A Minute With: Bollywood's Kalki Koechlin on playing disabled teen

Fri Oct 31, 2014 9:26am EDT
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By Shilpa Jamkhandikar

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Kalki Koechlin is one of the few Bollywood actresses in recent years to build her star power while proving her talent in indie and mainstream Indian cinema.

In 2013, she played what many would consider a side role in one of Bollywood's biggest romantic movies, "Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani" (This Youth Is Crazy), decked in slinky designer outfits and dancing to peppy dance numbers.

In Shonali Bose's "Margarita, With a Straw", Koechlin plays Laila, a teenager who is afflicted with cerebral palsy, but is also discovering her own sexuality, much to her conservative mother's horror.

The film, which is scheduled to be released in India next year, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September, and screened at the London Film Festival this month.

Koechlin, 30, who was born in India to French parents, spoke to Reuters about her role in the film and spending two months in a wheelchair for the part.

Q: How much of a challenge was it to prepare for this role, mentally and physically?

A: It was as much of a challenge to prepare mentally. Especially in terms of preparing myself to be that vulnerable as a character who is disabled and discovering her own sexuality. But I was in good hands. The film is about a teenager with raging hormones. It's done in a very beautiful manner. It looks at all the aspects, including the way my mother in the film reacts to my sexuality.   Continued...

Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin poses as she arrives on the green carpet for the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards show in Singapore June 9, 2012. REUTERS/Tim Chong/Files