“ I am happy that I have reached where I am today at my own pace and at the right time. Today, as I have grown and matured, I am more than ready to receive everything coming my way with a positive outlook. I am at ease with myself, there is no mad rush to prove anything to myself or to the world. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
SHE IS one actor who has never shied away from doing unconventional roles. She is not bothered about the length of the role, how much footage she will get in a full-length film or whether a song is featured on her. What she looks for when she signs on the dotted line is how meaty is her role, is there substance and meaning to the character that she is portraying.
And that is exactly the reason why Kirti Kulhari, a rank outsider, who has had theatre and innumerable ads to her credit, has today, carved a niche for herself and is a known name - a name to reckon with for she is a powerhouse of talent. Soon to be essaying the role of a scientist in Mission Mangal, Kirti takes time from her busy schedule to talk to The Hitavada about her journey, the challenges she faced, nepotism, women centric films and much more… “I have no complaints about the time I have spent in the industry and the time it has taken me to be a known name. My struggles are the struggles of every person - each one of us has a fair share of ups and downs in their lives. So was the case with me, but each down taught me something as did the up phase.
So it’s been a learning curve. All I can say is that I am happy that I have reached where I am today at my own pace and at the right time. Today, as I have grown and matured, I am more than ready to receive everything coming my way with a positive outlook. I am at ease with myself, there is no mad rush to prove anything to myself or to the world. I wouldn’t want it any other way,” the pretty damsel is very confident in her belief. Talking about Mission Mangal that releases on August 15, and revolves around India’s successful Mission on Mars (MOM), Kirti is elated to be a part of the film. “It’s a phenomenal subject and such inspirational stories need to be told.
You know incidents like Surgical Strike, MOM etc for many are mere piece of news. But because they are such path-breaking incidents in our lives, they need to be told. And films are an amazing way of telling stories of our own. This way millions become a part of knowing what really happened behind the scene, they understand as to how it all happened, the failures and challenges that came the way of the people involved and how they overcame them. These are really inspirational stories, which every family, especially youngsters must watch. There are so many famous names attached with the film, and there was no way that I could not be a part of this project when it was offered to me.” Kirti is also emphatic when she states that Mission Mangal is a great achievement for the nation and the entire country must celebrate it once again. “And it’s a fun film - it’s not like a documentary.
The serious moments are offset with a lot of humour. It’s a film that every family must watch, it’s a film that will expose to the kids the various aspects of picking up a challenge and succeeding against odds.” When you point out that Bollywood is churning out biopics by the dozens and stories like Uri, Mission Mangal or from history likeKesari, is it because somewhere the writers have run out of original ideas and want to tap on stories that are already available? Kirti begs to differ and says that she is glad that filmmakers are telling such stories.
“Of course, herd mentality is prevalent in this field too. If one Bajirao Mastani becomes a huge hit, you will have a number of movies being made on historical figures. But many are stories of common people who have excelled in their chosen field, ordinary people who turned out to be extraordinary. So we need to go into their world, know more about them. What’s the harm in this? I am all for this kind of cinema. Of course, I would like to iterate that there should be a healthy mix of entertainment along with edutainment.” Kirti, over the past few years, has left a mark, be it Pink or Blackmail, Uri: The Surgical Strike or Four more Shots Please.
Does she think that Bollywood has evolved and today women find themselves in a better space, with stronger roles in their kitty? Kirti is very clear and candid when she replies, “Women centric films - I think is kind of an overdose. If you look at individual decades, each period offered different things to women. So we need to look at the whole picture from the beginning. Let’s take the case of black and white era when actors like Meena Kumari, Nargis Dutt and Madhubala ruled.They had roles at par with the heroes - they had roles written for them. In the 90s, the heroines were glamourised and hence so much of stress on the naach gaana. But each phase has had films where women were the centre of attraction.” She adds that with digital space, things have become better. “I am glad I am working in an age where there is such a lot of scope for women to have the limelight focused on them.” The candid actor doesn’t sugar coat her opinions and is very firm when she says that nepotism, a very hot subject of debate in Bollywood, exists. “It’s there for all to see. It exists not only in Bollywood, but everywhere. What I do not comply with is someone who is not deserving with a filmy background gets a chance over someone else who is talented and has proved his/her worth. It’s okay if newcomers with godfathers and godmothers get an easy entry, but if, even after establishing that they do not merit a second chance, are flooded with offers, sideling someone more deserving - that hurts.” Kirti Kulhari has a lot on her plate. With the season 2 of Four More Shots Please being wrapped up, she will be also be seen with Emraan Hashmi in Bard Of Blood on Netflix. Plus she has at least four more movies lined up for release in the near future. More power to talented actors like Kirti- may you always remain true to your name.