Status: Complicated

She laughs at the thought of doing a typical romantic film.

Written by Dipti Nagpaul D'souza | Published: May 4, 2012 2:16 am

She laughs at the thought of doing a typical romantic film. Yet,Kalki Koechlin — who has acted in films such as Dev.D,That Girl In Yellow Boots and Shaitan — looks at the romance genre as a challenge that she would like to take up. “The glances,sighing,big dreamy eyes that a woman in love is supposed to make; it is all so unlike me. But the fact that I cannot laugh while shooting for such a scene will be fun,” she says with a chuckle.

While her character in Zoya Akhtar’s Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD) as a possessive girlfriend and a geeky,awkward girl in Raghav Dhar’s My Friend Pinto were of a lighter vein,Koechlin feels they still do not qualify as “typically romantic”.

Until such a role comes by,the actress’ resume continues to be dominated by complex characters that explore inner conflict. For instance,her character Shalini in Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai is of a girl born to an Indian father and a foreigner mother,which makes her an outsider in her hometown. “So she is always angry,” she explains. Born in India to French parents and having been brought up in this country,this emotion of alienation is all too familiar to the actress. It is also a thread that runs common through her characters in Dev.D and That Girl In Yellow Boots.

“But Shalini also nurtures idealism and passion as an activist. Driven by these emotions,she gets involved in a situation,” explains the actress,who feels that the character is like her younger self. Koechlin’s character has a romantic involvement with Dr Ahmadi,her on-screen mentor and an ideological political figure,portrayed by Bengali actor Prosenjit Chatterjee. “He was her professor in college and is also like a father-figure to her. He is charismatic and she finds the walls she has built around herself crumbling in his presence. She cannot fathom if it is love or infatuation and in the confusion,she ends up getting involved,” she says.

After Shanghai’s release,the 29-year-old will focus on Vishal Bhardwaj’s Daayan,a supernatural mystery about a magician and his relationship with his past. Alongside,she will shoot for Ayan Mukherjee’s Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani with Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone. “I play an over-the-top tomboy in the film,which is yet again a first for me,” she points out.

Though she does not agree that her role in ZNMD was instrumental in helping her bag the role in Mukherjee’s big-budget road movie,Koechlin feels that such films are helping her expand her audience base. “Most people have seen me in low-budget multiplex films,some of which have been certified ‘adult’. After ZNMD,families and kids have begun to recognise me on the road,” she adds.

Most of the films that she has done so far,have either been directed or produced by her husband,filmmaker Anurag Kashyap or by his friends,such as Akhtar and Banerjee. But the actress emphatically refutes that Kashyap may have influenced their casting. “No one casts an actor until they fit the role. Also,you have to understand that they are his friends and I never hung out with Zoya or Dibakar until I worked with them. Anurag and I have separate personal lives and friends,which is important if we want to make this relationship last,” she says.

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