Kalki Koechlin: Understanding identity

Posted on 21/10/12

Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin takes us through her journey as an artist and person, starting with being of mixed heritage in India to her acclaimed role in the movie Dev. D to her penchant for writing poetry, in this interview with Lakshmi Pratury.

About the Speaker

Kalki Koechlin

Actor & Writer

Kalki Koechlin is an Indian film actress of French origin. She has starred in critically acclaimed films such as That Girl in Yellow Boots and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Kalki also stars in award-winning plays which she writes and directs. 

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Part of Kalki's identity crisis is the crisis of millions of foreigners of Indian descent.

It is easier to connect with that part of her identity when I think of my cousin's children who were born and bought up abroad.

Then there are political leaders like Bal Thackeray and Raj Thackeray, who don't understand the identity of children of migrants like myself. We come from different states with India. But we are not allowed to feel as if we belong if we claim to our rights or share of space. Like Kalki, we're 'outsiders' in the land we inhabit. But with urbanisation, it will change. However, the Muslims in India suffer the same kind of victimisation, even more and unfortunately it will continue for much longer.

We need to see ourselves as Prasoon Joshi once put it as 'confluences of rivers' where no one is bigger or smaller than the other. Where we need to feel, identify with the pain and joy of our neighbours: be humane and therefore share. That's our greatest ability and greatest potential as human beings.

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