Free Press Journal

“Working with Naseer is like having a ball coming at you”

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Kalki Koechlin, the girl whose stories have people’s rapt attention, whose existence brings a smile to your face… in conversation with Shubarna Mukerji Shu about her upcoming movie “Waiting”.

Talking about waiting, here she’s back with yet another film which will endear her even more to your heart – WAITING. The film is about a young girl whose new husband has an accident that puts him in a coma. It is certainly the greatest nightmare for anyone who has ever loved, how tough was it coping with it in the film?

Yes, there is the portion when she first hears about her husband’s accident that has a lot of heightened emotions, be it fear, shock, denial… but at the end of it all, we are human and what is most important for us, is to have hope and I believe our film gives that. It is all about getting on with life and coping.


While that’s the character she plays, personally how does she cope with issues that pull her down?

Unfortunately, there is nothing that one can do to avoid it – there are always going to be situations and things that pull you down, things that are beyond you. I guess the best way to cope with it is to keep going. Get back the rhythm of life. Don’t ignore yourself and do not even ignore your grief – speak about it, open up, it is very important not to deny it.

When one plays a character like Laila in MARGARITA… it might be one of those once in a lifetime roles. But would she agree that playing someone who can be just another girl around the block sometimes makes it more difficult to get into the character?

Frankly, I don’t think anything can be tougher than the character I played in MARGARITA… It required a whole different kind of dedication. Getting into it, getting the nuances of the character was very tough. However, while physically there might have been many things that I had to keep in mind for the character, I believe the emotions were something that was common. Given the situation, I might be able to relate to the same things and behave the same way. There are always traits in a character that one needs to incorporate.

Exactly! These traits can sometimes be so subtle that confusing character with self might become an issue…

Why is it such a bad thing to incorporate nuances from yourself in the character? I frankly don’t see the harm. Also saying that physically the character would be similar is like saying that all the people in Mumbai are the same. It is not like that, every character we play is individualistically different from another. For instance, when I got into my character for WAITING, I had to observe how girls in the social media behave. For instance, my character is a little loud, brash… I needed to know how she would be applying her make-up, how she would prefer dressing up, how she speaks on the phone etc. The point I am trying to make here is that when it comes to playing a character one can never really do enough detailing. Seemingly casual, regular characters can have intriguing peculiarities which are essential to tap.

A fairly regular question but one that needs to be asked – how was it working with Naseeruddin Shah?

Working with Naseer was great; we have most of our scenes together. He is someone who is extremely prepared. Like any other film, we did do the readings together, but on the sets he just changes anything he wants! He would always surprise me and, as a result, I started to learn how to stay on my toes when I was working with him. The fact is that since he is out there to just catch you by surprise, your reaction starts becoming more genuine. It completely changed my perspective on acting as such. I found myself being more alert. I realized that I needed to have the presence of mind when I was doing my scenes with him. To answer your question, working with Naseer is like having a ball coming at you – you have gotta be ready to catch!