#Interviews

Common Sense and Wisdom Is What Matters: Huma Qureshi Talks To SheThePeople

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In  Maharani Huma Qureshi plays the role of Rani Bharti, an ‘illiterate’ homemaker. Her husband is the Chief Minister of Bihar in the 90s. When he resigns owing to his ill health, he appoints her to the post.

She is hesitant because the area of politics is male-dominated. The story which follows tells us how she manages to become an efficient leader despite not having a formal education or prior experience.

The Maharani actor spoke to SheThePeople’s Senior Editor Deepshikha Chakravarti about her character in the series, her relationship with her brother Saqib Saleem and much more. Here are some excerpts from the interview.

Transformation of the film industry for women

Actor Huma Qureshi begins by saying, “In the last 10 years, the world has changed for women. I would be lying if I said, oh there are no problems anymore and everything is great and like there is pay parity and we all get treated the same way or we get equal opportunities. No, that’s not true”. She then continues saying that there are a lot of strides in that direction that have been taken.

“I always say this that there have always been women before us who have done so much and the fact that you and I are standing here today having this conversation, it’s because we are standing on the shoulders of women who have done so much and they have enabled us and given us a leg up to do what we are doing in our lives,” she added.

Relationship with her brother Saqib Saleem

Qureshi said that her relationship with her brother Saqib Saleem breaks the stereotypes of the male sibling being protective. She believes that she is far more protective of him than vice-versa. He thinks her to be smart enough to figure out things. On the other hand, she always watches out because she feels he is very gullible. So she feels she has to always watch out for him, especially as far as the women are concerned.

“So I’m always like, don’t talk to her, okay? She’s okay. We definitely have that role reversal in our relationship. He’s the younger one but I would still say he’s the smarter one in our relationship. I always turn to him to be my confidant, to be my venting person, like my punching bag, whatever you want to call it. He is always there for me with some advice,” she said.

Role of OTT and censorship of content

“I am a big believer that self censorship is the way to go. I don’t believe we need to have somebody telling us what to watch and what not to watch. Of course, it applies to people above a certain legal age. Because I feel we need to definitely protect children from certain violent or explicit content and that goes without saying. That’s the hallmark of any civil society,” said the Maharani lead. She then added that she thinks once we are adults, we should make up our own mind and decision about what we like to watch.

Actor Huma Qureshi on the position of women in politics

Actor Huma Qureshi answered this question by quoting a line from her character Rani Bharati, “Itne mardana sarkar ka mukhya mantri aap humko kaahe banaye?”. This dialogue appears when she walks into a room full of men, who are a part of the cabinet. Qureshi is of the opinion that it is the strength of Rani Bharti as a woman and as a character.

“She is not preachy and for me, that’s actually the highlight of the writing, right? Often what happens is that we think that if somebody has not gone to school or is illiterate, then that means they’re dumb. So we equate like your education level to your level of understanding and comprehension,” she continued.

The actor concluded by saying that though Rani Bharti has not been to school, she is quite bright. Even when she is shown in the political turmoil, she uses her native wisdom, common sense and normal, simple language to communicate her ideas. So, when she asks her husband as to why did he make her the Chief Minister of a male-dominated government, she is making an observation from her common sense.

Moreover, she is making a much larger political question that why is there not better representation of women and shouldn’t they have a say. After all, they are also citizens of this state and this country, and they should have equal participation. For Qureshi, that is the magic of Rani Bharti.