'Grey characters interest me'


Having carved a niche for herself in tinsel town, Kalki Koechlin is amongst those actors who believe in entertaining the audiences on their terms.

From Dev D to Shanghai, Kalki’s inclination has been towards off beat cinema except when she played a role in Zoya Akhtar’s Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara opposite Abhay Doel.

Just seven films old Kalki wants to be original and portray realistic characters. In a candid chat with Metrolife, Kalki reveals her fondness for grey shades, theatres and her distancing from archetypal Bollywood movies.

“Today off beat cinema is trying to be commercial. Directors don’t want to a make movies which nobody wants to watch. They are changing their tastes in order to please everyone and to reach out to audiences. For me, movies which have an essence of originality matter. They can be low budget, commercial or even offbeat which do not aim to cover a huge section of the audience,” says Kalki, who was last seen in ‘Shanghai’.

Though the film received a lukewarm response, it does not least disappoint the actress.
 “Shanghai was made for a definite audience. Though it was not a commercial hit, it was critically acclaimed at Toronto and Berlin festivals. It was clear from the beginning that we were not making a blockbuster but the opportunity to be part of such strong films is just once in a lifetime,” shares Kalki.

In her quest to do justice, Kalki tries to infuse life into reel characters. Starting her journey with Anurag Kashyap’s Dev D, Kalki has done more movies with grey shades. Be it That Girl in Yellow Boots or Shaitan, Kalki has never hesitated in playing negative or villainous roles and has been successful too. “Grey characters are not something I look out for but they interest me. It is difficult but I enjoy playing them. Characters need to be relatable while the story should have a vision. Only then does a movie work out,” says Kalki.

The 39-year-old actress’ finesse comes from her education in theatre from Goldsmiths, London. Before entering Bollywood, the actress has worked in various plays like David Hare’s The Blue Room and Marivaux’s The Dispute.  Her love for acting has not detached her from theatre and she will be once again be seen in Rajat Kapoor’s Hamlet-The Clown Prince. 

“I was always passionate about acting but had no five year plan as such. Bollywood was also not on my mind. While I was doing theatre, movies came along and I am doing that too,” says Kalki. But which is his first love? “Theatre is more of an actor’s playground whereas in movies we are one part of the director’s puzzle.  Both are different and interesting in their own ways. I love both of them,” she says.

The actress will be soon seen in Ek Thi Dayaan where she plays the role of a school teacher and Ayan Mukherjee’s Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani opposite Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone.

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