Huma Qureshi

Huma Qureshi Opens Up About Life On The Silver Screen, Turning Author, And More

In a light-hearted conversation, the immensely talented Huma Qureshi tells us about her journey in showbiz, turning author, and the exciting plans she has in store for her fans.


Taking Flight

Huma Qureshi

I was born and brought up in Delhi. My father Saleem Qureshi is in the restaurant business and while hospitality is in my blood, I’m the first one in the family to think about acting as a career choice. I started taking part in theatre while pursuing a BA degree in History at Gargi College. I directed, produced, and acted in several plays during that time. Soon, I started getting calls for auditions and decided to move from Delhi to Mumbai. It was time to give it my best shot! Someone advised me to focus on commercials because if one has good screen presence in them, then it’s easier to get noticed by filmmakers. And so, I put all my energy into cracking the advertising space and would often leave my house carrying a white shirt and a pair of jeans, an Indian outfit, and a short, black dress because these were the three standard looks for auditions. My first ad was for a mobile brand with Abhishek Bachchan for which I was paid a grand total of ₹5,000! The same production company offered me an ad for a lakh in just a few months—that’s how quickly it all escalated!

Break With The Best

It was around that time that Anurag Kashyap directed me for another mobile brand ad. And, at the end of the shoot, he told me that he will cast me in his film!

That’s how Gangs of Wasseypur came to me. None of us expected it to attain the cult-classic status that it did. In fact, this ‘underdog’ film that nobody believed in, shaped the destiny of several actors and technicians. In hindsight and as a producer myself now, I realise how difficult it must have been to make that movie because it’s tough to explain your vision to a studio when nothing like that has been done before. Even when my family would ask about the film, I would say, “I don’t know, but it’s really interesting and I’m having a lot of fun”. I’m so happy I got to be a part of it. Beginner’s luck, as they call it!

Digital Darling

Huma Qureshi

In 2019, with Leila, I became the first woman in India to headline her own show on Netflix. It was still the early days of the OTT wave, and I remember people trying to dissuade me from doing it. I had seen how, in the West, there was a lot of exciting work happening on streaming platforms and I wanted to be one of the first people to be riding that wave when it happened in India. It really paid off for me. Not only did it give me the confidence to carry a show on my shoulders, but I also received an acting opportunity in the Hollywood film
Army of the Dead.

Another director I absolutely loved working with was Subhash Kapoor, when we collaborated for his film Jolly LLB 2. He later offered me the show Maharani, which blew me away because I had not seen or come across such a well-crafted and nuanced political drama until then. It got so much love that we just came out with its third season!

Women of Substance

The last few years have been special. A number of interesting filmmakers have shown faith in my ability to pull off different characters. Like Monica, O My Darling, for which the credit goes to director Vasan Bala. He transcended what was written on the page and made it so special. My character Monica is a femme fatale, but I didnʼt want to play her in the typical way, where you end up judging her. In fact, the audience was actually rooting for her! The movie had a great ensemble cast and we made something really good together. Post that, Tarla was my first biopic. I guess thatʼs why it is so special to me. Because we were able to introduce the legendary cookbook author Tarla Dalal and her journey to the current generation. She was the OG female master chef of India with her own cookery show and she did it at a time when it was not cool for women to even go out and work. Itʼs important to celebrate these unsung heroes. And I received a lot of love for both these performances.

Words Matter

You may find this odd, but, actually, it was boredom that led me to write a book! I had an idea for a story, wrote a 10-pager, and sent it to some people who loved it, but felt that a fantasy-fiction film might not work. I am a comic book fan and something stirred inside me and gave me the idea that this could be made into a book. Every morning, I would take a shower and sit down to write. And thatʼs how Zeba: An Accidental Superhero came to be. There is a lot of me in it but thereʼs even more in it that I aspire to be.

Globetrotting On My Mind

Huma Qureshi

Exploring new places and eating local is my way of getting to know a destination. When it comes to different kinds of cuisines, I enjoy Indian, Thai, and Japanese very much. As for my best travel memories, I recently enjoyed an epic holiday in Croatia. Taking a boat out in the middle of the gorgeously blue Adriatic Sea and swimming in the gentle ripples will always be a cherished memory for me. I am a water baby and any place with sun, sand, and great food is my kind of paradise. I canʼt wait to travel more soon.

Staying Skin-Tastic!

I take special care of my skin when Iʼm travelling. Sheet masks are a must-carry item for me on long flights. Itʼs important for me to take off my make-up and use a lot of moisturisers because my skin tends to dry out over time. I use serum and lip balms as my lips get chapped, too. Also, I cannot underline how important sunscreen is when you are travelling. I always put on a layer of sunscreen even when I am indoors. Trust me!

Next Is What?

Maharani 3 is already out. And the films Single Salma and Pooja Meri Jaan will release soon. Canʼt wait for my fans to see them!


Your toughest role?
It’s yet to come.

A dish you can binge on endlessly.
Thai curry and rice.

A memorable book you have read.
Zeba: An Accidental Superhero by Huma S Qureshi, highly recommended by moi!

Three things on your bedside.
Book, water, and supplements.

Adventurous thrills or a ʻrest and relax’ kind of holiday?
Both. It really depends on how my year has been.

Your fashion mantra.
I like to stay comfortably chic.

Your memoir would be titled?
ʻWork in Progress’.

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