Mumbai: Actress Kirti Kulhari, who has featured in movies like "Shaitan" and "Khichdi: The Movie", says all the frustration and angst of not being recognised for her talent all these years has disappeared overnight. She feels overwhelmed to be recognised for the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer "Pink".
The actress said: "It feels overwhelming to be recognised for 'Pink'. Surprisingly, all the frustration, angst of not being recognised for my talent and work all these years has disappeared overnight and all I am left only with gratitude and to finally be recognised with a film like 'Pink'...the wait was totally worth it.
Kirti recalls how she bagged "Pink", directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and co-produced by Shoojit Sircar.
"I was called for a screen test by Jogiji (casting director) one day out of the blue and was told that it was a film being produced by Shoojit Sircar. I was very excited because I have really enjoyed Shoojit's films and characters in the past and believed 'Pink' had to be something good. So, I auditioned.
"They called me back and I met the director, producer and the whole team and was given a gist of the story. The fact that it was a story of these three girls based in Delhi and a subject like this, I was more than willing to be a part of it. I really believed it was a story worth being told. It wasn't a tough decision to make."
When Kirti accepted the film, she didn't know the rest of the cast.
"The icing on the cake was the news which was revealed to me after almost 15-20 days of being a part of the film that Amitabh Sir was going to be a part of it."
Kirti said she poured her heart and soul into her character.
"Falak for me, was very interesting to play because firstly I had never played a character like this and secondly, the emotional quotient of the character was very high for me.
"Also, the intensity that Falak as an individual exudes... that was an added challenge for me. There were a lot of high moments for my character and my big breakdown in court scene although added later was the highlight for her graph."
Kirti has a lot to take away from the film.
"My take on a woman's right to her sexual choices is the same as the film's. No means no. When you hear it, you respect it and you stop. Even before I did this film, I have never liked the idea of men staring at women and violating them emotionally, mentally and physically. No one has the right to dirty someone's personal space in any which way.
"But what has changed majorly for me after being through this journey called 'Pink' is my reaction to it and my own attitude towards myself and those men out there. I do not let anyone make me feel ashamed of being who I am. I am no more uncomfortable with my own sexuality, my external appearance, the clothes I wear.
"And to all these men who look at me in a predatory way, I have the strength to shut them up when I feel necessary without blaming myself for the way they see me and choose to see me."
Kirti has had her own share of horrific experiences with predatory male attention.
"It's disturbing but it's the reality and sooner we accept it, the better we can do something about it. I just want to say to all those women out there, do not let any such ugly experiences shadow the beautiful you."
Kirti also feels the right for a woman to say 'No' must not be misused.
"It's very situational. First, be sure of how you feel most importantly and also remember that there are times the other person has genuine feelings of love for you, and if you are not sure then lean on the side of no. Keep it simple and clear for yourself and the other person, always."
Her character is shown to be in a relationship with a much older man. She says she wouldn't shy away from such a situation in her own life.
"I would do it only for love and without breaking up another relationship or family for it...It's a little too late for me. I recently got married."
She will remain forever indebted to Amitabh for the chance to work with him.
"He was so giving and such a lovely person and a brilliant co-actor to be around. My character does share some very important and beautiful moments in the film with him and there was so much to learn from him, such as 'never take success for granted' and 'how to be a giving and caring person and co-actor'."
"Pink" has changed Kirti's life.
"It has totally re-affirmed my faith in the power of cinema to transform. Cinema is a reflection of society and in most cases has the ability to be a mirror and not just show the problems but also give solutions and help them reach a large number of people through faces and voices that matter.
"In this case, Amitabh sir is the voice that carries our message."