Keeping up with Kalki: We spent a weekend with the actor in Pondy and it was awesome!
We know a lot of things about Kalki. But on a recent weekend spent with her in her hometown of Puducherry — we discovered the most unexpected of them all. She’s crazy about sambar.
“My didi in Mumbai tries to make it all the time, but somehow it just doesn’t taste the same as here,” she says looking up for a moment, before she goes back to being engrossed in finger licking and the evident nostalgia notes on her plate. But perhaps we should have chanced a guess at her love for South Indian food, the moment we found out that the name of her adopted cat — Dosa!
We’re at the Hidesign factory for a sneak preview of the actor’s new luxury bag collection, which includes one that has been inspired by the late David Bowie. Kalki X Hidesign — the creative venture that was worked on with founder of the brand Dilip Kapur is literally its newest baby, we realise, when he says, “It took nine months to put together.” This was over multiple Skype calls back and forth, WhatsApp creatives and couriered swatches of fabric making their way from Puducherry to Mumbai.
You quickly get a sense that this isn’t one of those slap-a-celebrity-name on a collection sort of situations when Kalki recalls, “Before we got started on any of this though, Dilip wanted to see all of my bags!” It turns out, the sexagenarian was completely vexed when she sent him pictures of her bag cache picked up over the years, that range from a “dirty old jhola” to “loud and Gucci”. This explains why the 19-odd pieces in the collection, that we’re told has heavy design influences from the ’70s, covers a wide range of functions from a work bag with sleek lines to a 3am party clutch.
Before we got started creating the collection, Dilip (Kapur) actually asked to see all of my bags. He was just confused when I showed him because I have every kind of bag, from a dirty old jhola to loud and Gucci!
Not that any of the latter feature in her visits back home. “Mostly, I’m very unsocial when I return home to Pondy — I want to sit with my phone switched off, read books, write, research a project that I might be working on, it’s my place to switch off and recharge,” she tells us candidly. Something she has been doing a lot of lately as we’ve observed from recent interviews where the actor has talked about drawing emotional support from within, rather from outside, after her divorce from director Anurag Kashyap in 2015.
“I think you need to be two full people to be together. I don’t believe in two halves make one,” she says when we ask her for thoughts on love and relationships. She elaborates on conscious awareness to stay a wholesome individual as a daily exercise, rather than unknowingly slipping into a pattern of dependency. “When you’ve fallen in love, the tendency is to ask you partner’s thoughts on everything and share everything. Then one day, when they aren’t available, you realise you can’t form an opinion without them. So taking space and time for yourself is important,” she shares insights from her personal journey.
Kalki is ‘done’
Following Anoushka Shankar’s empowering Women’s Day message with the #ImDone (considered a sequel to #MeToo) which nominated her amongst a list of other A-listers, Kalki has released her own laundry list of feminist peeves not to be put up with anymore, on Twitter. Here’s the gist, in case you missed it:
• I’m done with saving the species and saving the environment as being some kind of feminine responsibility.
• I’m done with feminism being a feminine responsibility. The equality of the sexes is a shared responsibility.
• I’m done with my consistent ‘no’ being worn down by persistent why nots.
• I’m done with the bling!
On the film front, Kalki says she has her hands full with Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy at the moment, where she will be co-starring with Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt. If you’ve noticed the actor’s recent chic haircut, its for her role of a music producer in the Bollywood music drama, based on the lives of two young rappers from Mumbai. “It’s a very carefree, easy character and most of my prep has been in listening to music, jamming a bit and meeting with Divine (one of the rappers. I’ve also been working with Ankur Tewari for a song that I will be a part of in the film,” she tells us.
Kalki X Hidesign releases today.