Kalki Koechlin, acclaimed actress in the Indian film industry and recipient of a National Film Award, a Filmfare Award and two Screen Awards, is known for her diverse and unconventional roles along with her work in the theatre. She visited Kolkata recently to promote Gillette Venus Razor.
In an exclusive interview, she talked about her love for acting, playing diverse characters and her favourite restaurants in Kolkata.
Q. You have been into acting and writing since childhood and also did your graduation in drama from London.What was it about this field that fascinated you most?
Umm…I don’t know. I was actually a shy kid. To get over my shyness I used to crack silly jokes in social situations. My school (Hebron School, Ooty) organised a theatre festival every year and I used to perform in that. So maybe that was when I first got inclined towards the theatre.
Q. Which films have inspired you or are closest to your heart?
Well there are many films, which have inspired me but the one which attracted me the most is the French film, Les Enfants Du Paradis by Marcel Carne. It was about theatre and mime artists. I am immensely influenced by the works of Charlie Chaplin. I also grew up watching powerful films such as Bandit Queen. All of them made me realise the power of cinema.
Q. You acted in and co-wrote the screenplay for the crime thriller, That Girl in Yellow Boots. How was the writing experience like?
In one word, tough! It’s really very hard to write for a film because it’s such a visual medium and theatre is all about the dialogues. In films there are a lot of added elements, which we can see. Actually the less you say through dialogue and the more you understand the visuals, the better the film is, according to me. I wrote a lot of dialogues but most of them got cut (laughs).
Q. How do you act with so much of proficiency in such versatile roles? Actually there is a lot of effort behind it. It’s like how musicians do reyaaz. They seem effortless when they play their instruments but you don’t think about the daily practise that lies behind that perfection.
Q.Do you only accept films that match your ideologies?
No, not necessarily. I think that an actor needs to be versatile and the whole challenge is to be something unlike you. It makes me more curious to do a lot of research work and understand characters different from myself.
Q. What are your upcoming projects?
have my first web series, Smoke coming up in which I play a Portuguese DJ and it’s all about the Goan Mafia. And right now I am doing Scholarship, which is a Raman Bharadwaj film.
Q. Are you inclined more towards a strict diet or rigorous physical exercise?
No, I find gym boring. I play football twice a week if I am in Mumbai. I swim and do yoga to keep myself active. I eat everything. I try to eat ghar ka khana and avoid processed oily food.
Q. Where do you see yourself in future?
(Laughs) I don’t know. I just want to keep doing good work.
Q. Kolkata is a city for foodies, what is your favourite restaurant here and what are your favourite dishes?
I don’t remember names but I went to some amazing places. What’s that restaurant named after the number, it’s like the name of a road (6 Ballygunge Place)? And I love the Chinatown area (Tangra). I love eating macher jhol, begun bhaja, mishti doi and aloo posto.
Q. You need to travel a lot, so is it difficult to maintain a fixed beauty or hair care routine?
I think it can be. Lack of sleep is the biggest problem. Jet lag is a big problem. But I think you have to be very practical with such things.
Q. What is the one quality you hold most essential?
I try to be relevant.