Huma Qureshi is a critically and commercially lauded actor who has always tried to experiment with different genres, be it horror in Ek Thi Daayan (2013), comedy in Jolly LLB 2 (2017), or a thriller with Badlapur (2015). But her journey, like most people who come from a background that’s not related to films, wasn’t easy. Speaking about breaking through in Bollywood and facing her share of struggles, the actor says, “Everybody has to go through a struggle period, and I was no different. When I came to Mumbai from Delhi, I didn’t know anybody, and all my relationships had to be built up from scratch, including my work relationships. Struggling was hard. I have had to give auditions for every film I had done until Dedh Ishqiya (2014).”

However, the actor says that the ‘struggling period’ never ends. “It never goes away; it’s just that what you are struggling for changes. Now, I just want to do better work. Also, I am still struggling to be a better version of myself.”

Several women from different walks of life have come out and spoken about the sexual harassment they had to face, especially from people in powerful positions. As a struggler, did Huma, ever come across any such sexual predators? “Yes, absolutely,” she says, adding, “There are a lot of people out there who will try to take advantage of you, or are predators in a certain way. Women must stand up and speak out about it. Also, anybody who says that they have been wronged should be supported in every possible manner.”

Not many people know that the Tamil film, Billa II (2012), was slated to be Huma’s acting debut. But, the actor eventually appeared in film-maker Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur (2012). When asked why we didn’t see her in the former, Huma says, “Well, things didn’t work out back then… I would rather talk about films that I did than the films that I didn’t do.”

Now, Huma is travelling south once again, and will next be seen opposite South superstar Rajinikanth in the Tamil film, Kaala. Huma is visibly ecstatic about the project. “Working with the legend – Rajini sir – was an amazing experience, and I can’t praise him enough. He is extremely humble and down-to-earth. We had a very good time shooting in Mumbai and Chennai. I learned so many things about my craft just by looking at him act in front of the camera! He also treated all of us to home-made food while in Chennai. What a man!”