A new face to enter Bollywood: Pernia Qureshi
Meet Pernia Qureshi, the Bollywood debutant, who is foraying into the glamour industry with Muzzafar Ali’s, ‘Jaanisaar’. This girl who is a trained Kuchipudi dancer and has been an influential personality of fashion Industry would be seen donning the role of a courtesan in her first movie. So, let us know about her life which seems to have the best of every aspect:
A dancer to a fashion entrepreneur to an author and then finally, an actor, how did your career take so many twists and turns?
I did not plan my career at all. I am a creative person and I just went with the flow. I think, in life, it is important to be open to opportunities and try new things.
So, acting was in your plan?
Deep inside, probably, I wanted it but consciously, I never thought of taking up acting as a career.
Picture Credits: Sunny Mathews
Was it surprising to get such a big chance on big screen?
I was not taken aback when I was offered the role. I have been a performer my whole life and I see movie as another form of platform to express myself.
I was little concerned about the fact that if I could do justice to the character the way director wants it to be. However, Muzzafar Ali showed a lot of faith in me and encouraged enough to make me confident to take this project up.
You’ve been associated with big brands even in fashion industry, so is it your habit to be the best or its sheer luck?
I always aspire to do my best with all the work that I do. I think being the best comes with a lot of hard work and dedication. I am a perfectionist and I always think I can do better.
You’ve been compared with Rekha, does that bother you?
I took the comparison as a motivation and an inspiration and worked really hard to own the role.
Was it hard to own Lucknow’s dialect for the movie?
I am from Rampur, UP, so, there are some similarity in cultures of Rampur and Lucknow. Thus, I didn’t find any difficulty to own the character. Shooting and living in Lucknow was real fun. People are really nice, the food is yummy and people know how to enjoy life. They take it easy and very artistically.
Talking about your role in the movie, what was difficult for you?
Portraying emotions; wherever I was required to be really emotional I would take my own time to get into that room. I couldn’t just go and do it. I have a controlled personality and do not show emotions easily. I don’t let anyone see my weaknesses.
And what commonality you found between you and your character?
She is modern in thinking, speaks her mind. She comes from a loving family and very passionate.
You don a role of courtesan; did you have to unlearn Kuchipudi to own Kathak?
While learning Kathak, I realised that there are some things which unknowingly become a part of you. My master would always say while training me for Kathak that I have a neck like Kuchipudi. So, I was constantly trying to change my entire posture but neck would unconsciously dance in its own way. So, I started to concentrate on neck and make it right.
I don’t think you can unlearn anything. I tried my best to pay attention to what I am doing because I have to keep a little control on my moments.
How would you describe your entire acting experience?
This is an experience I would not trade for anything.
Were your parents okay with your decision of acting?
As long as I was healthy, happy and good at studies, they encouraged me to do anything. I have ridden a horse, learnt swimming then dancing and then stuck to it. My parents are quite liberal.
What you think is common between dancing, acting and fashion designing?
Dancing helped me immensely to be in front of camera since it made me confident about being in front of people and to perform looking right into their eyes. Also, both are a big medium of expression.
As far as fashion designing is considered, there is not any particular similarity between dancing and designing. However, they both are creative processes that require meticulous attention to detail and solid time commitment.
You also have an online-designer store, tell us about it?
The idea for Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop came about right after I did Aisha. I had just graduated college and I was very keen on starting my own business. I felt there was a huge gap in the market for a luxurious online boutique selling Indian designer wear, hence we launched the website.
Since you are also a designer and a stylist, did you get a chance to design for your own self or style yourself in Jaanisaar?
The costume designer for Jaanisaar is Meera Ali and since she is so talented I knew I was in safe hands. Of course, I gave my own inputs when it came to choosing jewelry and other smaller details.
You also wrote a book, tell us something about it?
My book, Be Stylish, is a fun style guide that is catered specially towards Indian girls. It breaks down style and how to dress in very easy categories and is meant to be a guide to help look one’s best.
At the end, what would be your style-tip for the youngsters?
My style tip would be to understand your body type and dress for your shape. I think if one dresses for their body shape then have the battle is won in looking stylish!