Of luck & link-ups

Of luck & link-ups

It’s ironical that a film starring three actresses who are known to be strong, progressive women with minds of their own, got into trouble with the National Commission for Women (NWC).

Officials of Balaji Telefilms were summoned by the NWC following complaints from a self-proclaimed witch, Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, and angry activists, over the negative portrayal of women and witchcraft in Ek Thi Daayan.

Quiz Huma Qureshi, one of the female leads, on this unanticipated roadblock and she insists that there’s nothing that is demeaning to women or induces unnecessary violence in the film that revolves around a magician, played by Emraan Hashmi, and his journey into the past with the trio.

“I think they are a recent trend and crop up before every major release. In some cases, it is a way of getting mileage and publicity. If they could bring about blanket bans, we would not be able to make a single film, as everything, from a community to profession, and gender is a matter of debate,” she argues.

On the subject of witches, she points out that they have been a part of our traditional culture.


“We’ve grown up listening to stories, invented and perpetuated by our parents to coerce us into doing something we are reluctant to do. They were our boogey-women,” she laughs, refusing to reveal whether she’s the daayan.

She’s also tight-lipped on whether she has locked lips with Emraan Hashmi in the song, Kaali Kaali... The kiss was to have featured in the trailer, till the Censor Board instructed it to be edited out. “This serial kisser tag is a limiting way of looking at Emraan who is a fine actor with a variety of films on his platter. There’s more to him than just this ‘kiss’,” Huma protests, but admits that the tag adds to his mass appeal.

She’s amazed at the craze for her hero, particularly in small towns, where fans chase him on bikes and cars and women blow kisses at him. “With three beautiful women in Ek Thi Daayan, Emraan was spoilt for choice, but to know which one of us got lucky with ‘the kiss’, you’ll have to watch the film,” she laughs.

She reveals that her co-star gives the impression of being a shy guy, but is actually quite a brat, and despite a chilled out attitude, is a absolute professional who is never late on the sets and is always well prepared.

Huma has also been working with another ‘prankster’, Arshad Warsi, in Dedh Ishqiya, along with veterans like Naseeruddin Shah and Madhuri Dixit, whom she has idolised for years. “Naseer saab is a lovely person. I’ve seen all his plays. And Madhuri is equally grounded, a fabulous dancer with a radiant smile, and a fun person on the sets. I was her fan before we started working together, I’m a bigger fan now,” she gushes.

Private joke

The actress is known to be easy to get along with, but if the grapevine is to be believed, all is not well between Kalki and her, following tabloid reports linking her with her co-star’s director-husband Anurag Kashyap who launched her in Gangs of Wasseypur (2012). Buzz is that they are not even promoting their film together.
Huma insists that these stories are nothing but idle gossip and none of them are losing sleep over it.

“It’s become a private joke between us to laugh about,” she asserts, adding that they had consciously divided themselves into two groups to promote Ek Thi Daayan. “Kalki and Anurag are my friends. The relationship is special and nothing can come between us,” she smiles.

She attributes the recent speculations to the fact that her Bollywood debut, Gangs of Wasseypur, turned out to be an epic movie and made her the toast of B-town. “I never imagined that a 30-minute role in a six-hour film would take me to Cannes or win me awards and accolades,” she confesses. “As an actress, I have insecurities.

I don’t think I’m more beautiful or talented than so many other aspirants, but I’m certainly luckier. I have landed films with ace filmmakers like Anurag, Vishal Bharadwaj and Ekta Kapoor. Nine months ago, no one knew Huma Qureshi, now they do, even in far-flung towns. God has been kind. I feel blessed.”

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