Pernia Qureshi, best known for styling Sonam Kapoor in the Rajshree Ojha directed ‘Aisha’, has made a stirring transition from being a fashion designer to a Bollywood actress. She will be making her acting debut in director Muzzafar Ali’s comeback film, ‘Raqs’, which is being shot in the interiors of Uttar Pradesh. She plays a tawaif (nautch girl) while her Pakistani co-star Imran Abbas Naqvi is the nawab.
Pernia calls the process of facing the camera an exciting extension of her creative personality. “I’m trained in the classical Indian dance, Kuchipudi, and I have been performing on stage since I was five years old. I’ve always had the confidence of a performer despite being occupied with behindthe-scene activities on a film set,” she reasons.
And how did her best friend react to the news of her becoming an actress too? “Sonam was not surprised as she always knew about my interest in the performing arts. You could say she saw it coming. But please, there’s no competition with her or anyone else,” Pernia laughs. She insists that she has not taken any acting tips from her fashionista BFF. “Muzzafar sir has completely taken me under his wings. He’s the best training school anybody can attend. I’m learning the finer nuances of acting from a veteran, who has given a legend like Rekha one of her best roles in Umrao Jaan,” asserts the debutante, all praise for her mentor. Elaborating on the film, she says that it is a love story set in pre-Independent India, with all the elements of a classic Bollywood film, including extravagantly-picturised songs and the inspired use of language. Does this mean that her passion for fashion will now take a backseat? “It has,” Pernia admits. “For the last two years, I’ve not got as much involved with the styling unless it is a major project. Even on my movie set, I switch off as a designer, my focus is on giving my best shot.”