Kalki Koechlin: Actresses holding films without backing of male leads

Kalki Koechlin rw1jbtfx458myua3.D.0.Kalki-Koechlin-walking-the-ramp-showcasing-Neeta-Lulla-collection-at-Blenders-Pride-Fashion-Tour-2013-in-Mumbai--4-Having found her footing in Bollywood by playing unconventional roles since her 2009 debut with “Dev. D”, actress Kalki Koechlin says she is glad how female actors in Hindi cinema are “holding the films on their own without the backing of a male leads”.

Talking about the changes that she has seen for women in Bollywood over her seven-year journey in tinsel town, Kalki said: “I think there has been some consciousness in that aspect. Films like ‘Queen’ and ‘Piku’… We are seeing female leads holding the film on their own without the backing of a male lead.”

“I think that’s a very intelligent point,” Kalki said over phone from Bengaluru, where she was present last week for the Kingfisher Ultra Bangalore Derby 2016.

Does she see women-centric films as a phase?

“Phases and trends happen because there is a need for them and I will be very happy if there is no need for them because women are empowered. As long as women are in need of being recognised, I think this phase will continue,” said the 32-year-old actress.

Kalki, who is active on the theatre front too, has starred in commercial hits like “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara”, “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani” and “Happy Ending”, and has balanced that with power-packed performances in off-beat films like “Dev. D”, “Shaitan”, “Girl In Yellow Boots”, “Margarita with a Straw”, and “Waiting”.

Why doesn’t one see her much more in commercial films?

“I would do more commercial films, if I was offered more commercial films,” quipped the performer, who won a Special Jury National Award for her role as a teenager with cerebral palsy in “Margarita With A Straw”.

So what makes parallel cinema not do as well as commercial films in the country?

The “Ek Thi Daayan” star said that answer lies in the “distribution system (of films)”.

“Parallel cinema or small budget films don’t get the same amount of distribution in theatres. So they get one show a day or two shows a day, whereas a blockbuster film will get seven eight shows a day. So clearly, the options are less,” said Kalki, the former wife of acclaimed filmmaker Anurag Kashyap.

“Until the distribution system… the gatekeepers, who own the distribution system, start giving out more screenings for smaller films, we cannot make the money,” she added.

Kalki will next be seen in the upcoming film “A Death In The Gunj” helmed by her “Ek Thi Daayan” co-star Konkana Sen Sharma, whom she describes as an “amazing director”.

“We (Kalki and Konkana) didn’t interact much during ‘Ek Thi Daayan’ because we didn’t have many scenes together. She is a friend and I know her well… As a director, she is very sorted… She is very specific…So, yeah, she is quite an amazing director,” Kalki said.

“A Death In The Gunj” also features Ranvir Shorey and Tanuja. The film traces the journey of five individuals who are on a holiday.

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