“Pankaj Tripathi and I would never discuss our scenes”- Kirti Kulhari on Criminal Justice Season 2

Actress Kirti Kulhari, who is known for her work in films like Uri: The Surgical Strike, Mission Mangal, Pink among others and the web series Four More Shots Please, will next be seen in the Disney+ Hotstar series Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors. Ahead of the release of the series, Kirti Kulhari spoke to Bollywood Hungama about the show and her views and understanding in cinema and the rising popularity of OTT platforms.

EXCLUSIVE: “Pankaj Tripathi and I would never discuss our scenes”- Kirti Kulhari on Criminal Justice Season 2

The second season will see Pankaj Tripathi reviving his role of lawyer Madhav Mishra who takes up Kirti’s character Anuradha Chandra’s case, who seems like a tough nut to crack. Kirti Kulhari says that Anuradha has been the toughest character that she has played until now. Elaborating on it, she said, “The fact that she is mysterious, the fact that there is so much inside her that needs to be said and people want to hear, but she doesn't speak a word. She says so much through her silences. It is a very complex character. There is so much the character has been through that when you see her in the series you get the sense that something is not right, but you do not know what it is till the end.”

Courtroom dramas are not a new concept for the audience. There have been several films and shows in the past that have death with the genre. Kirti feels that what makes Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors different is that it is not a “whodunnit” but a “whydunnit”. “You are dwelling into why the criminals do what they do. That journey and that exploration that makes it very different and interesting.”

This is the first time that Kirti and Pankaj Tripathi have shared screen. Talking about her first experience working with him, she said, “The experience was very nice, very warm and very easy. He is a very simple person to be around and chilled out in a super easy way. We would never discuss our scenes. We would just do our thing. We would just rehearse once and just shoot. He was somebody with whom I did not have to discuss the scene too much. He did his part, I did one. Usually our relationship on the show is such, he is always speaking, he is always asking me, he is always probing me to talk and I am not talking. I think that is very interesting to play with, him being in the chair and me not talking. So I guess that give and take as actors was very interesting.”

OTT platforms have seen a massive boost in content consumption in 2020 so much that even the bigger stars who have dominated cinema are considering exploring the digital space. While OTT platform has largely been content oriented, one cannot but wonder if the star hierarchy system may also take over on OTT in the future. Sharing her view on it, the actress said, “I really hope not. I really hope that people stay true to what they are trying to make and choose actors they need to do justice to what they are trying to make. Of course, there is this element of who is popular, who is doing well and who is in demand. That is something you can't escape. Because eventually it matters. It should not be lopsided. Take a name if you feel they are fit for what you are trying to make. But don't take a name because you want to take a name. That will be really disappointing if it happens.”

Kirti has been a part of the industry over 10 years, but in the past few years the actress has been seen more prominently in the commercial. Talking about choosing her projects and how it has changed over the years, she said, “I have only become more and more sure of the kind of work I want to do. I have only become more selective. I want to do more challenging stuff. I have come to realise that if I am doing what I am doing, I need to push myself and not be comfortable. I have to always choose scripts and characters that push me as an actor and which have something to say to the audience and what I have to say through my characters and story is only getting more and more complex, you know like the tougher subjects, subjects that are not easy to talk about, subjects that we as a society are not comfortable with.”

“I feel cinema is a way to talk about things that matter. I feel so; this is my way of looking at art. I think I would want to do that. Each time, every time,” she added.

However, films that have tried to portray or reflect the society have in the past met with social media boycotts by a section of people on the internet. When asked if it bothers her, Kirti said, “No, it doesn't. Can't let these things bother me. Beyond a point, I don't care about all the drama that is going on in the world at every front. People should just focus on their own lives at the end of the day and take care of that and not try to change the world in ways which are not even real. You are just talking about things, you are talking about change. If you want to do something, you need to start with yourself. Changing yourself is the only way to go about.”

ALSO READ: Kirti Kulhari says everyone in the industry is reconsidering their choices and their career plans to suit OTT platforms

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