Huma Qureshi from India on portraying diversity in Hollywood


Indian actor Huma Qureshi is making his Hollywood debut with Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead which has been released in select theaters across the United States and also recently aired on Netflix. She is one of the many non-white talents in the new film.

In an exclusive interview, she shares her take on diversity in cinema, how Hollywood is different from Bollywood, and more. Qureshi rose to fame with his Bollywood film, Wasseypur Gangs 2 directed by filmmaker Anurag Kashyap.

Qureshi says she was not treated any differently from others and was an equal on the set of Army of The Dead. “The best thing was that I was no different from anyone on set. The Army of the Dead is so much about diversity (representation). The environment was like we wanted to learn more about each other’s cultures. We wanted to know more about each other’s work. “

She then goes on to share an anecdote from when they were filming for the movie. “We were once traveling with an Indian taxi driver. He recognized me and mentioned that he saw me in the Bollywood movie, Jolly LLB which also featured Akshay Kumar. He then started showing songs from the movie on his phone. Nora Arnezeder (who was traveling with her) was like ‘Hmm, you can dance so well’. The film’s producer previously told Screenrant that it was very important for them to ensure a diverse cast. Deborah Snyder had said they saw no reason for the film to have an “all white, all American cast.”

She adds, “They also made me cook for them, so we went on an Indian spice hunt and I made chicken for everyone. It was all about cultural exchanges and I was not treated any differently. It was about learning and discovering each other’s cultures.

Qureshi also shared her take on how the entire cinema ecosystem is biased against women. “This whole system is dominated by men. The films were written by men and designed for the male gaze. Yes, we are going in the right direction. Now better roles are being written for women, they are better represented. But the women before us have worked hard to make sure we stay where we are now. We are on their shoulders and it is our duty to make things better for the next generation. “

She declined to talk about her role and her new movie, insisting “people have to watch it” instead. However, she shared her joy at being a part of the project. “It’s a huge movie and I’m just happy to make a small part of it. It was huge for me to work with Zack Snyder on a project like this. The film has been released in select theaters in the United States and will soon be available worldwide, on Netflix. Working on the film was a different experience for me. I didn’t meet Zack Snyder until the program started. We reached 15 days before the shoot and had this workshop. We called it the zombie workshop. Before that, I had video and phone calls with Zack, we had these email conversations, but we didn’t meet. It was a different experience for me. The environment on the sets was also very new to me. It was a very democratic organization. I was not treated any differently from others. We were all equal on the sets.

“It was unusual to see everyone working alone. As Indian actors, we are so used to having our own team. Right after my first film, I had my own hairdresser and stylist. I missed it a lot, you know, having your own entourage. The only person on the Army of the Dead sets with any assistance was Dave Bautista. There wasn’t even an umbrella man. Zack Snyder was handling the camera himself. The first time I saw him he was running around doing things on his own and wearing a white shirt. My obsessive-compulsive disorder kicked in and I thought “this shirt is going to get dirty.” “

The actor will soon be seen on a Hindi-language webcast directed by Subhash Kapoor, Maharani. The show will be about an uneducated woman who takes the system and patriarchy when she is forced to take over the presidency of a chief minister of an Indian state. “It was very difficult for me to work on this one. I think it’s easy to play a character who knows things. It’s difficult when you need a portrait that you don’t know. Knowledge, wisdom, or whatever you can call it, is reflected in the eyes and expressions. It was difficult for me to do it right. I just hope people like my job. “


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