Kalki Koechlin has always gone the unconventional way as far as her roles are concerned. From her debut venture Dev D to the recently released Jia Aur Jia she has often portrayed strong women oriented characters. With just a handful of films to her creative history the actress will now be seen playing the role of a mother in Rakhi Shandilya's debut directorial venture Ribbon.
The actress says that box office numbers have never interested her. "As an actor it's more about the role than the box office numbers, the appreciation of course counts but then creative satisfaction is also of utmost importance" she states.
You have had two back to back releases?
Jia Aur Jia is a fun film with Richa Chadda and Arslan Goni. It is a story of two friends who are living life to the fullest. With Ribbon I have taken my role to another level. I play an urban mother. It's the story of a family where both the husband and wife are working. She becomes a mother and is excited about motherhood. She doesn't realise that life is not going to be easy as a working mother. Her real journey starts when she completes her maternity leave and then she has to return to her job. It's a today's story where a mother has to go back to work. It's a story about the importance of motherhood and a woman.
You have always chosen complex roles?
Yes it has been complex. I have not been a mother in real life and I had to learn the nuances of handling a baby months before I started working on the film. I love challenges and that's what keeps me going. I look for such roles. It's fun to do the kind of roles that I did in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani too at times. But such roles give me a high. Ribbon is an emotional story but it's very realistic and I loved the script as soon as I heard it. I trained myself so well that I became adept at breast feeding too. When a working mother leaves for work, she stores her breast milk for the child. It was not just about tending or cuddling the baby, there are immunizations and medicines, changing nappies and I learnt all that. So much so that my on screen kid Kiara Soni got attached to me. Kiara is now three years old. I was so attached to the baby that I used to hear her cries 24x7 and used to wake up immediately. The role has taught me a mother's love, her abilities and her courage. I am sure I will make a good mother someday. I will never forget this training.
You have gone through a turbulent relationship with Anurag Kashyap as well?
I have grown after whatever ups and downs have taken place in my life. Such things teach you a lot. Separation from Anurag was a part of my life. Though I didn't want it I had to go ahead with patience and courage. I have become more understanding. You have to understand between life and career and you learn.
Are you open to working with Anurag Kashyap now?
He is no longer my husband but there's no doubt that he is a brilliant director. If he offers me a role why not I will certainly do it.
What is your take on Nepotism?
I never had to bear the brunt of nepotism. My career has been slow and steady. Whatever success I have got I believe that is because of actors, writers, directors and the music director of Dev D Amit Trivedi. I have no connections either from my family in this film industry. Yet I have got enough work and I consider myself fortunate enough for that.
Conventional beauties like Kareena Kapoor, Katrina Kaif,. Deepika Padukone and Anuska sharma are already there where on the other hand there is you Swara Bhaskar, Radhika Apte, who are unconventional beauties…
It's the face of changing Bollywood. I believe I am an actor a performer and not a star. You can call me an unconventional beauty. There was a time when Smita Patil, Shabana Azmi, Supriya Pathak who were also unconventional beauties. Not only Bollywood but the audience accepted them too. Shabana and Rekha are still doing lead roles. I am thankful that artistes like me who have talent are finding work on Netflix, Amazon Web series or on television. So talent has a lot of importance.
You have dedicated yourself to social issues, how do you make time?
I grew up in Pondicherry. I went abroad for studies. Life, society, career, the ups and downs made me socially responsible. I have contributed to all causes and issue to which I could relate to. Sometimes you face bad incidents but you can't do anything about it. You have to raise voice against the wrong. Sometimes I feel therapeutic working on such social causes. I write on these issues too. I am writing plays too and try to express myself.
I am doing Raman Bharadwaj's Scholarship with Konkana Sen Sharma. I have started shooting for Zoya Akhtar's web series. If I don't have any work I look out for work.