Actress Kalki Koechlin may be loved in films like ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaara’ and ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ but it was her soul-stirring performance in the latest release ‘Margarita With A Straw’, that has everyone go gaga about it. In a quick chat, Kalki talks about the film, her upcoming movies and more. Read on…
You are getting great compliments for your performance in ‘Margarita With A Straw’. Which was the best compliment you received?
The best compliment, actually I wasn’t there when I got it. It was at the Talent film festival where I won the best actress award. The jury asked Nilesh Maniyar, my producer, that how did he find a disabled actor who could act so well. He said no she is not a disabled person. She is an actress. The jury actually had to google my name to belive him. That was the best compliment.
Now that everyone is praising your performance, any expectations to win awards?
I don’t believe in expecting awards. My life continues. I don’t think I can wait for an award. Awards are a great bonus though. But my reward is work. National Awards are great and it is a great platform for films. I am so happy that Court won the Best Film. It is made by a very close friend of mine.
Do you think doing a film like ‘Margarita With A Straw’ is riskier than doing a ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ or ‘Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani’?
It is not about what I think but about what the producers and studios think that it is riskier. They are not willing to put in money in commercial films with lots of songs. I believe that you can make a big commercial film with content and the lines are blurring. If you look at ‘Queen’, no one put any money in it and then it eventually became a hit.
In the recent past, lot of women-centric films with great content have been made and they have fared well. We have also seen commercial films with superstars, which have worked well. So do you think men and women are given equal importance now in terms of movies?
I wouldn’t go so fast that we are getting equal importance. I would say we are getting more importance than what we used to. But there is still a long way to go. No we are not equal yet. There are some changes happening. May be my grand-children will live in a world where my grand-girls and grand-boys will hopefully be paid the same. I think it will take some time. But I am glad that the conversation is even beginning. There are little steps. May be I am cynical but it is definitely not happening in the next 2-3 years.
Until recently, films on sexuality were considered a taboo. Do you think this mentality is changing now?
It is again small steps. When we were auditioning for Khanum’s role (The character that played Kalki’s lesbian partner in ‘Margarita With a Straw’), nobody or rather 90% of the people refused it because it was a gay role. A few actresses said that they loved the script but change it… She can’t be gay! So there are so many people who still have that pressure. And it is not their fault. They are having the pressure because of our society. They are scared of getting stereotyped. But the fact that films like these which deal with subjects about which we don’t talk about openly is a great sign.
Films which have actresses play the protagonist are considered unconventional movies whereas when there are actors in the lead, they are called commercial films. Do you think this is a bias?
I have to say that this whole idea of women centric films is completely wrong. We need women to be represented equally with men. But it doesn’t mean that the film has to be about the women. It is just that women shouldn’t be stereotyped. She should be there to forward the plot and not just as a doll or an item. I think that essence is still not figured out. It should not be men vs women. The issue is about showing whether it is a man or woman, we have to show them in the correct light. Films cannot be the bearer of all the change. It has to reflect first in the society and that will in turn be shown in the movies.
Moving on, you will be seen with Gulshan Devaiah in two films – ‘Love Affair’ and ‘Candy Flip’. How comfortable are you working with him?
I am very comfortable and happy to be pairing up with Gullu (Gulshan Devaiah) in ‘Love Affair’ because he is someone who has come from theatre, just like me. We have worked together a lot, we have done many plays, so I am very much looking forward to it. In ‘Candy Flip’ I am working with him yet again but I am not paired up with him. We are not a couple but we are both are co-incidentally in the movie.
Do we see you doing a film like YJHD or ZNMD anytime soon?
Absolutely, as long as the script comes my way.
Is there anything on the cards?
There is nothing on the cards currently. I wish I had more commercial scripts coming my way but I think it will happen slowly.
You are turning to direction in theatre. Tell us something about it…
I am directing a play and I am very worried about losing my hair with all the stress. Actors are such a nightmare. Jokes apart, but I am really looking forward to it. It is a comedy on death, like a dark comedy.
Any plans to direct films?
I think I don’t have the technical knowledge to direct a film. I need to be lot more experienced before I get into film direction.