Kalki Koechlin Interview: I would love to do Tamil films as I speak fluent in Tamil!

In an exclusive interview with BollywoodMDB, actress Kalki Koechlin talks about her upcoming film, Ribbon.

By Mohnish Singh - October 9, 2017

Last seen in the 2016 film Mantra, beautiful actress Kalki Koechlin will soon grace the silver screen with her forthcoming film, Ribbon, also featuring Sumeet Vyas. BollywoodMDB correspondent, Mohnish Singh, recently had a chance to sit down with the actress beloved by the audience everywhere as she promotes her movie. In this interview, Koechlin talks candidly about Ribbon, her preparations for playing an onscreen mother for the first time and why she doesn’t want to go behind the camera to call the shots.

Kalki Koechlin Interview: I would love to do Tamil films as I speak fluent in Tamil!
Kalki Koechlin

Q. Tell us something about your film, Ribbon. What is it all about?

A. It’s a film about a couple who live in Mumbai. They are a typical urban couple. They are well educated and so-called liberal. But they are facing a lot of troubles. Firstly, Sahana, my character, is pregnant. Secondly, they have a lot of money issues. They are in debt. They have to look after their aging parents. And now, there is a baby on the way. They are really in a dilemma. The story of the film spans four years, from pre-pregnancy to when the baby is four years old. There are a lot of changes in my characters in these four years.

Q. How was it to play a mother onscreen? This is the first time when you have taken up a role like this?

A. I have never been a mother, so I had to do a lot of research. Well, first I read a lot about pregnancy, so much so that after a point Google started sending me alerts wherever there was something interesting and new related to pregnancy and motherhood. They were sending me almost everything to do with pregnancy. My Gmail was filled with that. So, yeah, I read a lot on pregnancy and post-pregnancy. I met some mothers also. One woman, I met told me that it feels like a truck has been passing through your vagina while delivering a baby. The other woman said that post-pregnancy your vagina feels like a sad marshmallow numb to the world. Then, on top of that, Rakhee (director) had a friend who just had a baby ten days back. It was a month before we were going on floors. So, I was like I want to be there. I want to spend time with her, watching her breastfeed and also how to pump milk because a working mother has to keep the milk in the fridge, how to massage a baby, how to change a baby’s napkin. I became a pro at napkin changing. So, it was hands-on work.

Q. When you started your career in Hindi films, there was a perfect mix of commercial as well as independent cinema in your repertoire. But now, it seems that you have cut out on commercial cinema. Is it a conscious decision?

A. I don’t make a choice on cutting out on commercial cinema. I can choose within the scripts that come my way. I get much more offers from Independent cinema. I also do commercial films. So, when I get more commercial offers, I will do more commercial films.

Q. How inclined are you towards regional cinema?

A. I would love to do Tamil films because I speak fluent in Tamil. I haven’t been offered anything great but maybe next year I might do a Tamil film.

Kalki Koechlin Interview: I would love to do Tamil films as I speak fluent in Tamil!
Kalki Koechlin

Q. A film like Ribbon can find an audience anywhere because it deals with a topic which many people go through in urban areas. Do you think it should be remade in other Indian languages or makers should focus on bringing other unearthed topics to the fore?

A. There are so many stories to tell. I feel you can remake or make your own version of something similar, exploring the specificities of that culture and that language. I don’t know about remakes in general. I don’t have a problem with remakes, but it seems in trend right now. I feel we have so many stories to tell that are not being told. We have enough to talk.

Q. Ribbon is Rakhee Sandilya’s directorial venture while you have been in the industry for long. So, did you give her any inputs in anything during the course of this film?

A. She did ask for inputs, but I did not have very major inputs to give. I had few questions, some technical questions. Just it! Rakhee had done her research really well. So, I did not have to worry about anything. What we really did was some improvisation around the scenes while shooting. Sumeet and I used to read the scene once and then do the scene in our own way, most of the times with our own words.

Q. What, according to you, are the advantage and disadvantage of working with a new director and an established one?

A. The advantage of working with a new director is their absolute conviction and enthusiasm because it is their first project and they have really worked hard on it. There is a reason why they want to make a film. So, that is incredible. When it comes to established directors, you don’t need to worry.

The disadvantage of a new filmmaker, I find, is that they are in awe of their actors. They already have an idea of what you should be. With experienced filmmakers, the disadvantage is that they tend to have the same pattern of working. They tend to be repetitive.

Q. Do you ever plan to go behind the camera and direct a film?

A. No. I can’t. It’s like being a parent. There is so much of work. You have to look after so many things and actors. It is so hard, and you have to sell your house and all of that. It is too much work. I like being directed. I like being told what to do. I like exploring the medium. I like writing. I like acting in theatres. I have directed in theatres. But filmmaking is such a technical thing. It is not something that I can jump into. I would need years of experience for that.

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