was originally published on this site
Kalki Koechlin is so sorted she can give you a complex. Her resolve perhaps stems from her very dramatic life. From alleged child abuse, to being discriminated as a foreigner in her own land, to a broken marriage, she has not only survived it all but has emerged unscathed and unscratched. Her smile is angelic and warm. There is no demon lurking in her bright eyes. She doesn’t bemoan the past, nor is she overtly eager for the future. All she’s interested in is today, in this exact moment, in the breath now… She’s got the mojo and she knows it. She is candid and earnest at the same time, not letting a hint of malice hunt her emotions as she flawlessly articulates her thoughts. Presenting the choicest rejoinders from an interesting tete-a-tete…
Tell us something about your childhood…
I was born in a small fishing village in Pondicherry and grew up learning to fish. I went to a boarding school, the Hebron School in Ooty, at the age of six till I was 18. It was an international school. So we had many activities like drama festivals, trekking and outdoor stuff. That’s how I got into theatre.
Who was your favourite actor or actress then?
Julia Roberts! Watching her movies was my favourite pastime, especially Pretty Woman.
What do you consider as the turning point in your life?
Dev D. Before that I was doing theatre and commercials and had no idea that I’d be a Hindi film actor one day.
Does your family watch your films?
They watch all my movies. They’re secretly proud of me but on my face they tell me I need to work hard and be focussed. When I recently got the news that I had won the National Award (for Margarita With A Straw), I called up my mother. Shortly after that I started getting calls from everyone in my hometown. Mom had told everyone about it!
To your credit, you’ve broken the stereotype of a Hindi heroine with your atypical looks…
(Laughs) Are you trying to say I’m ugly? People are beautiful or attractive in many ways. The more we accept different-looking people, the more beauty we will find in our industry.
Being of French origin, what were the challenges you faced?
What doesn’t work for me is the fact that I can’t dance to save my life! And, since I look so firang I can never play a desi village girl. I’m asked why I’m so fair. But that’s in my genes. In fact, I’m always trying to get a tan. I purposely go swimming in the sun. People think I don’t have Indian values. Arre yeh toh baharwali hai they say. But on the other hand, as an actor, I’ve a certain edge. Clearly, something is working for me because I’m still here.
Dev D, Shaitan, The Girl In Yellow Boots, Margarita… Do you have a fascination for dark scripts?
No, it’s what comes my way. I’ve been just as fascinated to do a Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. But I get fewer scripts like that.
So what’s your mantra for success?
It’s about luck and meeting the right people. But later, it’s all about professionalism and hardwork. Your dedication and talent is all that works.
Balancing both theatre and movies… how do you find time for yourself?
I don’t. I don’t have holidays. I don’t get adequate sleep. I guess, I over commit. But now is the time when I have the energy to learn new things and enjoy them. A producer once said that as an actor I had only five years left and I laughed it off. But it’s true .
What makes you so vocal about social causes?
No one person can bring about change. Everyone needs to contribute. Then it creates a domino effect. But I’ve always maintained I’m also human and I make mistakes. Don’t take me too seriously.
Do you agree that relationships are fragile in the industry?
Relationships are fragile everywhere. It just gets highlighted in showbiz. I know many people in other walks of life struggling with their relationships. A relationship is like an egg, which you need to carry carefully. It needs constant attention.
Does media scrutiny make maintaining relationships all the more difficult?
It depends from person to person. Personally, I’ve learnt to ignore rumours surrounding me and focus on my work instead.
What’s your current equation with ex-husband/ director Anurag Kashyap?
If we’re working together I’ll be happy to comment about our professional relationship. But there’s no need to keep talking about our equation anymore. I’ve been making statements on this since the last two years. The best thing now would be not to say anything.