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22 January 2018

âœMarriage again? No probably not.â â“ Kalki Koechlin

“Marriage again? No, probably not.” – Kalki Koechlin

You just can’t keep Kalki Koechlin out of the headlines. More recently she hogged the limelight by bagging Special Jury Award at the National Awards for her stunning act in Shonali Bose’s Margarita With A Straw. Lately, she even received a personal letter from Melinda Gates (wife of Microsoft owner Bill Gates) appreciating her poem on violence against women. On personal matters, her alleged link-up with Farhan Akhtar has got a lot of attention as well. She refuses to even acknowledge the rumour, “Noooooo comment!” she says with an edge in her voice. She’d rather concentrate on more relevant matters like her films and the causes she stands for.

Speaking about her National Award win she says, “It’s a validation of my ‘Indianness’.” Kalki has been fighting a long war on people who just don’t believe she’s Indian. She might be of French descent but she’s an Indian at heart. She adds, “I’m born and brought up here. The National Award endorses my national identity.”  Her portrayal of Laila, a homosexual with cerebral palsy in Margarita With A Straw has won acclaim. She says, “Even the conservative aunties in my building appreciated the film.” She moved around in a wheelchair for six months to prepare for the role. And she even got to kiss a girl. “Whether it’s a man or woman, it’s equally difficult to kiss in front of a crew of 20 people watching you. It makes you pretty conscious,” she laughs.

Kalki has always been vocal about social causes. “You come across so much inequality and injustice, once you step out of your air-conditioned car. Some people might work for an NGO, some might donate money… people have their own way of contributing. But since I’m an artiste, writing or performing is my way of talking about these issues,” she says. She also believes the whole feminism debate should refocus on equality between the sexes. She says, “We need to break the myth that feminism is about male bashing.” She takes social responsibility seriously. That’s why she chose to divulge her own experiences with child abuse. The idea was to create awareness so that women don’t stop from coming out in the open. “I never wanted to share my own story because it would’ve just received unnecessary publicity. But I wanted girls and their families to talk so that no abuser can get away with it,” she asserts.

She’s averse to talk about ex-husband Anurag Kashyap. She believes the matter was laid to rest a few years ago. She does share her view on relationships though. “Relationships are like an egg that you need to carry carefully. And, be it emotional or physical… infidelity is infidelity. If someone admits to it then it’s probably easier to forgive,” she says. She advises women to stay strong and independent even when they’re in love. And she believes relationships need time, something actors find hard to manage. “In a regular job you have weekends to spend time with your family or loved ones but we don’t enjoy that.”


Perhaps, that’s why she’s lost faith in the idea of marriage. “Marriage again?” she rolls her eyes. “No, probably not. It’s possible to live with somebody without getting married. Marriage is all about ownership.” While she seems disillusioned with the idea she does say, “You can never say never though.” Marriage or not, Kalki is yearning for motherhood. But she’s not too sure about the possibility of a child without a partner. “I don’t know if I’ve the strength to be a single mom. I’ll need a supportive partner for sure,” she says. She does admit that it’s tough being a single woman and at times she has to rely on her rude streak to get her message across. “Recently, a guy was hitting on me all night and he was drunk. So by the end of it I told him to put a pack of ice down there,” she laughs.

She also doesn’t like the fact that India has an obsession with white skin. “Beauty has nothing to do with fairness. I know dusky people who look stunning,” she says. She also faces her fair share of stereotyping as a ‘foreigner’. But she was raised in Pondicherry so Kalki has a solution to the problem. “I start answering them in Tamil just to prove a point,” she says. The firangi obsession escalates on her trips to Goa. She reveals, “Even when I used to visit Goa with my school friends the drug dealers there would ask me if I needed drugs. They’d just focus on me and not on my Indian friends. That frustration of being considered an outsider has always been there.” She admits to have grappled with her identity all the time. “I feel Indian because I’m born and brought up here. But at the same time I love the French influence. I’ve grown up watching French movies. I converse in French with my mom,” she says.

She’s a veritable book lover. She recently finished reading the Norwegian bestseller A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard and Raghu Karnad’s Farthest Field: An Indian Story of the Second World War. “I enjoy non-fiction, biographies and poetry. I liked reading Steve Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson,” she says. She was also impressed by this year’s Oscar winner Spotlight.  “I wept through the film,” she adds.

Kalki has a bit of a reputation of being an intellectual. “But I’m just a fun person. I was closest to my character Aditi in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. I was a tomboy while growing up. I don’t take life too seriously,” she explains adding, “It’s important to laugh at yourself.”

She has plenty of reason to smile when it comes to her career. In the offing are Konkona Sen Sharma’s directorial debut A Death In The Gunj, Ayush Raina’s12-part web series Smoke, Howard Rosemeyer’s Jia Aur Jia, Nicholas Khargonkar’s Mantra and Soni Razdan’s Love Affair. Her immediate release however is Anu Menon’s Waiting, alongside veteran Naseeruddin Shah where she’s playing the role of a married, social media savvy Mumbai girl. Now that looks like a full platter.


One-night stands: If you’re single and ready to mingle then it’s great.

Kinky sex: If it’s done in the right circumstances, then fantastic!

: Alcohol is also a drug. Excess can be dangerous. I feel even fast food is an addiction. It creates a chemical imbalance in the body

Same sex marriage: I always root for them!

Article 377: I hope we can accept homosexuality. It isn’t our business who someone choosesto love.

If not an actor: I’d have done criminal psychology.

Choice for a hypothetical lesbian encounter
: Charlotte Gainsbourg

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