Covergirl: Kalki Koechlin
KALKI KOECHLIN One of B-Town’s brightest actors gives us a peek at her alternate personality, and tells us why she’ll never have a career in stand-up comedy.
The indie film queen talks about her brand new love for fashion and, why she’s working at a career shift.
So much has changed since the last time I sat down to chat with Kalki Koechlin, back when she was a promising new kid on the block. Fast track to a year and a half later, and she’s done 10 fantastic films, will be playing Tagore’s secret Argentinian lover in a massive theatre production, is making some daring fashion choices (we totally approve, BTW), and is rocking a hot bod on our cover!
The 29-year-old actor chose to tread a path less taken, so how has the journey been so far? “I feel old!,” she laughs. “There are day-to-day changes. I’m learning, realising, and making mental notes of where I need to grow, and how I need to push myself. Also, I’ve become more conscious of the stereotyping that happened with my work.” Does this mean we’ll be seeing her in more commercial roles, like her fun portrayal of Ranbir Kapoor’s BFF in Ye Jawaani Hai Deewani? “Yes! I’m consciously trying to break out of that mould all the time, but I’m also a victim of what comes to me. I don’t get very many typically commercial offers. I definitely want to play more cheerful characters and see the happy side.” And has she ever played a character that resonates with her off-screen? “Yes, in Je Jawaani I play a tomboy who is so similar to me. It’s probably the closest character to my life; not in the sense of what happens in the story, but in how Aditi is. I’m a complete tomboy. Most of my friends are guys, and I’d rather drink beer than wine. They all know me as a big joker.”
I’m intrigued: why has she been hiding this
delightfully fun side all along?! “The thing is, I love the job that I have, the acting part...and I hate the other part, which is the socialising and the celebrity. I guard my energy very carefully, which is why I’m very shy publicly. But with my close friends, I’m a clown!” Any chance of her considering a career in stand-up comedy then, I ask quite seriously. “Oh, I’m not brave enough to try it (laughs)! I don’t think there’s a scarier job than going up on stage and making a whole bunch of people laugh. Also, most of the time, people don’t get my sense of humour. I’m very sarcastic. People think I’m being serious! I think that’s unfortunate...”
But it couldn’t be more unfortunate than the fact that Kalki never gets to spend time with hubby, Anurag Kashyap. “We don’t see each other much! So every two or three months, we take off somewhere. Or we pretend we’re travelling, and actually just stay at home in Mumbai. But it has to happen every few months or we’d go crazy!” The constant travelling and being away from each other must have taken its toll on their picture-perfect marriage... “My relationship with Anurag has evolved,” Kalki explains. “We used to be really impatient with each other. We used to fight a lot, and now I think we sort of understand each other’s pressures a lot more. Earlier, it was very one-sided—one of us would have a problem with the other ’cause one was busy and the other wasn’t. Now we both understand that we have to be patient and give each other time for the work we’re doing. We’ve become more tolerant and have moulded into each other.” Clearly, Kalki has figured stuff out in the relationship department, so what’s the best relationship advice she’s got for Cosmo girls? “You just always have to agree that he’s right! It works with Anurag. He’s so opinionated. It’s like he’s more of a woman than I am (laughs).”
Since we’re talking about ‘girly’ stuff, I’ve got to ask her what caused the very noticeable shift in her personal style. Previously a boho and quirky dresser, Kalki has been spotted in highly stylised
“I’m a complete tomboy. Most of my friends are guys, and I’d rather drink beer than wine. They all know me as a big joker.”
gowns and designer dresses off late. “Fashion has definitely taken a bigger role in my life. Designers have taken a liking to me and I’ve taken a big liking to them. Also, I realised dressing up is a part of my job and you need to scrub up once in a while. I really like Nimish Shah’s clothes; he does very casual, daytime pieces, which are a change from the glamorous stuff that designers in India make. But my favourite designer ever is Sabyasachi. Whenever there is a red carpet event, he’s my first choice.” And what has she been doing to maintain that fabulously toned body (just look at those abs on the cover!) “Honestly, I’m very lucky,” she says in earnest. “I mean, I swim almost every day for an hour in the morning, but that’s all I do. I don’t deprive myself of anything when it comes to food, so I don’t crave anything either.” And her top-secret beauty tip? “There’s this pure organic coconut oil that I use on my face and arms—it’s wonderful! Sure you will stink like crazy but it’s so worth it. It just makes your skin shine and gives you a healthy glow.”
Styling: Aradhana Baruah; Hair & Make-Up: Genevieve Reilly at Artist Factory; Production design: Kavita Thakur and Biswajit Ray; LX 125 Scooter: Courtesy Vespa
Cotton blazer and paper bag shorts, both ASOS; denim shirt (worn inside), Levi’s; stone crystal drop earrings, Curio Cottage; patent-leather sandals, Woods
Double-breasted blazer, Aviraté; denim jumpsuit, Elle; Lennon sunglasses, Ray Ban