MissMalini: I loved Dedh Ishqiya. I thought it was wonderful. I thought you did an amazing job in it. You’ve done quite a few films now. What was the experience like, of working on this film?
Huma Qureshi: It was wonderful working on this film. It was wonderful working with this cast. I loved it the moment I read the script. I just knew I had to play Munniya and I knew I had to be part of this film.
MM: What was the tough part of being in this film? Any difficult moments?
HQ: Not really, to be very honest. I thought I had a great cast. And they were really supportive. I had a great director. And although I was the youngest and the most inexperienced of the lot, they never made me feel like that. They all, in their own way, made me feel really comfortable on set. I think, if I’ve done, say even 10%, I would credit all of it to the entire team.
MM: I’ve been wanting to ask you, because I was so stunned, when you were slapped by Arshad Warsi in the film. Did he actually slap you, because it really felt like it?
HQ: No, he didn’t actually slap me but ya, the way we did it, it does seem like that but ya, I did get a few bruises and a few scratches here and there, because when you’re acting a scene out, you do get a little carried away. There was one scene, especially, where he had to sort of, put me against the wall, it’s kind of violent. Although, Arshad was as gentle and sweet as possible as he could have been, without taking anything away from the scene, but no, he did not actually slap me.
MM: I have to ask you. I know it’s sort of unanswered, this romance between your character and Madhuri’s character and if there is a romance, because it’s hinted at but never said.
HQ: It’s the just the first week and not many people have seen the film, so ya, spoiler alert. Let me just say this, for the record, it’s a beautiful relationship I share, with Madhuri Dixit’s character in the film. It’s something I don’t think you’ve ever seen before in Indian cinema. It’s something that’s been treated so beautifully. And the way Sethu has shot it and the way Abhishek Chaubey has conceived and directed it, it’s beautiful.
MM: And how scary is it to work with Madhuri Dixit, I mean, must be so intimidating right?
HQ: Scary? It’s amazing! She’s one of the most beautiful women we have and it wasn’t scary at all. She’s beautiful inside out. And she makes it so easy to work with her. I was never conscious of the fact that I was working with a diva. She’s wonderful.
MM: And Naseeruddin Shah, same thing?
HQ: Yes, although I was very scared. He has this serious reputation but he’s a very cool guy. Naseer sir has a great sense of humour, a dry, witty sense of humour. And I think, as we were shooting the film, I discovered he’s a huge powerhouse of talent and knowledge and everything. But he’s also a great conversationalist. In the film, I don’t have very many scenes with him. But I’m hoping I’ll get to do more films with him and more scenes with him.
MM: Our readers always want to know, any pranks? Did anyone prank you on set?
HQ: Arshad Warsi in a movie, of course, there’ll be pranks. He always manages to keep things light. He did try to scare me initially by telling me there’s a secret admirer on set that I had. But he did not know there’s something called TrueCaller.
MM: That’s amazing!
HQ: So, that prank didn’t last very long.
MM: Folied by technology. All these movies that you’ve done now, you’ve done so many films now. Looking back, what are your favourite characters so far?
HQ: That’s like asking me which is my favourite finger. No, I like all of them. I like all of them and I’m not being diplomatic over here. They’ve all been important or all been helpful in the journey or making me the actor that I am today. I genuinely can’t pick a favourite movie or a favourite character. I like all of them.
MM: We just watched the Golden Globes. There’s so much variety happening in Hollywood. I don’t know if you watched that. Now looking forward to your career, what movie would you love to do next? Maybe, a movie example in Hollywood?
HQ: A movie example in Hollywood. They make such incredible films. Maybe a biopic or something like The Great Gatsby. It’s so beautiful. I’m just saying it. I haven’t thought this through. Maybe something original. Anything really. I’ve just begun. I’ve just done 5 films. The world is out there, open. I’m greedy. I’d like to do everything.
MM: Compulsory question. Which Bollywood actor do you want to work with next?
HQ: Everybody! I want to work with all of them.
MM: Tell me a little bit about your outfit. You look stunning. Who are you wearing?
HQ: Surendri. And it’s beautiful. And it’s got Pacman. I love Pacman.
MM: Since you’re answering Twitter questions, are you tech savvy?
HQ: I am on Twitter and I love being on Twitter. I love to know what people are talking about and saying and discussing and all of that.
MM: Twitter Question. What was the best compliment you received for this film and from whom?
HQ: From one of my directors. The director of Ek Thi Daayan, Kannan Iyer and he wrote a very, very sweet message saying, ‘You were right up there, with the stalwarts’.
MM: One lesson you learnt from working with Madhuri Dixit.
HQ: Rehearse more when you’re dancing with her. Like, 12 years, at least.
MM: And your Urdu is fabulous in Dedh Ishqiya. Did you help Madhuri learn the right accent?
HQ: Nahi nahi, maine aisa kuch nahi kiya. I don’t need to help her. She has many many years of experience and is a wonderful actor. I was just worried about my own Urdu. People assume my Urdu is perfect but it’s not. I’m one of those confused kids who can’t speak any language properly and can speak only a bit of Urdu and a bit of Hindi and a bit of English. I was just most worried about my own performance.
MM: Are you doing a film with Shahid? Dekho Magar Pyaar Se?
HQ: I’ve also read it on Wikipedia. I don’t know how to react to it. Is Wikipedia lying?
MM: What kind of work do you want to do as an actor? What attracts you most in a script?
HQ: A good script attracts me the most. It could be anything. It could be something I’ve not played before. It could be the bunch of people who are making the movie. It could be the kind of genre I’ve not explored before. Whatever is on the table, really. I know one thing, I would want to work in a movie that I would want to go as an audience and watch.
MM: Little Huma Qureshi, 9 years old. What did she want to be when she grew up and what would you have been, if you weren’t an actress?
HQ: I was a very confused kid. So, it would be different everyday. One day, I wanted to be a doctor, one day I wanted to ride a road-roller or be a dancer or a just a mother to a bunch of kids. I would always play mother to all my dolls. She was a very confused girl growing up. I’m glad she figured out that she wanted to be an actress and she’s here today.
MM: 5 qualities in your perfect man.
HQ: Sense of humour, intelligence, generosity, a beautiful smile and he should smell good.
MM: So true! Or very false! Are you doing a film with Shahid (Kapoor)? Dekho Magar Pyaar Se?
HQ: Not that I know of. Wikipedia seems to believe so.
MM: Of course, there have been lots of reports about you and Anurag (Kashyap) lately. You two are just close friends from what I know. What do you have to say about this?
HQ: I have to say, read the papers. It’s in the papers.
MM: You and Kalki are friends. So true, so false.
HQ: True. We’re friends.
MM: A message for your Twitter fans?
HQ: Hi Tweeple. This is Huma. And I’m on Twitter. You know my handle. Follow me, write to me. I love to know what you think. And keep tweeting.
Pix: Himani Shah for MissMalini