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Priya Motiani

JWB Blogger

JWB Meets Kalki Koechlin In ‘The Living Room’. Lights Camera Action!

  • JWB Post
  •  November 24, 2016


Jairangam is back to Jaipur! The theater festival takes us down the memory lane of the time we discussed Kalki Koechlin’s directorial debut play ‘The Living Room’ with her. 

Chaos. A Funny Little Mesmerizing Chaos, that lies in a very grey area of the mind… in the moment when a person meets death. And Kalki means that literally, because in the play, Death (Neil Bhoopalam) acquires an actual human physical form (a blue version, though) and appears surprisingly in front of the sleeping protagonist, Mrs. Ana Nil (Sheeba Chadha), in her living room. “Hello Mrs. Nil!”

What will you do in such a situation? Will you be shock-stricken or will you offer Death some tea and ginger cookies? Ana does both. The play only gets better and better as Jo (Tariq Vasudeva), Ana’s estranged lover, and Born Kuber (Jim Sarbh), Ana’s rich godson, enter the scene.

As astounding as it sounds, this rendezvous with Death was pretty entertaining and had the audience in splits many-a-time during the course of the play. It is rightly a ‘Comedy about Death’, as Kalki calls it.

What severed the impact of the play were the aptly timed switching and dimming of the lights, and the thundering music.

A source tells us that Kalki was all along sitting in the Audio-Visual room operating and controlling these elements. Hmmm. She took her director’s job pretty seriously. Except that in place of the director’s hat, a messy updo of her glossy hair topped her head.

Moments before the play began, we got a chance to chit-chat with the ever-chirpy and the drop-dead gorgeous Kalki Koechlin.

(PS: She wasn’t wearing any make-up. Why so sundar, Kalki?)

JWB: This play is your directorial debut and it talks about a very serious theme: Death. Why?

Kalki: Death is a part of life. Without death, life is left meaningless. As soon as you see death approaching, you suddenly start to care about life; you suddenly want to remember and value the people in your life. And I think when death has a physical form it comes across as a more approachable and more understandable subject.

JWB: Who is the most unwanted guest in your Living Room?

Kalki: *Grins* Errrr, I guess… my landlord!

JWB: What is more challenging, being an actor or a director?

Kalki: Director, definitely!

JWB: Why?

Kalki: Because when you are a director, you need to get up early in the morning. Hahaha! Just kidding! As a director, there are so many aspects that you have to look at. There is a lot of multi-tasking involved. That adds to the complexity of the task.

JWB: And how does ‘being a woman’ fit in the equation?

Kalki: I have to speak louder. Otherwise, I am not audible.

JWB: One give-you-the-Goosebumps kind of moment that happened while writing or directing the play?

Kalki: There’s this part in the play which shows a montage of various scenes of Ana’s life. Towards the end of the montage is a scene where Death has gripped Ana. That gives me the chills always.

JWB: Coming from a women’s blog, I just cannot elude asking a women empowerment question. People often say that: Powerful women= Lonely women. Your take on this equation?

Kalki: We are born alone and we die alone. Loneliness is a part of everyone’s life. So, I think there is nothing wrong with loneliness. It is funny that people associate loneliness with powerful women. It is common to every being.

Such was our encounter with Kalki! And we’re already reminiscing it! Did you watch the play? Tell us about your take on The Living Room.

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