Zoya Hussain: “My ‘Mukkabaaz’ journey was a sensory overload…”


Zoya Hussain is making her debut in Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Mukkabaaz’. The actress, who has always wanted to work with the filmmaker, plays a mute character in the film, which is about a low caste boxer’s quest to win over Hussain’s character’s uncle and take her hand in marriage. The film has seen success at film festivals and will now have a full release.

BizAsiaLive.com caught up with the actress ahead of the film’s release this week.


What was it about the script or story of ‘Mukkabaaz’ that most excited you?
I really love Anurag (Kashyap) and all the films he’s done. He’s an institution in himself. The movies that he makes are always the kinds of movies I’ve wanted to be in. I actually have known him socially too. When I read the script, it was an opportunity that I couldn’t mess up or give up because there were so many things that were enticing about it, working with him and the story. So many things were said and unsaid in the script and the part was just great. There aren’t many female roles that are written in the way that Anurag had envisioned this one so it would have been really foolish of me not to jump into it. If it does well then I have the most to gain from it because it’s a part that you can just blossom with.

You have mentioned that your mute character is a great role model. What were the particular challenges (apart from the obvious) that you had when getting into the skin of the character?
When getting into the skin of the character, the most important thing was to fight my own instincts and reactions and curb my own mannerisms, especially. Things like mouthing or the sounds you make when speaking. I do that a lot as a person and I also fidget a lot. So I had to let go of all of that which was challenging.

The film tackles the issue of the caste system which is still prevalent in India. Do you therefore think this film will open up the debate further?
Yes, although the caste system has been abolished, the under-currents and the current are still very much there in society, in all walks of it. I certainly hope ‘Mukkabaaz’ sheds some light on the subject than there already it. It’s set in a particular socio-economic and political backdrop, of course, and it directly and indirectly touches on everything that exists in our society. I hope that holding up a mirror to these things will make people more conscious. They will be able to understand and see very clearly on screen their own problems. Hopefully they will question it.

How would you describe your journey when shooting for ‘Mukkabaaz’?
‘Mukkabaaz’ was wonderland. First of all, you have this wonderful director. There are also people involved who are masters in their own right. To be in that atmosphere is so enriching. You have to be like a sponge and absorb it all. There’s so much to take from it, especially for me as every experience was a new experience. Shooting was also difficult and rough because of the weather and we also shot in real locations; there were no sets of any kind. That in itself takes a toll on you – your mood, your body. I think in this journey, I took the biggest leap because I had the most to learn. Everyone else had been acting for a while. It’s quite symbolic also that my first shot for the film and my last shot were from the same scene. That was amazing. So, my journey was a sensory overload of the utmost enrichment.

You’ve had a dream of working with Anurag Kashyap. Now that you’ve finally done it, what will you take away from the experience?
Well, the thing I will take away is that I hope I’m in all his films (laughs).


BizAsiaLive.com thanks Zoya Hussain for talking to us. ‘Mukkabaaz’ is due for release on 12th January.

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