Kalki Koechlin's balancing act between work and life
With Goldfish, actor Kalki Koechlin continues to maintain her equilibrium between mainstream and art films.
Kalki Koechlin likes balance, in life and work. Her repertoire comprises a nearly equal number of films from parallel and commercial cinema. For every Dev.D, she has done a A Death in a Gunj; for every Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (YJHD), there’s a Ribbon, and for every Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD), there’s a Waiting.
“I loved being on the sets of YJHD and ZNMD and have great memories. But with parallel cinema, you have a smaller crew and are often shooting on tight budgets,” she says, adding, “Everybody works together and gets to know each other very well. There is a family-like feeling, which is quite special.”
Kalki’s most recent mainstream project is the second season of OTT series, Made in Heaven. Tipping the scales back in place is her new film, Goldfish. At the centre is the relationship between an estranged mother-daughter duo. Kalki plays a London-born woman, Anamika, who returns to her home in the UK after her mother (Deepti Naval) is diagnosed with dementia. The cast also includes veterans such as Rajit Kapur and English actors Gordon Warnecke and Bharti Patel. “What we show is not an ideal mother-daughter bond. The main theme of the film is how they learn to forgive each other,” she says.
Notwithstanding her versatile filmography, which comprises some layered and complex roles, the actor admits that Anamika didn’t come easy. “(Director) Pushan Kripalani’s way of shooting without cuts, and with two cameras rolling at the same time, meant we had to rehearse many times till we got the flow of a scene. I also had to work on an Oxford/Cambridge accent,” she says. Having Naval as her screen partner enriched her performance. Kalki recalls that the seasoned actor would always mumble her lines during rehearsals, saving all her energy for when the camera rolled. “She would not just surprise us, but also herself. It is great to have a co-actor like her because you end up reacting well to their action and emotions,” the 39-year-old adds.
Before hitting the screens on August 25, Goldfish premiered at the Busan Film Festival, followed by screenings at London’s Raindance Film Festival. It is Kalki’s first theatrical release in four years since Gully Boy (2019). Talking about the gap, she says, “Pushan had the script for years, but he didn’t have the money. During the pandemic, when he found a producer, he wanted to start shooting immediately.” Kalki says.
That is not to say that the actor wasn’t keeping busy. Besides shooting for Made in Heaven, she also made her Tamil debut in 2020 with Paava Kadhaigal. The same year, she also gave birth to her daughter, Sappho. Kalki reveals that her recent shoot, over a month ago in Portugal, was the first time she didn’t bring her three-year-old child to set. “It was tough spending 10 days with her, but now she is at an age where she wants to be with her friends,” says the actor, who will be next seen in R Arvind’s Emma and Angel.