Huma Qureshi. Pic/Yogen Shah
It is an exciting time for female artists in cinema, believes actor Huma Qureshi, who says there has been an interesting "shift" in the way storytellers are approaching women characters on screen. According to the Huma, known for films such as "Gangs of Wasseypur", "Badlapur", "Monica, O My Darling" and OTT shows "Leila" and "Maharani", female actors are now keen on playing well-rounded characters. "In recent years, we are seeing more such (women-centric) films, the new term is female-led films. For me, it is not the female-led films that are creating a sense of empowerment. Today, when I read a script, the character of the girl is not just contributing towards the hero's journey or is not someone waiting for the war hero to return home. "Rather, we think why can't a girl go on the border? So, that shift in the way we are approaching stories, storytelling has come about.
There are many other colleagues of mine, who are saying give us more to do," the 36-year-old actor said here on Friday. She was participating in a panel discussion on 'The role of media and entertainment in empowering women'. The conversation was part of a special segment 'Her Story, Her Voice' organised by Netflix and the National Commission of Women. Huma said Alia Bhatt's "Darlings", a dark comedy, and the 2020 drama "Thappad", headlined by Taapsee Pannu, are some of her recent favourite films that broke the stereotypes in terms of storytelling "When I saw that film ('Thappad'), I was like, I wish I had done the film but Taapsee did a wonderful job and Anubhav (Sinha, director) sir directed a beautiful film," she said. The love and appreciation "Thappad", also starring Pavail Gulati, Kumud Mishra, Dia Mirza, and Ratna Pathak Shah, received from audiences made her happy. "In a country where domestic violence is quite prevalent to talk and fight about, one 'Thappad' in itself and we know how conventional theatrical business runs, like who will watch this film?
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This is a bundle idea and this is how people talk. But the film to come and to do well at the box office, it gave me a lot of heart," she added. Citing the example of Quentin Tarantino's 2012 movie "Django Unchained", Huma said in the film Leonardo DiCaprio plays a white guy, who hates black people, but actors sometimes pick such dark characters to send across a message. "As an actor, sometimes, you are given something to do which is problematic and it is a personal choice. I am offering a perspective. I was watching the making of 'Django' and he (Leonardo) said, 'There was a moment where I had to spit on my fellow actor, and I couldn't do it as it was disturbing, humiliating another person on the basis of his colour and his race. "'But it is also generational racism that is going on and what the film is trying to address.' He chose to do the film because an actor of his stature doing it would create a conversation around it. So, sometimes it can be used to an advantage." The Delhi-born actor also spoke on the importance of having more representation of women at work places to create a safe environment. "We need strong, powerful women. We try in my company to have as many numbers of females in the crew as possible, for the safer environment it is. That is the fact... A lot of us don't speak of sexual harassment because we don't want to be that girl. If there are more women, they will be able to relate and take action," she said.
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