Huma Qureshi on ‘Leila’: “How long will you be rescued by the knight in shining armour?”

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Huma Qureshi who will be seen in a new Netflix series ‘Leila’, opens up about being in a female-centric role, and feels the days of having a male hero have long gone.

Reported on DNA India, Qureshi essays the role of Shalini, a mother who tragically loses her daughter and goes in search for her. Questioning if the narrative of the story would be different if a male actor had portrayed this role, Qureshi said, “I don’t know. That’s the question you’ve to constantly keep asking…But for me, it was absolutely enriching. I think it’s enough now, how long will you be rescued by the knight in shining armour? At what point can you start being the superhero in your own life?”

Qureshi who highlights the issues of inequality, added, “But where are our role models? Where are people who look and talk like us but are yet (not represented cinematically)? We don’t have enough of those. Hence, as an actor, as a woman it was liberating.”

Sharing her excitement, Qureshi says ‘Leila’ will appeal to all, “No matter which part of the world you’re from, you’ll find something to identify with. That got me excited…”You are greedy as an actor and the greed is endless. You want to work with different people and learn from their experiences, you want to be a better actor and a better version of yourself. That’s also what resonated with me.”

Speaking about the preparation involved for her character Shalini, Qureshi revealed the process she underwent, “I used to do workshops back in the day in college during my theatre days but I hadn’t done that in a while so it felt good to be connected. It felt like how I was when I was doing ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’. That feeling of being raw, of not being afraid, not knowing what your angles are, what looks good on you and all of that. It really felt like that.”

Co-director Deepa Mehta, Shanker Raman and Pawan Kumar, Mehta also helped Qureshi with ensuring her “emotional journey” was right for ‘Leila’, “When she (Deepa) is shooting, she’s also an actor while obviously keeping in mind other departments. She demanded that from me and I loved that. All actors liked to be pushed because we are lazy or we tend to become lazy because it’s hard what we do. We try and conserve our energy. It isn’t a conscious thing but it just happens. But she really pushed me.”

‘Leila’ is based on Prayaag Akbar’s book of the same title and released earlier this week on Friday 14th June.

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