While she now has colourful language and a rap song to her credit, Kalki Koechlin says she is yet to learn some Kung Fu
ACTRESS Kalki Koechlin is impossible to stereotype. The 32-year-old began her film career with the award winning role in the film Dev D (2009), and has scripted and acted in the offbeat That Girl in Yellow Boots even as she portrayed the overbearing Natasha in the commercial blockbuster Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara in 2011. Besides the National award, Koechlin made a global statement when she bagged the Best Actress award at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival for playing the rebellious teenager with cerebral palsy, in Margarita With a Straw (2014). One would think she has done it all. “Am yet to play a historical character and bust some Kung Fu moves in an action role,” points out the sassy star. Though we might have to wait for those scripts to come her way, we do get to see her as a “potty-mouthed, fun-loving Mumbai-based Tara Deshpande,” whose world comes crashing down when her husband slips into a coma in the upcoming Waiting directed by Anu Menon, and starring Naseeruddin Shah.
“Though the film deals with the heavy subject of loss and illness, it is the contrast between Tara and Shiv Kumar (Shah) which shows that humans are capable of humour and hope, even during desperate circumstances,” says Koechlin. Apart from working particularly on her looks (“It’s surprising what lining your eyes with kohl and strapping high heels can do to help transform a character”), Koechlin fleshed out her role with Menon and left room for improvisation. Not surprisingly, the Pondicherry-born actress, who recently performed and wrote the poem, Printing Press, which went viral, also has a rap song to her credit in the movie.
Jack of all trades
Into the mix of commercial and off-beat movies, squeeze in some documentaries (her upcoming one about the JNU protests) and then throw in some blogs on disability and sexuality. How does she do it all? “I love exploring unfamiliar grounds. But scripts which allow that are few and far in between and am not someone who can sit and wait. When acting work doesn’t come my way, I find other interesting jobs,” says Kochelin, who directed her first play, Living Room, last year. Though she voices her opinions through different mediums, she clearly states that she isn’t looking for trouble or trying to be an activist. “It’s a natural part of being an actor. It simply enables us to explore humanity, and as a natural progression, question existence.”
Next up is Konkana Sen Sharma’s directorial venture A Death in the Gunj and Pooja Bhatt’s Love Affair. And Hollywood? “Sure, if Steven Spielberg offers me a movie, why not?” laughs the actress. Waiting releases on May 27.
— Seema Rajpal