I shopped for my wedding clothes in Delhi: Kirti Kulhari

On her recent trip to the Capital, actor Kirti Kulhari said it’s a “special feeling” to visit the India Gate and the National War Memorial after playing an officer in the film Uri.
Actor Kirti Kulhari visited the India Gate on her recent trip to Delhi.(Sarang Gupta/HT Photo)
Actor Kirti Kulhari visited the India Gate on her recent trip to Delhi.(Sarang Gupta/HT Photo)
Updated on Mar 22, 2019 07:11 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByHenna Rakheja, New Delhi

“A lot of college kids are my fan following,” says Kirti who has often spoken about not getting “mass” popularity even after portraying strong characters in Bollywood films. “I haven’t done something which is massy. So, while I appeal to people who know me in different strata of society... They don’t know this is Kirti Kulhari,” she says on this trip where she came up and close with the city of Delhi.

‘While shooting for Pink I was also shopping for my wedding’

“My sister used to live in Gurugram,” says Kirti who hadn’t explored much of the Capital until she started shooting for the film Pink (2016). “I spent good enough time here when we were shooting for Pink. That was the first time I was living here for like 20 days, and was travelling to work; that’s when I felt the real vibe of Delhi because aap kahin bhi jayen 2-3 days are never enough to really feel the place. Uss waqt, I remember Dilli mein I was also shopping for my wedding. So, my mother-in-law came over and then I was shooting and travelling and shopping and eating out… all of that happened quite a lot in Delhi that time. For my wedding lehenga, that I got stitched, I picked up the material from Delhi. I don’t remember where in Delhi, but we went to one of the popular garment markets,” recalls Kirti, who married Saahil Sehgal in June 2016 in Bhutan.

Kirti Kulhari says she has been on a bike tour of Delhi with her husband, Saahil Sehgal. (Sarang Gupta/HT Photo)
Kirti Kulhari says she has been on a bike tour of Delhi with her husband, Saahil Sehgal. (Sarang Gupta/HT Photo)

‘I would love to visit NSD’

“My husband, Saahil Sehgal, and I went around exploring Delhi on a bike, a few years back. That’s when we also went to Paranthe Wali Gali (in Old Delhi). I have also been to Khan Market a couple of times and like the place,” shares Kirti who has a connect with Delhi theatre. “I performed once in Delhi for a Tom Alter play called Marx My Word, written by (politician-advocate) Salman Khurshid. But, I haven’t really seen any plays here... I would love to visit National School of Drama (NSD). I have heard so much about it. Aise bahut kam institutes hain Delhi mein ya pure India mein jo acting ko utna seriously lete hain. And NSD is surely one of them. Probably the number one... maybe I’ll go today, does it have a canteen?”

The actor says she would have also liked to be a part of NSD if she was clear about choosing acting as a career when younger. Kirti says, “I had already spent a lot of time doing my graduation. And if acting as a career choice had come to me much earlier, I would have surely joined may be an NSD or Film and Television Institute of India (Pune) post my 12th. But somehow, [acting] came to me too late and just happened by chance. Lot of people know very early what they want, but I didn’t know I wanted acting. When I did become serious about acting, very soon I started off because I wanted to act in films — I was very clear about that — so the first thing that came to my mind to (be able to) learn acting was to do theatre. So, I did a workshop with Om Kataria, Yatri (theatre) group for a month, and then did plays with them. So theatre for me is my playing field. That’s where I learnt my craft... Film is a different experience. Mujhe theatre me waqt milta hai and I like to take time for acting and preparing my character. That’s the most important thing. When I go on a project where it’s like abhi shoot karna hai, there’s no time, nobody is bothered about workshopping, it’s a big put-off for me because I don’t wanna do it this way.”

Films such as Pink highlighted her acting prowess while others such as Uri: The Surgical Strike made her a recognisable face from Bollywood. Yet, she feels disturbed when people ask her if Uri 2 is in the pipeline because of the recent air surgical strike by Indian Air Force in Pakistan. Referring to a fan who approached her for a picture at the India Gate, Kirti says, “You saw this guy? He said ‘Uri 2 kab ban rahi hai… Ek aur air strike hua hai na.’ Jokes apart, but right now we are in the middle of some really serious crisis; anything can happen at any moment. My dad — who is from the Indian Navy — was telling me that all the defence forces are deployed everywhere.”

‘I feel emotional seeing a defence person’

Hailing from a family of defence personnel, Kirti feels happy that her portrayal of an air force officer in Uri has made family complete the trilogy in forces since her father is in the Navy and her sister is a doctor in the Army. Kirti says, “One of the big reasons why I did Uri was because I’m so touched by these things. Every time I see something where a defence person is involved, I just feel emotional about it because I know that life to some extent. My sister saw the film in Pathankot and she said that there were men crying through the film. I have grown up amid these people. Obviously you haven’t been to war yourself, but I think living in those kind of spaces, of course you are filled with a lot of patriotism. And, it just comes to a lot of us effortlessly… If not patriotism, is there any other word that defines this feeling towards one’s country?”

Interact with the author on Twitter/@HennaRakheja

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