Spotlight: Kalki Koechlin


Kalki has time and again proven to be the epitome of experimentation, and someone who has maintained the perfect mainstream and offbeat cinema balance in her decade long career. While she has played roles like Leni, a prostitute in Dev D, she has also played Aditi, the coolest friend you can ever have in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. Her characters can whisper as softly and bawl as loudly.

She has completed 10-years in our ever-so-crowded industry where she has managed to create and sustain her own fabulous niche as a woman and an actor of substance. She began 2019 in great style with an overnight hit web series called Made In Heaven where she plays a sensitive friend and painter with a complicated life and of course with Gully Boy, where her reckless and non-judgemental character won hearts and inspired many.

To celebrate this beautiful and wholesome journey of the actor, we have noted a few of her statements that give us a nosedive into her life and career so far.

First things first, the most obvious mistake people make when they talk about Kalki is mis-pronouncing her surname. Here’s how we can correct that.

The real pronunciation is Kek-la.” Not Koklin, Coachlin or Ko-ehlin. Nope.

Born and brought up in South India to French parents, Kalki was always looked at as a foreigner owing to her French accent and white skin. She felt out of place and a pushing need to pretend like she belonged. But in her heart, she was as Indian as it gets.

“I was a painfully shy kid in school… I used to protect myself by being a clown, by making people laugh… That was my way of making friends by not showing my insecurities and what I was really on the inside.”

Her need to roleplay in real life, slowly developed into a love for drama and the stage at school-level. She then wanted to turn it into a career as an adult because she could never see herself doing a serious job. It had to be something creative.

“The one place I could do something and become a character was on stage… and suddenly I was somebody else and it was very liberating.”

She then travelled to London to learn drama and returned with a curious mind and an appetite for telling stories.

“I came back (to India from London) and started doing theatre… I didn’t know where I’m going but I knew that the one thing I was really hungry about was telling stories.”

Today she has her plate-full with characters that stretch from bold, vicious and cold to young, reckless and sensitive. From playing a boss woman in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara to a young girl with cerebral palsy in Margarita With A Straw, there’s a lot she has explored.

Acting is like therapy, it’s like you go into somebody else’s mind, discover things and you feel a lot less distant from people.

She makes acting sound like meditation. She takes a deep-dive into research for her characters and likes to know the crux of it all.

“I feel you have to be ultra-prepared(for a role) and then wait for the surprise.””

She has also continued her love-story with theatre and has acted in, written and produced many plays. “The Living Room” happens to be our favourite amongst the many. Oh and the relatable poems that she belts out like a warrior? They are ought to get you thinking.

But so many years into the creative world and industry, she still faces sexist comments.

“Casual sexism is the worst kind of sexism. That casualness builds and creates a certain frustration and anger which is inexplicable later.”

She recently got a haircut and was trolled for “looking like a boy” on the internet. To which she has to say this…

There is an idea of what “feminine” should be. I didn’t think about my haircut so much… I didn’t have any work commitments and it felt great.

Kalki always speaks about what people need to hear.

“Beauty trends need to grow and change and the only way to do it is to start doing it yourself.”

She’s seen it all, the highs and lows of her life and career so far, and she hasn’t had it easy.

“So through all of this, I’ve learned that the struggle is on-going. It can find you anywhere. But life goes on…”

In simple words, this is who Kalki really is.

“My skin is white and my heart is brown”

Oh and if these statements weren’t enough to make Kalki Koechlin a big deal, here’s another cool story we found on the internet.

Wow. It seems, creativity runs in the blood.