Meet Kalki Koechlin & check out her mission motherhood

From sneaking out to attend Pink Floyd concerts to winning a National Award, Kalki Koechlin spills the beans on what it is like to soon be a mother, in a Showtime exclusive

She works in Bollywood, does theatre, writes, performs live, hosts her a podcast show and now she’s going to be a mother.

Earlier this week, Kalki Koechlin announced that she’s pregnant with her first child. 

She’s thrilled, excited and can’t stand the smell of chicken. “I also can’t tolerate the smell of cut onions. I used to love ‘bhelpuri’ but it’s not an option for me at the moment. I don’t mind having the onion once it’s cooked,” she says.

The actor is overwhelmed by all the love she’s been receiving, most of them in the offers of ‘ghar ka khana’. “I’ve heard that it takes a whole village to bring up a child, but I feel like I have a community to take care of me.”

She’s also expecting long lectures and free-advises to come her way. Looking forward to having the baby in January, the soon-to-be mother says, “I don’t want to overwhelm myself. My doctor is happy with the way I am progressing in terms of weight. The second trimester is the best since I am not nauseous all the time. I’m sure the next few months will be on ways to deal with backaches,” she says, laughing.

Meanwhile, Kalki will be keeping herself busy with work. She has work left for her upcoming web series ‘Bhram’, season two of her podcast ‘My Indian Life’ and a play at the Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa.

“I’m taking off after that to do all the things mothers have to do — not sleep, breastfeed and trying to stay sane.”

WORK DISCIPLINE

Kalki is known for being a great performer, especially for her most-challenging movie ‘Margarita with a Straw’.

She had played the role of an Indian teenager with cerebral palsy who moved abroad for higher studies. “I chose to be in a wheelchair throughout the film, even during lunch and bathroom breaks. Those who didn’t know I was an actor thought that I was disabled. At night, I would had to exercise to strengthen my back.”

The actor, who enjoys doing homework for her roles, likes working with directors who give her extra-reading and workshops too.

She says, “I get terrified of spontaneity; I feel like I’ll get into the trap of repeating myself. But there’s a credit to that as well. No matter how much you prepare for it, on the day of the shoot, if you are too prepared, it sometimes becomes stiff.”

So has her theatre experience not taught her to be spontaneous? “If things go wrong on stage, you have to improvise. You are live on stage and you cannot do retakes. If given a choice, I would like to prepare beforehand.” But she hates the first few days of shooting. She says that it’s a nerve-wracking experience. “You just don’t know what you’re doing. It usually takes a few days to find your character but then you can’t go back.”

She carries a hard copy of the script everyday. She jots down notes and refers to them often. Kalki says it helps her stay organised and understand the scenes better.

GROWING UP

It has not been an easy path for her. Born to French parents and growing up in Bengaluru and Puducherry, she always had to prove her Indian-ness.

She says, “I’d gone from being angry to giving it back to people in Tamil. But now I don’t think too much about it and smile instead. The insensitivity of being and looking different has firmed me as an actor.”

She uses that attitude to figure out how she can reach out as an actor. She’s thankful for having grown up with that judgement. Even when she was told by industry professionals to change the way she looks, she didn’t pay too much attention. “Everyone has a reason for doing things. My reason for being here was not to be famous. I am happy being a celebrity but I am here to explore human emotion, express and challenge people’s mindsets.”

Talking about life in Bengaluru, she says, “I lived in the city when I was a teenager. I remember sneaking out to attend the Pink Floyd concert. I used to hang out at ‘Indian Coffee House’, go to ‘The Only Place’ for steak and ‘Corner House’ for ‘Death By Chocolate’. When I visit the city now, I am usually at home in Whitefield. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve become old and grumpy. I do love coming to perform at Ranga Shankara though,” says Kalki.

‘I want to live by example’

The actor doesn’t know what kind of parent she is going to be but she wants to live by example than tell the child what to do and not to do. “I want to create a home where the parents are civil to each other, not disrespecting and discussing matters instead of shouting and arguing,” she says.

How to say Kalki Koechlin

Not Kaalki Coachlin or Koklin or Ko-ehlin, it’s pronounced ‘Kek-la’. “I’m used to it now, it’s almost very funny. But here’s how I explain it: ‘Aaj ki nahi, kalki’. If you understand Tamil, it’s ‘Enna kekla’ and in Hindi, it’s ‘chocolate cake-la?’”

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