Working with maestros

Kalki Koechlin

Kalki Koechlin   | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K

Kalki Koechlin talks about her new film "Waiting", experience of working with Naseeruddin Shah and her wish list as an actor

With veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah, she shared only a solitary scene, albeit an important one, in the unconventional film That Girl In Yellow Boots. Four years later, Kalki Koechlin, who strikes a fine balance between mainstream and parallel cinema, is doing an entire film with the senior actor, who is seen as an institution by many in the film industry as well as outside.

The 31-year-old actor, who did not allow her French descent and limited knowledge of a language widely understood in India to come in the way of playing unusual characters in out-of the box Hindi films, says she would be seen opposite Naseeruddin Shah in Anu Menon’s upcoming venture Waiting.

And how has the experience been working with the gifted actor?

“The experience of working with Naseeruddin Shah has been great, gratifying. I am a big fan of his. We worked briefly in That Girl In Yellow Boots but now that we are doing an entire film together it feels amazing.”

Working with Naseeruddin Shah, who comes from a strong theatre background, has given Kalki an opportunity to observe how the NSD alumnus does his homework, the mental preparation for each shot. Observing the modus operandi of the seasoned actor must have paid dividends.

Though Kalki has been in the film industry for seven years, she agrees working with him has been useful.

“Of course, Naseeruddin Shah is such a talented actor. He goes out of his way to get into the skin of the character. He cares about the truth of the characters, truth of the story. He is deeply concerned about the final picture which would be seen by the masses. He wants each character to look realistic and authentic. He has this habit of questioning everything around him. Why this person is doing this, why that person is doing that. Making sense out of everything is his main concern before he eventually delivers his shot.”

Shah’s eagerness to know the background of his character and those around him has apparently rubbed off on Kalki, who says she also started probing and questioning the filmmaker at every stage.

“Every two weeks I would be on Skype with Anu, who lives in London. We would discuss a particular scene and then she would redraft it.”

The actor seems comfortable working with actors and actor-turned-filmmakers, who come from the unpredictable and difficult field of theatre. This can be assessed from the fact that her debut film Dev D, a critically acclaimed one, was made by her now estranged husband Anurag Kashyap, who as part of Jana Natya Manch did street theatre.

And now the actor is doing Love Affair directed by Soni Razdan, who polished her theatrical skills in the U.K.

“I met Soni in theatre and have seen her performances in plays. She is a trained actor and like me, she too studied theatre in London. We are already rehearsing and reading for the film which is based on a true story. The film is about the Nanavati case. So it involves going through newspaper articles and research papers of 1959. I am looking forward to this film,” says Kalki.

Biopics interest the actor and she has a wish list of famous personalities she would like to portray on celluloid. “I would like to play Missionaries of Charity founder Mother Teresa.” Congress president Sonia Gandhi is another role she would love to essay, but she says it is “too early to make a film on her”.

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Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 8:33:25 PM |

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