m glad Kaala entertained as well made audiences ponder over some issues.”

Also read: How Rajinikanth’s Kaala, Dulquer’s Kammatipaadam tackle poverty and human cost of urban development

Talking about the preparation that went into playing an older character, Huma said she blindly followed her director’s vision. “Initially, I was slightly apprehensive about playing an older character, but since this is a character-driven film and it was an opportunity to work with Rajinikanth. I thought it’d be silly to pass the offer. These kinds of roles come once in a lifetime. It was a gamble to play an older character and I’m glad it paid off. I didn’t prepare much for the role. Usually, I don't like to prepare. I understand the character and follow the director's vision. I try not to over prepare because sometimes it takes away the spontaneity in the performance.”

Huma, who is looking forward to more offers from the south, is not in a hurry to sign more Tamil projects. However, she is looking forward to interesting projects. “It was a wonderful experience to be part of Kaala. I never thought I’d do a Tamil film but Kaala came as a blessing."

Updated Date: Jun 14, 2018 08:30 AM