Kalki Koechlin is an Indian actress of French descent who debuted in Anurag Kashyap's critically acclaimed 2009 Hindi film Dev.D. She played the character of Chandramukhi in Dev.D, which is a modern take on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's Bengali novel Devdas.
Kalki Koechlin was born to French parents in a small village in Pondicherry. Her parents had come to India as hippies, 38 years ago and settled there after they fell in love with the country. Her parents are devotees of Sri Aurobindo.
Kalki was studying in Ooty when her parents insisted she attend university. Koechlin studied drama and theatre in Goldsmiths, University of London, where she also worked with a theatre company called Theatre of Relativity for two years. She performed in various plays like David Hare's The Blue Room, Marivaux's The Dispute and a devised play The Rise of the Wild Hunt in her two year stint with the theatre group.
She later decided to move to Mumbai to try her luck in Hindi cinema. She was doing modeling assignments for television commercials before being shortlisted for the role of Chandramukhi (Chanda) in Dev.D. Koechlin can speak Tamil, English and French while she had to learn Hindi to prepare for her role in Dev.D. About her role Koechlin said "My character is much younger and there's much more to it than just being a prostitute. When she is not entertaining customers, she dresses up like any other girl in jeans and stuff and leads a normal life. My role in the film has a controversial streak to it, but I still don't know what would have been an ideal role to debut with. I've got the chance to work with a good director in Dev D and I feel I'm lucky enough." Koechlin was apprehensive about how people will judge her after seeing her in the role.
After the movie released, her portrayal of the modern Chandramukhi, who goes from an innocent schoolgirl (Leni) to a vivacious prostitute (Chanda) was critically acclaimed saying "Kalki shows sparks in the scenes" Hindustan Times said, "Enter Chanda, the multilingual call girl who can seduce in Hindi, Tamil, English and French. With her bee-stung lips, unusual face and refreshing lack of acting guile, Kalki Koechlin imbues the part with a touching fragility." For her work in Dev D, she was awarded the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2010.
Koechlin paired with Imran Khan, nephew of Aamir Khan, for a Coca Cola advertisement. The advert was voted the best of the IPL by the TOI Advertisement awards. She was next seen in Shaitan, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, That Girl in Yellow Boots, My Friend Pinto and Shanghai.
Kalki Koechlin won The Hindu Metro Plus Playwright Award 2009 along with Prashant Prakash for their co-authored entry Skeleton Woman.