The sound “tak tak takataka tak…” is still ringing in the heads of the millions of people who watched Kalki Koechlin’s poem “The Printing Machine”. The poem, which was released as part of BLUSH’s Unblushed series, resonated with quite a few people, and has opened up a platform for dialogue about the rising crimes against women and our collective lack of empathy in the matter.
Despite her busy schedule, Kalki agreed for a telephonic interview with International Business Times, India Edition, and we covered everything from “The printing Machine” to her future Bollywood projects.
“I wrote ‘Printing Machine’ a year ago.. In January 2015. I don’t know why.. I was jotting down some of the most impactful headings I had seen around the time..,” Kalki said regarding the poem that has got everyone talking. She said she was also fascinated with the sound of the type writer — the “tak tak, takatka tak” — that later became the identity of her poem.
Once completed, the poem sounded nice and that is what made her perform it last year at an event in Mumbai. So when BLUSH approached her, through Sayani Gupta her co-star from “Margarita with a Straw”, asking if she had any ideas for the Unblushed series, she showed them “The Printing Machine” along with some of her other passion projects. They chose the brilliant satire on the media’s “juicy” headlines for heartbreaking crimes against women.
Kalki acknowledges that “The Printing Machine” does not provide a solution as to how to move on from this de-sensitised, stagnant state of being. “One like, one share, and my one good deed for the day is done,” is the attitude that we are all guilty of, but how can people do more than their share of armchair activism? Kalki explained that her poem offers us the opportunity to ask these questions.
She, however, did not expect the kind of overwhelming reaction that “The Printing Machine” received. “I was so touched, especially, when one of the websites said that I should go to schools and colleges and speak to the students, after they saw the video. I mean, I would love to talk to young people about all this,” she said.
We spoke a little about feminism and Kalki said it is a simple stand to take; to be a feminist. “To me, all it means is that you think men and women deserve to be treated as equal. Many people are trying to make feminism sound like a term for other issues. But that is all feminism is, treating men and women equally”.
The actress believes there are many strong, opinionated actors in Bollywood today that she is proud to call feminists, placing Kangana Ranaut and Deepika Padukone on the top of that list. She also credits Frahan Akhtar as a great ally of the feminist cause.
She pointed out that he even wrote a song about women empowerment. The song is called “Chulein Aasman“, and was made as part of Farhan’s social initiative Men Against Rape and Discrimination (MARD).
Kalki has just finished working on “Jiya aur Jiya” with Richa Chadda, which will be released in another couple of months. She will also be seen in a movie with Naseeruddin Shah called “Waiting” which will be released on 11 March. The movie, set in the waiting room of a hospital, is directed by Anu Menon.
She will also be seen in Konkona Sen Sharma’s directorial debut “Death on the Ganj” which showcases the lives of one family in the 70s that is on the brink of bankruptcy. The story based on true events is set in a period in India, when small businesses were dying out due to the advent of huge companies.