Panaji: Actress Kalki Koechlin says that working on Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai was a challenging job as the director pushed her to her limits in the political thriller.
The film, an Indian adaptation of Greek author Vassilis Vassilikos’ famous novel Z, also stars Abhay Deol, Emraan Hashmi and Bengali superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee, and was shot extensively in Maharashtra. Kalki, 28, plays a small-town girl in the movie, who gets involved in local politics.
“Shanghai was a fantastic experience. It was a very intense shoot for four continuous weeks in Latur and Baramati. Dibakar is a perfectionist as a director, he really pushes you to a limit. It was challenging. It’s a political thriller but not a dark film,” Kalki said on the sidelines of the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
The film is currently in post-production stage and will release in January. Kalki, as of now, has no more films at hand and is concentrating on theatre. ”At the moment, I have not signed any film. I am just busy with my play The Real Inspector Hunt. We have been performing at various cities. Theatre is my first love, so much so that I was waitressing in London to pay for my studies
there. An actor’s medium is theatre; you stay in character throughout. In films, you jump in and out of shots,” said Kalki.
The 28-year-old actress debuted with Anurag Kashyap’s Dev D and tied the knot with the filmmaker this year.
“We’ve been together for more than three years. It doesn’t affect our work. We still have a very different relationship at work. Anurag is scared of the actor Kalki, because I am always challenging and asking questions. He is the one asking questions at home where I am the director,” she said.
Kalki has been a part of varied Hindi projects like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Shaitan and My Friend Pinto recently but she is yet to get comfortable with the language. ”I am still translating from English to Hindi in my mind as I speak. The day I become fluent in Hindi, it will open up so many doors for me as an actor.”
Born to French parents and brought up in Pondicherry, Kalki says she is still treated as an alien and her fair skin and accent, which means she can do only a certain kind of roles in films. ”I know my limitations. On one side people treat you specially because you are fair, on the other hand you are treated like an alien. It is something I have to live with all my life. I go to France and people say I have a strange Tamil accent and when I am here people don’t believe I am
Of all the films she has done so far, Kalki says Shaitan and That Girl In Yellow Boots were the most challenging for her. ”Shaitan was challenging as I had no reference point for the role of a drug addict; I had to research and watch a lot
of films. For yellow boots, I had trouble making that character cold and numb,” she said.