Kalki Koechlin

  • Actor, Writer

Jan 10, 1984  in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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Born on 10th January 1984 to French parents in Auroville, Tamil Nadu, Kalki Koechlin is an Indian actor, writer, and director. She has appeared majorly in Bollywood films and has also received a National Award for Margarita with a Straw (2014). Koechlin is famous for doing roles portraying strong women characters which resist the conventional Indian norms and practices. She debuted in Bollywood with Anurag Kashyap's critically acclaimed film Dev D (2009). For this film, Kalki won her first Filmfare Award in the category of Best Supporting Actress.

Kalki Koechlin is also actively involved with various humanitarian causes like women's rights and gender equality. She regularly participates in various social campaigns to promote education for children living in rural India.

Early Life
Kalki Koechlin's father Joel Koechlin moved to India from France and married her mother Francoise Armandie who he met at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Auroville. Koechlin's ancestor Maurice Koechlin was the chief engineer in the construction of Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty. Her parents divorced when she was just 15. While she continued living with her mother, her father remarried and shifted to Bangalore. She has a paternal half-brother from her father's consequent marriage and a maternal half-brother from her mother's previous marriage.

Koechlin completed her schooling from Hebron School in Ooty and then studied drama and theater in Goldsmiths, University of London, where she also worked with a theater company called Theater of Relativity for two years. She later decided to move to Mumbai to try her luck in Bollywood.

Personal Life
Koechlin married filmmaker Anurag Kashyap in a private ceremony on 30th April 2011 in Ooty. Both starting dating each other during the shoot of Dev.D. In 2013, the two of them issued a joint statement announcing their separation and in 2015 filed for a divorce by mutual consent. Since then Kalki Koechlin has been very low key about her personal life and just prefers to keep the focus on her work.

Movie Career
After coming back from London, Kalki Koechlin moved to Mumbai to pursue her dream of acting. She did several modeling assignments before being shortlisted for the role of Leni in Dev.D, a modern interpretation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's 1917 Bengali novel Devdas. Her role was inspired by Chandramukhi, a prostitute who falls in love with the alcoholic, Dev, played by Abhay Deol. Directed by Anurag Kashyap, the movie opened to really positive reviews and Koechlin's performance received much appreciation and accolades. For this film, she went on to win her first Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress. In 2010, she starred alongside Ranvir Shorey, Mohit Ahlawat and Ravi Kishan in a black comedy The Film Emotional Atyachar. The movie failed at the box office and was critically proclaimed average.

In 2011, Kalki Koechlin had 4 releases and the year proved to be a very fruitful one for her. Her first release was a crime thriller Shaitan directed by Bejoy Nambiar. Although commercially unsuccessful, the film received positive reviews critically. Raja Sen of rediff.com called Koechlin's performance in the movie "an increasingly striking one". She then did a supporting role in Zoya Akhtar's Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara with an ensemble cast that also included Abhay Deol, Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar and Katrina Kaif in crucial roles. The film was a huge success and Kalki aced it as the insecure South Bombay girl. About her role in the movie, Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama said: " Kalki infuses life into the character, fitting into the conceived character accurately." Her next film was Anurag Kashyap's The Girl In Yellow Boots, which she also co-wrote. Shot in just 13 days, the film also starred Naseeruddin Shah. It opened to amazing reviews and was screened at Toronto International Film Festival. Koechlin's last released film in 2011 was My Friend Pinto, where she played the role of a young, aspiring dancer. The film bombed at the box office and received average reviews from the critics..

Kalki Koechlin's next film was Dibakar Banerjee's Shanghai in the year 2012. She played the role of a political activist who is out to avenge her professor's attack. The movie was a commercial flop but was critically well received. She then starred in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani with Deepika Padukone, Ranbir Kapoor, and Aditya Roy Kapur. Koechlin played the role of Aditi, a fun, and quirky tomboy. This romantic-comedy established her versatility in the industry and her comic timing was lauded by critics and audiences alike.

In 2014, Koechlin did a cameo in Happy Ending, co-starring Saif Ali Khan and Ileana D'Cruz. The film received a lot of flak for its predictable storyline and failed to leave any impact. Kalki then appeared in Shonali Bose's movie, Margarita with a Straw in which she plays the role of a young woman with cerebral palsy. It's touted as her career best performance till date for which she won the Jury Award at the 63rd National Film Awards for this film. In 2016, Kalki starred along with the veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah in Waiting. Directed by Anu Menon, this drama film opened to highly positive reviews.

Apart from doing films, Koechlin also co-starred in Y-Film's mini web series Man's World with Parineeti Chopra, Richa Chadda, and Bhumi Pednekar.

Theater Career
Koechlin believes that there is nothing like performing for a live audience. She has done various plays like Trivial Disasters, The Real Inspector Hound, and Rajat Kapoor's Hamlet, The Clown Prince. She also has her own theater company called Little Productions and made her directorial debut on stage with Living Room. As of 2019, Kalki is associated with Gully Boy.