Huma Qureshi will soon be seen as India’s first popular female home chef Tarla Dalal in the upcoming biopic Tarla. Directed by Piyush Gupta, the film also stars Sharib Hashmi. It is slated to release on an OTT platform on July 7. The Free Press Journal caught up with Huma for an exclusive chat. Excerpts:
A still from Tarla |
Being a foodie yourself, how excited were you when Tarla was offered to you?
I was very excited but more than a food film, it is a film about relationships. It is about a woman’s determination for whatever she wants to do and is a story of an inspiring journey.
Since it’s a biopic, what measures did you take to bring authenticity to play Tarla Dalal?
To begin with, I wanted to forget who I am. The idea was not to mimic her but to capture her essence so I tried to be in the character. Since Tarlaji was an iconic character, who is so loved by the people, I watched her cookery shows and interviews. I had an accent trainer with me. As Tarlaji was originally Gujarati but she lived in Mumbai, so most of the time, she spoke like a Maharashtrian. I adopted her facial expressions, the glasses she wears, her teeth, etc. I wanted to physically look like her as I don’t look like her at all.
Was it challenging for you?
We all had to be close to how she dresses. My director Piyush got his mother’s sarees. I even wore a few of Tarlaji’s sarees and her mother’s sarees as well. It was so special for me to wear her own sarees for a couple of scenes. I felt a big responsibility on my shoulders. I recently met her family and they all loved her trailer.
Do you cook in real life? If not, then did you take any cooking lessons for the film?
I didn’t take any cooking lessons but I tried to copy my mother. I have seen her cooking and how she multitasks in the kitchen besides that over so many years.
Is Tarla another conscious film in your career since it’s a female-centric movie?
More than a female-centric film, it is more about the entrepreneur spirit of the country. Tarlaji started the concept of home cooking way before Instagram became popular. Tarla is an important film for both men and women, however, it has a female protagonist. I am not consciously looking for a women-centric film but to play strong and multidimensional characters, who aren’t just an accessory to others.
Since Tarla is straight to OTT release, do you feel it is a safer watch than at the box office?
I don’t know if it is safer or not, I just hope that the film finds its audience. We have made this film with a lot of love which I hope breaks a lot of barriers. I feel for a film like this, home viewing is apt for it. Although, we all love bingeing popcorn in the theatres. Also, we never made this film with any such intent. Tarla is a sweet film that will make you teary eyed a bit and root for its characters. I am a feminist and the film is about feminism minus the aggression that comes along with it.
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