You know how certain Bollywood celebrities are happy to smile and wave at cameras, but couldn’t be bothered about knowing or discussing anything that goes beyond their film projects? Well, Kalki Koechlin is definitely not one of them. Since Dev.D, she has proved time and again that she is an intelligent actress, and her latest work shows that she has a well-honed sense of the world around her and of the struggles women face across all strata of society. This struggle is encapsulated by the news media for pure sensationalism and does nothing to empower women, she claims in her latest project: a poem called The Printing Machine.
Koechlin recently came together with YouTube fashion channel Blush to recite and perform her poem for a YouTube video. The official description aptly calls it, “a rhythmic and scathing satire against daily broadsheets, magazines, social media and textbooks”.
Koechlin focuses on the coverage of crimes against women and how the printing machine continues to churn out news that ends up “making us fear everything”. She refers to the 2012 Delhi gangrape case, the coverage of which had the machine:
“Chrrring a nation that prides itself in the hanging of four men. Five if you count the suicide bastard.”
And to the case in Uttar Pradesh:
“Chrrr chrrr chrrring a village dangling of two girls, like pin up dolls, upon a tree.”
The media itself is structured such that all these tragedies are just picked up, made into headlines in black and white, and sanitised for readers to consume along with their morning cup of tea.
Then there is the completely opposite side, where glossy magazines focus more on cosmetics and fashion to create “a world we can buy into, a dream we can hang onto”.
Koechlin ends the five-minute long video with a startling prediction, calling these “stories” future evidence of:
"How our great Indian heritage fell to its knees at the mercy of our innocent little printing machines."
The added music, Koechlin’s beautiful expressions and her powerful recital make the video a must watch. You can view it below: