An actor doesn't have to be an activist: Kalki Koechlin

  • Poulomi Banerjee, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 13, 2016 14:16 IST

Recently, many actors such as you or Deepika Padukone, have been lending their voices to issues like women's rights and mental health. Is it an individual choice or are actors more aware of their role as communicators today?

I think it's a mix of many things. An actor can speak of these issues only if the media is conscious and chooses to highlight them. You are a part of the system you live in. Today a woman has a lot more status in public. Many more of her personality traits are being discussed, not just her beauty. So it is a good time to be heard. Having said that, I do believe it is the responsibility of everyone to be conscious and not just actors. An actor doesn't have to be an activist. Also, for actors it is important to associate themselves with issues that really matter to them, on which they can speak with authority, so that one doesn't end up looking like a poster girl for that cause.

Kalki Koechlin. (Photo: Mountain Echoes organisers)

Do you think the word feminism is very casually used in conversations today. Does that take away from its seriousness?

It's a double-edged sword. In the past only very hard-core activists for women's rights were referred to as feminists. The word had a negative undertone. Today it is fashionable for a woman, and even a man, to be termed a feminist, which is fantastic. At the same time, I feel, we have to think outside the label. As long as there is an imbalance in society it is most natural for those affected by it to speak about it and demand equality.

It is common for literature to lend itself to films. You have yourself acted in Dev D, based on the novel Devdas and more recently Margarita With a Straw. Do you think many film scripts too deserve the tag of literature?

I think we need to respect scripts a lot more than we do. Very few people have a tight script when they begin filming. We need to have more writers. It is a form of storytelling and very much up there with literature or art.

Read: Kalki on why she opened up about having faced abuse as a child

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