[YS Lounge] “If people call you crazy, it is a good sign!” – Kalki Koechlin to entrepreneurs

Kalki Koechlin is an Indian actress of French descent who started her career in 2008 with Anurag Kashyap’s Dev D. Kalki Koechlin is known for her unconventionality, a characteristic entrepreneurs inherently take a liking towards. And not known to many, Kalki holds the distinction of having co-founded Quaff Theater in 2008 with two other friends.


Their first play was The Skeleton Woman which was an original script written and performed by Prashant Prakash and Kalki Koechlin. It was directed by Nayantara Kotian and produced by Anurag Kashyap. The play won the Hindu Metroplus Playwright award 2009 for the best original, unpublished script in English. Kalki associates very well with the multiple hats that an entrepreneur dons.

Yesterday, we happened to be on the sets ‘Conversations with Namu Kini’ – a talk show which will be online soon where we had a chance to meet Kalki.

Quaff was in every sense like a startup, “I was doing so many things at one time!” she says. Acting, writing and theatre. Running a theatre group has a lot of parallels with a startup- consider a tech one- replace the product with the play, the developers with the performers, the technical architecture with the creative clashes. It’s the same process, the setting is different.

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Kalki has now moved on from the theatre group but that was her stepping stone into the industry.

Talking about what she would say to the gutsy people in India starting up something of their own, she says, “It is good for you. If people tell you that you are crazy, it is a good sign!” And we agree. As great Gandhi put it, First they ignore you. then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. This belief should be the cornerstone of every daring idea.

On a personal front, Kalki exposed an interesting aspect when she told us about being almost famous, “It is annoying,” she says. You either want to be famous or not, dangling midway is not very comfortable. Throwing light on her work, Kalki is on the lookout for only one thing- good work. “I would like to go anywhere in the world for good work. The great thing about being an actor is that you are open to many places and different cultures,” she said.

Stay tuned for updates on conversations with Namu Kini.

– Kirti Punia with inputs from Jubin Mehta

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