Deccan Chronicle

I look a certain way and will not merit certain roles, says Kalki

Deccan Chronicle.| Puja Talwar

Published on: August 31, 2023 | Updated on: August 31, 2023

Kalki Koechlin manages full-time mommy duties while achieving a content balance in life, work, and relationships

If anything is suffering, it is her relationship with her partner, photographer, Guy Hershberg, Kalki says with a laugh. (Image: DC)

If anything is suffering, it is her relationship with her partner, photographer, Guy Hershberg, Kalki says with a laugh. (Image: DC)

It’s been a busy month for the actor, with promotions for 'Made In Heaven' Season 2, and the theatrical release of her film, the critically-acclaimed Goldfish. But Kalki, who has shifted base to Goa, looks relaxed and reveals that she is thoroughly cherishing the time spent with her daughter Sappho. "I love this phase; she is three and so chatty. I cannot wait to get home to her," she says happily.

Recently, her daughter accompanied her on a shoot and was very happy to see that ‘Mama looked like a mermaid!’ Kalki shares with amusement, adding, "She has not seen my work obviously, but has some concept of what I do, though it is far off the mark."

Mom’s guilt is for real, says the actor ruefully. "It is a real hard balance and you feel you are not doing enough. I think, what happens is you become very clear about your priorities; it is now much easier for me to say No! Earlier, I would keep working, doing something or the other, whereas now I am very clear that beyond this I cannot stretch myself and it is an easy decision to make. If I have been working two to three months in a row, I cannot do another project. I have to be home; the balance has to be struck," she explains.

Her partner

If anything is suffering, it is her relationship with her partner, photographer, Guy Hershberg, Kalki says with a laugh. "When I get back, he has to go to work, since he also travels for work to Israel. So we see each other for three days, and then he is gone for three weeks." But there’s an upside to that too – "It is good, in the sense that we miss each other and it’s like meeting each other newly each time, so that’s good," she shares.

Kalki says she and Guy have struck a fine balance between parenting and their professions, "I am lucky that my partner considers my career as important as anything else. Also, we always have to remember our kids never do what you tell them to do, they do what they see us doing. They see empowered, happy parents, they will be happy empowered kids," she says with a smile.

Her roles

Professionally it’s been an equally gratifying phase. Her role as the anxious other woman Faiza Naqvi in 'Made In Heaven' Season 2, came across as real and relatable. "We saw a lot more courage in her and beyond her insecurities, she is also ready to fight for certain things. She is a woman who will fight for love, her baby and work. She is an artist and is someone guided by her soul," says the actor.

And Faiza is in sharp contrast to Anamika, her character in 'Goldfish'. She plays a daughter who turns caregiver for her mother (Deepti Naval) who is suffering from dementia, even as she tries to find her own identity as a British Asian. "I have never had to care for a parent to the degree that my character does. But as a full-time mom, you realise that it’s only a different kind of caretaking. It takes all your energy; you never have a set routine – I could empathize with that because I was going through that during the shoots. But the identity crisis my character is going through, that’s opposite to me. Anamika does not acknowledge her Indianness, whilst I have spent half my life trying to get people to accept me as Indian," she says with a grimace.

Born in Pondicherry to French parents, Kalki says the duality of her heritage and upbringing has always been in the foreground of her creative expression. "I write about these things and now am much more confident and comfortable saying I am Indian and have stopped explaining myself."
She accepts that there will be certain characters that will never come her way because of her looks. It has never been a concern, she stresses. "I look a certain way and will not merit certain roles. But I think the range is more flexible now; OTT has introduced so many more writers and so many kinds of stories that go beyond the hero-heroine kind of narrative, so there is room for everyone."

Her choice of projects is an interesting mix of commercial masala entertainers and art houses. 'Margarita With A Straw' is offset by 'Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani', and 'Zindagi Milegi Na Doobara' is followed by 'Waiting'. "One has to strike a certain balance, you have to keep working and be smart about the work you choose, so that people will watch it when it is out. At the same time, I have grown up doing theatre, and do a lot of that. So I am interested in meaty roles and finding things that challenge me, and am glad I can do both." she says.

Relationship now with Anurag Kashyap

Kalki, her daughter, and Guy were seen at Anurag Kashyap’s daughter, Aaliyah’s engagement. Anurag’s Goldfish premiered. Post-divorce, their rapport grew. Time, therapy fostered close friendship. Kalki anticipates future scripts, will star in 'Kho Gaye Hum Kahan'.

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