Last week,Kalki Koechlin,with her tongue firmly in cheek,and a deadpan expression to match,featured in Its Your Fault,a video which satirises the prevailing perception that blames women for rape incidents.
Since the beginning of her career,she has shown a penchant for venturing out of the box,and has dabbled in a string of activities off screen that push her artistic boundary as well as different facets of her personality.
Even her current calendar is an interesting mix of activities.
Kalki Koechlin left for Sweden to shoot for ‘Jia Aur Jia’ soon after opening the play ‘Colour Blind’ in Kolkata on September 24.
In the play co-written by her,Kalki plays the role of Argentine poet Victoria Ocampo,who was Rabindranath Tagores muse in his twilight years.
In between rehearsals,Kalki took time off to talk about how she balances her passion for theatre with a career in movies. Excerpts from the interview:
Ques: After studying theatre at Goldsmiths,University of London,how did your transition to movies happen?
Kalki: After completing my course there,I worked in the UK for a year to pay off my study loan. When I moved to Mumbai,I knew I couldnt survive on theatre alone. So I did commercials and some odd jobs,till ‘Dev D’ happened. After ‘Dev D’ and ‘That Girl in Yellow Boots’,I did not want to be stuck in a box of playing dark characters. I wanted to do to roles which are juicy and meaty.
Ques: Even though you started your career with indie cinema,you have been part of some successful commercial movies such as Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani (YJHD). How do you view both these worlds?
Kalki: I view one movie as completely different from the other,not so much indie and commercial. Thats because,at the end of the day,the story and the characters matter to me. A movie like ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’, which the masses have enjoyed,has given a different kind of success. My next two movies ‘Jia Aur Jia’ and ‘Margarita with a Straw’ are not the usual Bollywood commercial films.
Ques: After working with your husband Anurag Kashyap for some years,you seem to have established your own individual space in the industry. How did that happen?
Kalki: Its made possible by sheer hard work. Anyone who comes from the theatre background generally tends to put in that much more effort. I have done that also because I love my work.
Ques: Have you moved away from Anurag Kashyaps banner?
Kalki: I’m a fiercely independent person. I dont want to work with him unless we have an interesting project at hand. We care about each other but do not impose our opinion each other as both of us can be very stubborn.
Ques: You entered the film industry when the movement for new-wave cinema was about to gain momentum. How do you perceive the changes that have come about since then?
Kalki: Its encouraging to see small films working at least working in comparison to their budgets making profits. Its also great to see all kinds of actors making it to the forefront of new wave,actors who are unlikely heroes,who dont fit the commercial mould but have the charisma to carry stories.
Ques: You have written That Girl in Yellow Boots and also some plays. How much time are you able to give to your writing these days?
Kalki: Not much. I dont call myself a writer. Im an actor,who sometimes writes. I have written a play that I would like to direct at some point,though I have no idea when Ill find the time. I will probably write full-time when I am jobless.
Ques: You started your acting career in theatre. How often do you escape to it in between movies and other assignments?
Kalki: Theatre is my gym. It keeps my acting muscles in shape. I try to stay in touch with theatre six months on average.
Ques: Is there a particular kind of character or role you would like to play?
Kalki: I have always wanted to play a historical character,because Im a history buff and there would be so much to draw from. Also the pressure to do justice to the character would weigh much heavier than if it were a fictional character. I like some amount of pressure,it brings the best out of me.
Ques: You seem to be at ease on ramp. How seriously do you take fashion?
Kalki: As an actor,we have to dress up and I love that.