Kirti Kulhari on her separation: 'Moving away from marriage seemed right for me'
For decades, the Indian film industry has been very conventional in stereotyping women on screen with one-dimensional images. Either she is a perfect homemaker or a successful businesswoman, guided by her ambitions. There are no other lines in-between in Bollywood. Only recently, actors like Kirti Kulhari, among many others, are breaking that age-old trope by portraying stronger independent multi-faceted characters. The actress is all set to essay another strong character in Shaadisthan that releases today on Disney+ Hotstar. A star in her own right, Kirti is known for her films like Indu Sarkar, Pink, Mission Mangal and more recently was seen in Four More Shots Please! In an exclusive interview, the actress talks about her new character, how she selects her scripts and how she dealt with her recent divorce. Excerpts:
Tell us about the film and your character?
I am playing the role of Sasha, a musician; she is truly a rock star! She lives her life on her own terms. She makes her choices and takes responsibility for them. She is truly an empowered girl. She doesn’t seek validation from the outside. She is comfortable in her skin and that’s an empowering character to play. The film is about the Indian obsession with marriage. The film represents different ideologies and ways of looking at life.
Do you think there are more women-centric roles these days?
Yes, the representation of women is getting more realistic. People want to see real stories these days. While the writing is getting better, the presentation of women is being made more authentically because people want to see that. There is more inclination towards female-led stories and people are more interested in understanding the lives of the women around them.
How do you select your roles?
It is very intentional. I choose my roles wisely because I am putting my blood and sweat into it. Acting for me is not for money, it is very personal to me. I am passionate about it so I will go all the way. I know the power of good cinema. I want to be a part of a good story and play interesting characters which leave an impact on the audience. When you want so much out of your character, then you have to be selective in what you choose to play. I don’t want to repeat my characters, it’s not exciting.
Do you think the idea of marriage has changed over the years?
It is changing but a lot more needs to be changed. In fact, it needs to be questioned. We don’t have to accept something just because it has been practiced for generations. There are many things you might not agree with today, so you need to start questioning them. If you find peace in your marriage, it’s good and if not, then it’s better to take a stand.
How difficult was it for you to take a stand and move out of your own marriage?
It was a tough decision. Leaving a relationship is so difficult, so imagine leaving a marriage. It’s far more than a relationship because you have families and people involved. It’s not meant to be easy but you have to do what you have to do and what seems right to you. When certain things are not working for you, you have to find courage to step away and move to a place where you feel at peace and comfortable. It’s my responsibility not anybody else’s.
There must be some consequences to these choices?
Every small and big situation which doesn’t go in your favour teaches you how to deal with failure and emotional upheavals. My decisions have taught me to be a strong person. The more invested you are in someone, the pain is much more when you break away; but over a period of time you just come out of it. I made a choice and I can’t avoid and escape it, but for me the idea is to accept that this is the choice and this is the price I have to pay. I don’t believe in suppression and avoiding things. I believe in going through it and knowing that this too shall pass. Moving away from marriage seemed right to me. I knew that the pain would subside or completely go away and I would be alright again.
Shaadisthan releases today on Disney+ Hotstar.