'Just as success is not real, I believe failures are also not real.'
'It's just like opinions of people who don't really know you.'
Kalki Koechlin lives her life the way she wants to.
She doesn't mind taking up smaller roles or performing at corporate events.
While she played a free-spirited woman in Gully Boy, her character is on an emotional roller coaster in the Web series, Made In Heaven.
"For me, success is not about becoming more famous or richer. For me, it means consistency -- keep making good content, being relevant and so on. I do believe in success, but not in the conventional way," Kalki tells Rediff.com Contributor Ramesh S.
You have always impressed us with your onscreen characters. What is your thought process when you sign a project?
You choose for different reasons at different times in your life.
There is a gut instinct when you read a script, where it can make you excited and you can feel that in your stomach.
Sometimes you do a character because it is different from what you have done before, and so has a challenge for you.
Sometimes it's the platform, where you can trust the directors and writers.
So it's never one magic reason why you do something. It's a combination of what's happening in your life.
For instance, if you talk about Made In Heaven, I didn't read the whole season. I read only (my character) Faiza Naqvi's part.
I know Zoya is making a good story, and is an excellent director.
How was your experience playing Faiza Naqvi in Made in Heaven?
Faiza Naqvi is recently divorced from a difficult marriage, where she was beaten up by her husband. She is now having an affair in a rather vulnerable and emotional state.
I was in a miserable state (while playing it) because it's an emotional character.
She runs through a lot of emotions inside her and I became very tired playing this character.
When I look back, I am glad because it is a powerful character.
She has strong therapy scenes where she keeps going to a therapist and all the truth comes out in those scenes. That is one of my favourite parts!
While Faiza Naqvi is an emotional character, you played a contrasting character in Gully Boy. How do you maintain a balance between such characters?
Most of the prep happens when you are reading the script.
Many questions come up at that point, and after getting those answers from your director, you start prepping for that character.
When you get into styling your character, there is a certain way that character dresses, certain habits, and so on. We form all this beforehand.
Of course, some characters are more challenging like Laila in Margarita, With A Straw because playing someone with that disability is very different from a normal day-to-day life.
Otherwise, you just make a list of those quirks and habits the character has. Just imagine a day in the life of this person, and then simply get into that character's life.
Made In Heaven explores homosexuality in a remarkable way. It does not stereotype the way Bollywood does.
Homosexual is just an added factor in Made In Heaven. For instance, Arjun Mathur plays a gay man, but he hasn't stereotyped the character.
Blaming Bollywood for society's problems is like blaming the mirror for reflecting.
Art will reflect what society does and what we consume as audience members is what will be there.
If we keep watching those stereotypical kinds of movies that project homosexuality in a different way, if we keep putting our money there, such films will be made.
If you want to change that, you as an audience need to choose your content better.
You need to choose what you consume better.
What do you want to watch as an audience?
Make an effort to watch an alternative film.
Sonchiriya is an alternative story that comes in a strong film category, but the theatres are empty.
Who is choosing to watch such films? It is us, as a society.
How do you rate your journey so far?
I do all sorts of things; sometimes I do theatre, sometimes I do a monologue for a corporate event.
Sometimes, I do a Web series or a short film or a feature film.
As an actor, you practice your craft in many different ways.
Some things will be seen by more people and get more popular, but that doesn't stop our lives in between those big commercial projects.
Our lives continue and it is very important for an actor to keep practicing the craft.
A lot of actors worry about their screen time, but you don't look at the length of a role. How secure are you in that manner?
Yes, it can be trying sometimes when you wish for a bigger part.
At the same time, I am so busy with other things.
Even if I don't have other work, I pick up a script and direct it in theatre.
I am not that kind of person who waits for six months for something to happen.
I don't work like that.
I need to keep working, from the financial and mental perspective.
Are you the kind of actor who does not chase success?
Success is different for different people.
For me, success is not about becoming more famous or richer. For me, it means consistency -- keep making good content, being relevant and so on.
I do believe in success, but not in the conventional way.
My real criticism comes from the people who know my job like directors and writers who really see my work.
Just as success is not real, I believe failures are also not real. It's just like opinions of people who don't really know you.
I don't have any work.
I just finished an experimental film down south.
I am doing a transgender workshop, performing my fairy tales monologue, and doing other stuff as well.
I did a one-piece called Printing Machine. When I was performing that, hardly 10 to 20 people saw it.
But when I put it up on a digital medium, it went viral.
That's great and you can do that, but that doesn't mean you cannot continue doing such things.
I still go with my fairy tale piece, which most people haven't seen, to events or corporate events.
It's about the choice you make eventually. For instance, comedians don't want to put out their work on social media, but then they don't have a game.
They need to keep their life going, and so it depends on what you are doing with your career.