Huma Qureshi on a horror roll

The Asian Age.  | Lipika Varma

Actress Huma Qureshi talks about Dobaara, her latest horror film where she’s also sharing space with her brother Saqib Saleem.

Huma Qureshi

Huma Qureshi is a fan of horror films, and she has all the reasons to be on cloud nine as she prepares to release Dobaara: See Your Evil. This would be her second horror flick after Ek Thi Daayan. However, her excitement has compounded twofold since she will be also sharing the screen space with her brother, Saqib Saleem, as they play siblings in the film. 

Horror as a genre has always fascinated Huma. “My brother and I grew up watching horror films. I remember this popular horror show titled Zee Horror Show. We would all sit down to watch that show, which was a prime-time telecast,” recalls Huma. 

Ruminating further on her childhood memories, she adds, “These horror shows would often bring up a sly smile on everybody in our family, who would watch the shows. Although everyone would be scared, we would pretend as if no one was.”

Except a few scattered instances, horror films and shows are rare these days in Indian film and television industry. But Huma always wanted to be part of horror films and why not? “Our audiences really love watching horror films, and we are trying to make family-oriented horror films so that everyone can watch it together,” says Huma. Dobaara is an adaptation of a popular horror film Oculus directed by Mike Flanagan.

The real life siblings Huma and Saqib are for the first time coming together to play brother and sister on big screen. “Yes, it is a new trend and a matter of pride for both of us. We hope that we get even more films wherein both of us can perform together.”

She admits of being unable to be as professional as her brother Saqib. “On the sets, I could not limit my discussions only as an actor. But I must confess, Saqib was quite professional. Throughout the shoot, he behaved very much like any other co-actor.”

Speaking of horror films, Huma could not help but share her tales about her encounter with the supernatural. “We belong to Kashmir and my maternal grandparents would not allow us kids to go out-of-sight of guardians and play. And to dissuade us, they would make several tales about jinns. As kids, we would get really scared. However, till date I have not encountered any of such jinns,” she says.

Perhaps not jinns, but Huma has definitely witnessed the nepotism that prevails in Bollywood. She still considers herself an outsider in this world of glamour. “My father was a restaurateur, so if my brother or I would have been interested in the business, we would have been able to get into it very easily. So yes, nepotism as elsewhere is prevalent in Bollywood as well,” she says matter-of-factly. “However,” she adds, “This help can be attended to and gained only once.” Hinting at individual talent, she makes her stand clear. “Unless you have the right talent and excel in what you do, your existence will not be possible (in the industry),” she says. 

“Coming from outside the industry, I do agree that I have been welcomed with open arms by the industry. I am lucky to get work regularly with good filmmakers and actors as well. I see my growth going upwards. 

“But I am aware of the fact that I still have to work hard in order to be there and constantly be able to get good work. My growth graph has always been going upwards, and I am thankful and happy about it,” she adds.

Elaborating further on her film, she insists on looking at the film as an Indianised adaptation than a mere frame-to-frame remake. “The Hollywood makers have partnered with us. Also the film has an Indian flavour of drama and thrill,” she explains. 

The film has been an enjoyable ride for Huma, more so since she had her dear brother on the sets. Speaking on bonding with her brother, she says, “I am very particular about things, where they are and where they should be. I want everything to be kept in the right place at home,” she says, adding, “I do get angry on Saqib, since often he keeps the switches on, keeps chappals upside-down — these irritate me a lot.”

However, she admits that they also bond very well. “We are great friends. He shares every small thing with me. Whenever we are able to get some time, we sit down with our family and never miss a chance to share light moments,” she says.

Which reminds her how she has not been able to spend enough time with her family lately. “I am longing to take a long holiday. I am hoping that it will be possible after the release of Dobaara,” she concludes.