‘I am like a chameleon’

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‘I am like a chameleon’

We sit down for a tete-a-tete with Kalki Koechlin who was in Dubai for a store visit.

By (Arti Dani)

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Published: Wed 29 Jan 2014, 11:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 7:57 PM

CLAD IN A dress made of Kanjivaram sari material, the vivacious Kalki Koechlin thanked her South Indian lineage for introducing her to six yards of elegance. Part French and part Indian, apart from being a good actress, Kalki is also known for her bohemian dressing sense.

Most famous for her big screen outing in critically acclaimed movies like Dev D and Shaitan as well as popular films like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Kalki was more recently in the news for her separation from her director husband Anurag Kashyap. While both have chosen to maintain a mature silence about the break-up, rumour mills have gone on an overdrive recently with talk of her Ek Thi Daayan co-star Huma Qureshi being the reason behind the split. But Kalki has openly criticized the media’s interference in her marriage by stating it is totally unfair to drag another actress’s name into her marital problems. Unlike many of her on-screen characters, she seems pretty chilled out when she mentions during an interview with City Times on Monday night at the unveiling of Neeta Lulla’s latest contemporary classic collection at AARA boutique in UAE, that she wore a similar sari for her own 2011 wedding to Kashyap.

Here she tells us more about her fashion leanings and why it is not a tough decision to defend her friends and family from the media.

How would you describe your taste in fashion?

I would say I am like a chameleon in my fashion sense as I am constantly changing. I do get quickly bored of my clothes and I am always looking for something different. Comfort usually is a main criterion especially on a daily basis but obviously the job that I am in, you have to have glamour as well. I have an obsession with shoes. I completely love dressing from the feet up so I choose shoes and then accordingly I choose outfits. I have around 50 pairs and I was told that it is quite normal for a diva to have these many shoes!

You are looking regal in this Kanjivaram outfit with a modern twist.

I love that Neeta has done this whole Kanjivaram look for me. I love Kanjivaram saris. I have a huge collection because my mother is from the south of India so she often sends me such saris. I wore a similar sari for my wedding. This is a fantastic idea to modernise Kanjivaram saris and use it in a different way. It is so beautiful and not heavy to wear.

You are one of the few actresses from Bollywood who have openly spoken about issues related to women on various platforms. Do you feel particularly close to this subject?

I would say it is natural for me to talk about it because I am a woman and I know how difficult it is to be a woman anywhere in the world, especially in India. It affects me and anything that I am affected by I will be personally involved in, I want to be passionate about it. There are certain things, which I cannot ignore. When the Delhi rape incident happened, I was so disturbed with it because I was in Delhi when it happened. Then I wrote a blog, these things just come out of somewhere where you need to talk about it. I do want to be part of such dialogues.

You recently blasted the media for involving another actress in your marital problems. Was it tough for you to speak up?

It was not tough at all. It is such a clear thing that it is a media game. Unfortunately it affects us. I am okay if it involves only me but when it starts to affect my family and my friends that is where I need to get my claws out and fight back. Most of the time I grin and bear it because you cannot help it. When it gets to a point that it starts effecting people that I love, I have to fight back.

Break-ups and separations are always tough - do you think you have come out a more mature person from it?

Definitely, I am a very honest person. I like to be honest in my life, so I am not going to hide when I am going through a difficult time and Anurag (Kashyap) is also a very honest man. I think he also is not somebody who will hide what he feels. It will be very clear to everybody what we are feeling.

One of your forthcoming films Jiah and Jiah deals with the subject of female bonding - a topic that Bollywood has not explored much.

Jiah and Jiah is going really well. We shot in Sweden. It’s really a fun film because it is about a road trip with two girls. It’s a chick flick kind of fun movie. It’s a sad thing we do not see movies about female bonding. I was discussing the same when we came out with this idea. When I read the script, I jumped on it. I was like wow, we have films like Dil Chahta Hain and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara that are about male bonding but this is completely a girl bonding film.

You are also playing a character afflicted with cerebral palsy in a forthcoming project. Could you tell us more about the research you have done for the role.

I am doing this film called Margarita with a Straw, which is a very independent film, completely non-Bollywood in a sense. The subject is about this girl who is disabled and in a wheelchair. She has cerebral palsy; it is where your muscles do not relate. Your brain is not able to tell your muscles how to react, so it takes a lot of time to do things. It is a very difficult role. A lot of work and research was involved in taking on this character - six months of training, six months of work shopping with Malini Chib who has cerebral palsy. She runs a center for people suffering from disability in Mumbai. She has become a very close friend now because we spent so much time together. We would go out, watch movies.... It’s been wonderful to have someone like that just walk me through it and help me understand the disability.

Where do you find your comfort zone, in commercial or independent films?

It doesn’t matter to me whether it is commercial or independent. I do not mind either type as long as the film itself is something that stands out. It should be a film that I want to go and watch. It is a character that is most special for me because I need to not repeat myself. I need to challenge myself.

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