Actor Kirti Kulhari describes her show Human as ‘complex’ content with a ‘well-written script’. “The subject of the human drug trial is something that I felt has never been done before. It is a world about which I didn’t know much about until I came on board. I was like ‘oh, I don’t know about this and people out there should know about this,’” the actor says about her Disney Hotstar show that also stars Shefali Shah.
In the medical thriller, the actor plays one of the lead roles of Dr Saira Sabharwal, who seems to be an complex character with some deep dark secrets. It is a character that Kirti had fun playing as “it was a complicated role and there was so much to do as an actor here” but the show did take its toll on her. Describing the most fascinating aspect of Dr Saira, she said, “My character is well-layered. She is crazy in a way as most of us are. As much clear she is on her professional front, she is as flustered on the personal front. All these aspects put together makes her an interesting character.”
Human, which digs deep into the world of pharmaceuticals and drug testing on humans, is releasing at a time when the world is grappling with a pandemic. So, is it the right time to present such a thriller? Kirti thinks there’s no right time for the truth to come out.
“As a country the kind of content we watch, we are anyway lagging behind a lot of countries in terms of talking about things we should be talking about. We like to turn a blind eye to what’s happening around us. We are happy in our ignorance. But the way I see it, I feel we need to tell stories that matter. Maybe if you look at it, it is the best time to show it. Why not be aware of what else happens? That’s what the show is presenting to you and that too with context. Now, what you take back from it, is entirely on you. Whether it makes you more cautious, more human, more aware or scared, that is something none of us can control because everyone has a different reaction to the same situation,” the actor replied.
Kirti stars alongside actor Shefali Shah who plays Dr Gauri, a pioneer in the medical field, in Human. Both the stars have shared the screen space for the first time, and together they have had a ‘collaborative’ experience. Talking about her experience of working on the Vipul Amrutlal Shah directorial, Kirti said, “It was a creatively stimulating experience since I had people around me who were creatively well aware. I don’t enjoy non-collaborative workspaces at all.”
Kirti has been playing some complex and compelling characters for some time now. Be it the Falak of Pink, Indu of Indu Sarkar, Anjana of Four More Shots Please or Anuradha Chandra of Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors. The actor has taken it upon herself to “tell more female-led stories and present women of different strata and communities.” She wants to “make a difference” in her own way.
Ask her about the current shift in the representation of women in the Hindi cinema, and she says it has all happened because of the audience who has accepted such characters and stories.
“It’s high time we represented women realistically and authentically, and also as heroes. It’s time for them to lead the narratives. As we find more such stories and acceptance of these stories, it gives us a boost to keep doing this again and again. It’s a movement or transition that the industry is enjoying along with the audiences. You cannot do this without acceptance from the audience. If it won’t be there, everyone would be demotivated. But now everyone is growing up, there is a maturity that I see in the audience today. I would like to believe this is going to only get better from here,” Kirti opined.
Kirti made her big-screen debut in 2010 with Khichdi: The Movie, a film adaptation of the popular television show. She was also a part of Bejoy Nambiar’s dystopian drama Shaitaan (2011), but it is her role as Falak in Pink that got her much-deserved attention. But just when her career was flourishing, Covid-19 brought the entertainment industry to a halt. Though she is still grateful to the OTT platforms that her work is reaching its right audience through them, she agrees, “there is nothing more experiential than watching something on the big screen and watching yourself on the big screen is another level of high. That experience is incomparable.”
Human starts streaming on Disney+ Hotstar on January 14.