The actress talks about her podcast, the culture of sexual abuse, and an upcoming play.
Actress-writer Kalki Koechlin explores the lives of 21st century Indians in her podcast My Indian Life, addressing topics like sexual abuse, caste discrimination, gender dysphoria, body image and victim-shaming through pointed discussions with her guests.
Talking about the emotional journey that is the show, she says, “When talking to real-life heroes, I get very emotional at times. It’s a fact that human interest stories are loved by one and all. I’ve been moved by many stories that I’ve heard, and I’m sure that those who listen to this podcast will not only get emotional – they’ll also learn something from the heart-wrenching tales.”
Talking about one episode that particularly stands out to her, she says, “Tears started rolling down my cheeks when I heard the story of an Assamese Belly dancer Eshan. His father didn’t like that he was a guy pursuing belly dance, and so he would beat him up. Today, he is renowned across the world, but that means nothing to his parents. Yet, he continues to live with them because he loves them, even though they’re not on talking terms. I was really touched by his story.”
One of the many issues that Kalki is passionate about is putting an end to the culture of sexual abuse and rape in our country. “Unless there’s a change in the education system and boys and girls are treated equally from childhood, the mindset of men will not change. Today, they feel more privileged than women. They can move freely anywhere and everywhere. Why the discrimination?” she asks.
Revealing her plans for the future, Kalki says that she will be part of a theatrical show based on a Shakespearean poem titled The Rape of Lucrece, which will be staged next year. “I play the title role and it’s a very challenging one. The poem talks about the existence of rape even during the Roman times. One woman makes a huge hue and cry about it with the hope of bringing about a change in the system, and she’s actually successful,” she says.
Kalki has come a long way and explored several different avenues since making her Bollywood debut in Anurag Kashyap’s 2009 film Dev D. “Earlier, I thought acting was all that I could do. Now, I’m doing films, theatre, hosting a podcast and TV shows, and producing plays. I’ve learnt that in this life you have to pave your own path and move ahead with positivity,” she concludes.
The actress will soon be seen with Ranveer Singh in the film Gully Boy, and she’s also doing a web-series.