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    Kalki Koechlin on playing a disabled girl in Margarita, With a Straw and battling misconceptions

    Out of the box is a phrase that suits Kalki Koechlin. From playing a prostitute in her dA�but film, Dev D, to mainstream cinema, indie films and theatre, this talented 30-year-old now adds to her offbeat offerings with Margarita, With a Straw. The film, which premiered this September at the Toronto Film Festival, is about a teenager with cerebral palsy (CP) who evolves into an independent girl exploring her bisexuality. Inspired by director Shonali Bosea��s own experiences and the life of cousin, Malini Chib, who suffers from CP, it gave Koechlin a role she could sink her teeth into. More from the actress:

    The script was original, honest and real. And getting the physicality, although very intimidating, was exciting for me as an actor. Ita��s the kind of role you get once in a lifetime and that you grow immensely froma��both as an actor and as a person.

    I spent a lot of time with my directora��s cousin, Malini, and worked with her physiotherapist and speech therapist. I also did a body workshop with actor Adil Hussain. Then I read a lota��books like Marion Stantona��s Understanding CP, Malinia��s One Little Finger, and watched movies like the Korean film Oasis and My Left Foot. I also YouTubed people with CP, from comedian Josh Blue to actress Maysoon Zayid.

    I stayed in the wheelchair, in character, throughouta��so that the physicality would be something organic, not something I was thinking about
    all the time.
    I never thought about people with disabilities partying and having fun. So silly of me to assume that. Clearly they are like anyone else, with the same needs.

    I thought I was very comfortable with my body. But having to go nude is a totally different thing. You have about 10 people in the room watching you, and you have to repeat the scene over and over. It was a vulnerable place to be.

    Shonali wears her heart on her sleeve; shea��s an open book. Without her inputs, Laila would not be the character she is.

    Therea��ll be people whoa��ll be shocked with the film but there will also be those whoa��ll find it interesting.

    Ia��ve just signed a film called Waiting by Anu Menon, with Nasseruddin Shah. Then therea��s Soni Rizdan’s film, Love Affair.

    Margarita, With a Straw is scheduled to release in February 2015.

    After hours
    Beyond acting: Ia��d like to direct a play.
    Director watch: I want to work with Vishal Bharadwaj. Hea��s amazing.
    Last film: I really enjoyed Haider.
    Fave genre: I love all genres. Comedy is the most challenging as it requires incredible timing. I also love biopics.
    Style statement: Mercurial!

    a�� Surya Praphulla Kumar


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