In the first half of the film she enjoys good screen space with the touching song ‘Kannamma’ which is dedicated to her. “Yes, ‘Kannamma is magical” is how she starts the conversation.
How did Kaala happen? “Dhanush is my friend and one day he called me and said ‘we would do a film together.’ I immediately said yes, but he quickly added, it is not with him, but with superstar Rajini sir. I asked ‘are you joking?’ I feel I am blessed to have been given a chance to do such a lovely film”.
Ask her if she has ever been to Dharavi in real life, and she replies, “No, not really! In fact I live in Bandra, which is not far from Dharavi. I never got an opportunity to go there. It’s a different kind of a world that exists there.”
The actress adds, “We started Kaala’s shoot in the real location of Dharavi. It was last year around Ramzan time when Ranjith asked me to join the shoot where he wanted to can shots with Rajini sir and me. I got stuck in traffic and reached late. I had to walk inside Dharavi at least three kms to reach the location. Rajini sir would silently sit in the vanity van. And the evening times were so crowded. As soon as Rajini sir steps out of his van, people would throng to get a glimpse of him.”
She becomes hyper in talking about playing Patthamadai Zareena, the former love interest of Kaala. “I was happy when Rajini sir called and thankful to Ranjith sir for offering me a beautiful role in Kaala. Normally, girls won’t get such strong roles in a commercial film like this. People might ask why I opted for a matured role for my debut. I feel it’s a lifetime character for me. If I say no to a film of this magnitude, then I am stupid. As an actor, I should be prepared to do any kind of roles and my work should talk for itself.”
Sharing her experience in working with Rajinikanth, she says, “I found him a simple and spiritual person. He is so grounded and when it is every actor’s dream to work alongside of Rajini sir, I was too glad that I got this opportunity. I wish one day I would become like him. And today when my friends send me videos of how people even outside Mumbai with so much verve dancing and singing, especially ladies wearing special sarees and walking into the theatres to watch his film was amazing. That kind of love is very rare and it doesn’t happen to everyone.”
Zareena’s looks were appreciated by one and all. “Yes, the credit goes to Anu Vardhan who did my styling. Zareena returns from abroad but she belongs to Dharavi and hence she designed simple yet elegant costumes.”
Huma thanked Jenny, one of the assistant directors who taught her Tamil to get the perfect lip sync with the lines on the sets. On the tough restaurant scene where she meets her ex-love Rajini she quips, “Oh, it was a challenging scene which was shot in Mumbai with me and Raji sir just 3 days after I joined the sets. As soon as the shooting began, rain started pouring. But the whole crew was helpful and I somehow completed it. Once it got over, I was confident that I could handle any scene in the film.”