Qureshi was paid INR 75,000 for ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ | The Express Tribune


Bollywood actor Huma Qureshi started her acting career with a “dream debut” with Anurag Kashyap’s two-part gangster drama Gangs of Wasseypur which changed her world. However, the gangster film, for which she was “underpaid”, also left her feeling “lost” and “insecure” after its release in 2012.

The critically acclaimed films, starring Manoj Bajpayee and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, brought Qureshi into the limelight, but little did the world how exploited she truly felt. In an interview with Indian journalist Barkha Dutt’s Mojo Story, Qureshi opened up about her film debut and the challenges that followed.

“I got my first brush with success pretty early on. Maybe it was just this enthusiasm of getting out of the house and being (an actor), and then Gangs of Wasseypur happened. By 2010, I moved to Mumbai and by 2012, the film was out, and it became a big hit in India. My world just exploded,” she recalled, quickly adding how little she was paid and how she had no idea that she was one of the lead actors in the film.

Continuing further, she added, “They paid me some INR75,000. That’s it. It was my first film, and it wasn’t a fancy affair. There were no five-star hotels, cushioning vanity vans or an army of people (following you). It was like a bunch of people, who went to Varanasi for three months, shot, and came back. Nobody had any clue what was happening.”

She went on to exclaim, “When it came out, I was like, ‘Whoa! I am the lead in the film? My face is on the hoarding?! Should I have gotten paid more for it? Is this how movies get made?” Despite the confusion, Gangs of Wasseypur was a “special experience” for Qureshi – for all the right and wrong reasons. While it gave her fame, she was left feeling “lost and insecure” after its release, for she was kept in the dark after the film was released and became a hit.

“For me coming to Mumbai, meeting people, doing auditions, and getting a film happened rather quickly and I didn’t have a game plan after that. I was lost in choice. Work wasn’t a problem but finding myself was. I struggled to find my own voice in terms of what kind of films I like to do ot not like to do,” she explained.

Qureshi also opened up on how it affected her confidence. “I was insecure about everything, about myself, how I looked at the work happening. I even started questioning my film choices. I didn’t have anyone to talk to. I had a younger brother in the film business so there was a shoulder to cry on, but no one to help you navigate that situation. But I never thought of giving up,” she said.

On the work front, Qureshi currently stars in the ZEE5 film, Tarla.

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