Tough lessons learnt the hard way

Versatile actor

As an actor who mingles with the crowd and speaks her heart out over issues that irk her, Kalki Koechlin states she doesn’t understand what people mean when they refer to her as ‘unconventional’.“Does it mean that I have white skin? Does it mean that I look different? Does ‘different’ mean ugly? I haven’t understood if people are insulting me or complimenting me so it really doesn’t matter,” says Koechlin being candid about her journey so far.

Over the course of time, she has taught herself to be “less candid” as she used to be earlier and lets her “work speak” for herself. But isn’t her choice of work also ‘unconventional’? “As an actor you are hungry for work and Dev D was the first film that came my way where I was offered the main role. For me it was very exciting. I’m not somebody who is looking how to make it to the top in Bollywood but be an actor who wants to act till I’m 90 years old.”

In the desire to do so, she keeps looking for work that will “challenge, push and improve me as an actor”.

“When I don’t get work for myself I write a play,” she admits informing she doesn’t like to crib about how the world perceives her. “The world is extremely unfair unfortunately but I think you have to pave your way as much as you can.”

Though her transformation from playing an elite girl in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara to the spunky Aditi in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani might appear smooth, Koechlin admits, “It’s as difficult for me to do a commercial film because I’m not a good dancer. Everything has its own challenges and there is a risk in everything you do. As an actor it’s your job to break your own stereotypes. I don’t do it consciously. All sorts of scripts come my way but there are certain ones that make my hair rise,” says the actor who is all smiles when complimented for her performance in Margarita, with a Straw.

“What challenges me is to look into a mind which is different from mine. As long as I’m not playing Kalki onscreen everytime, I am happy,” says Koechlin just before the screening of Margarita... began at the ongoing Habitat Film Festival.

What strikes is her humility even after receiving praises. “I run away when the film releases,” she shares her secret to remain grounded. “I don’t think it’s perfect,” she says about Margarita... feeling elated that “Salman Khan-audience also liked this film”.

From being a shy kid to a versatile actor, Koechlin has definitely come a long way. Yet she says, “I still sometimes feel like a shy kid. In a social gathering I still take time to warm up to people but I have never shied away from being who I am as a person. Ofcourse, you want to be liked and appreciated by people but for that I don’t compromise with who I am. In between, the playfulness that I have has been there always with me.” Her smile does the rest of the talking.

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