The critical acclaim for her OTT show “Maharani” has opened doors to interesting work opportunities for Huma Qureshi, who believes she can now headline a project.
Known for movies such as “Gangs of Wasseypur”, “D-Day”, “Dedh Ishqiya” and “Badlapur”, the actor said her work in the digital space has led her to some ”cool” characters.
”I am doing a bunch of stuff on OTT and films, which are strong and well-etched characters. Because of the success of ‘Maharani’, I am getting so many opportunities to shoulder films, which is really cool, fun and exciting,” the 36-year-old actor told PTI in a virtual interview.
Her upcoming slate of feature films include a biopic on noted food writer and chef Tarla Dalal; Dinesh Vijan’s production “Pooja Meri Jaan”; the slice-of-life comedy “Double XL” with Sonakshi Sinha; and Vasan Bala-directed “Monica ”Oh My Darling” on Netflix.
”It is a mix of both films and OTT. In films, there is a remarkable change and a lot of great roles are being written for women. And it is happening on OTT as well. There is an influx of great content,” Qureshi said.
With projects such as “Maharani” and “Tarla”, Qureshi said the aim is to celebrate success stories of women from different fields.
The actor said she found the story of Dalal, known for hosting popular cookery TV shows “Cook It Up With Tarla Dalal” and penning more than 100 cookbooks, quite ”fascinating”.
”We often think of the kitchen as a place of subjugation for women and that this is your place, but how a woman (Dalal) back in the day, cooked her way out in the national and international scene for me is fascinating.
”She became a role model for so many people. She was like any other ordinary woman next door and was not a glamour doll. She was her own person and stayed true to who she was. And that resonated with me,” said Qureshi.
In the SonyLIV series ”Maharani”, the actor essays the role of Rani Bharti, a village woman who is handpicked to become the chief minister of Bihar.
Through the character, Qureshi said, the idea is to speak about women empowerment.
”Rani is a feminist without even realising that she is one. She even hasn’t heard the word feminist and this is true for so many women in India. They are very strong women, who have achieved so much, without understanding the role they are playing in the larger scheme of things.” Qureshi said Rani is a ”classic underdog” character and people will relate to her experiences.
”The simplicity with which she talks about her experiences finds resonance with people. In the show, she says she became a woman CM in a room full of men who are running the government, without realising that she is talking about better representation of women in government and in public life. That is the strength and beauty of Rani Bharti. She is a classic underdog that everyone relates to,” she added.
Season two of “Maharani”, directed by Ravindra Gautam, will see Rani Bharti set to reign and bring fair administration to the citizens of her state.
Even before the release of the sophomore season, the actor said more chapters of “Maharani” have been planned. ”With season two, we know there will be season three, possibly season four or five. The idea is that we are here for a long haul. ‘Maharani’ is a Test series, it is not a T20 match,” Qureshi added.
Also starring Sohum Shah, Amit Sial, Vineet Kumar, Inaamulhaq, Kani Kasturi, Anuja Sathe, Pramod Pathak, and Neha Chouhan, “Maharani 2” will stream on SonyLIV from August 25.