Actor Kalki Koechlin, who is known for her roles in movies such as Dev D and Margarita with a Straw, was in Gurgaon on Sunday for her debut play ‘The Living Room’. The play revolves around the idea of death and how we miss out on precious moments in life due to our preoccupation with small things. Kalki spoke to HT about the play she wrote and directed.
What is your play ‘The Living Room’ about? Is it pure entertainment or does it contain a message for the audience?
The play is a comedy on death and how it reshapes our persona when we face it. Life is short and we should not lose the plot in daily tensions and pressures. The play reminds us of how we have forgotten to enjoy the present moment and every small thing that happens around us. Once we are threatened by death, people start appreciating life and the play is a comedy which has a little bit of philosophy. It will also entertain people. Cookies are used as a symbol to remind us that small things make the big picture. There is lot of discussion about after-life, re-incarnation and believing in after life or not doing so. I hope the audience will enjoy the nuances.
As an actor, do you have a dream role? How has your French background and the spell in Auroville moulded you as an artist?
I would love to do a biopic as I am a history buff and play strong characters such as Sister Nivedita, who has a fascinating personality. Apart from that, characters portrayed in the book ‘Mafia Queens of Mumbai’ attract me for the different shades portrayed by them. My French background and family connections with Aurobindo Ashram have definitely influenced my personality as well as the artist in me. I am deeply spiritual and influenced by ‘French Theatre of the Absurd’. ‘The Living Room’ also has elements of the French comedy. Sartre, Camus and other French philosophers have influenced me.
How do you see Gurgaon as a city and the audience who will be watching your play?
We brought a play to Gurgaon last year and the response was excellent. We are happy to perform here and I hope the audience is not disappointed that I will not be taking the stage. Gurgaon has an evolved audience which has got a global exposure.
What is more difficult, being an actor or a director?
For me, acting is like catharsis which allows one to immerse in a moment and give everything to the character. On the other hand directing is an ongoing process which never ends as one has to keep learning and improvising. There is no end to creation and theatre in particular is very exciting as you watch the entire cast working in tandem. Acting and directing have helped me in understanding myself physically and spiritually and making a deeper connection with life.
From Dev D to Margarita with a Straw, how have you evolved as an actress?
I have kept on learning from different situations and ideas. The goal is to keep absorbing new things and strive to do even better the next time. Whether I have evolved and improved as an actor, it is for the people to decide.