The Gold Standard

The Gold Standard

Films to web series, Kirti Kulhari is headlining a generation of artistes who are rewriting the rules

ARTICLE BY : Nupur Sarvaiya


Criminal Justice: Behind The Doors, the much-acclaimed Hindi-language legal drama web series, opens with lawyer Bikram Chandra getting intimate with his wife Anuradha, beautifully essayed by Kirti Kulhari. The aesthetically-shot mise en scène gives you the conviction of connubial bliss between the couple. That is, until the plot soon fires up and she stabs him, descending a dread and awakening an unease that trembles throughout this series. Kulhari here, like many other noir heroines, is apathetic after murdering her husband. It’s after you fully watch the protagonist through the eight episodes, she’s the victim of domestic horrors. “It has been the most intense, challenging role I have played till date. But it’s also the most satisfying one as an actor. I was very drawn to the show because it’s time we spoke about issues such as emotional abuse and marital rape. I met with psychiatrists to understand their perspectives about such cases. There was so much learning about people and their complexities,” she shares about the leg-work that went behind putting on her stellar performance.

Outfit: Rimple & Harpreet, Jewellery: Amrapali

“My marriage has done a lot of good to me”
Her marriage in real life with actor Saahil Sehgal, however, is in complete contrast. She shares, “Being married has only uplifted me as an actor, as a person. It has not affected my career at all. Thanks to my husband, we have travelled the world, explored the cinema together, and explored so many things and conversations together. All these experiences have added a lot of value to my life. My in-laws, too, have always encouraged me, supported me. They have been very appreciative of what I do and how I do it. I have become a far more mature, confident, fearless person, post my wedding.” If this isn’t work-life balance, then we don’t know what is.
Over the years, Sehgal and Kulhari’s relationship has remained something of an enigma, even social media sleuths will attest. “We are just private people. We are not the kind to post pictures at the drop of a hat,” she clarifies. Kulhari, however, gives me a recap of their outer-worldly destination wedding that was. “We got married in Paro, Bhutan. It is a gorgeous destination. My favourite memory is that we were about 90 close friends and family together for three days. There was good food, good vibes and everyone was so happy,” she reminisces.
The bride wore a red Benarasi lehenga, “which was customised by one of Sahil’s aunties. I teamed it with gold net dupatta and a raw silk green kurti-style blouse that was enhanced with zardosi work. My jewellery was simple: I opted for a gold necklace and a maang tikka by Anita Dongre.”

Outfit: Rimple & Harpreet, Jewellery: Amrapali

“I love Indian wear”
Kulhari’s decision to eschew an avant-garde bridal ensemble in favour of a traditional weave was hardly a surprise. “I’m a sucker for simple, understated stuff. For me, less is more. I don’t like being dressed from top to bottom,” she says of her personal style. The actor often relies on Indian wear for different occasions, from social to professional. “I love saris, I love lehengas, I love kurtas. There’s so much culture and craft in India and it reflects in our clothes. Every state has skilled artisans, who have their specialty and create clothes that are pieces of art,” she avers.
During the e-promotions of Criminal Justice: Behind The Doors, she went on to set a high bar for saris in hand-painted options, breezy linen ones, and timeless silks. While she advocates not messing around with the six-yard staple, “I don’t mind experimenting by styling it differently with a playful blouse. Shirt is a great alternative to blouses. I like the idea of loose crop top-like blouses in conventional fabrics. Jackets with saris also look amazing. It’s all about knowing what gives you your distinct style.”

Outfit: Tarun Tahiliani, Jewellery: Amrapali

The actor doesn’t deem herself a jewellery junkie. “Watches are my go-to. Whether I am wearing a necklace or a pair of earrings, I always wear a watch. Like with my outfits, I don’t go overboard with accessorising.” Besides timepieces, her vault includes statement silver, antique pieces of jewellery like earrings.  

“2021 is so far, very good”
Between the considerations over quantity over quality, Kulhari has always consciously picked roles where the woman is multi-faceted. Take her characters in Pink as a modern-day working millennial, Indu Sarkar as a politician or Uri: The Surgical Strike as a pilot of Indian Air Force for instance. “As a woman, I want to talk about the different aspects of being a woman, with all our strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities. I take my role as an actor very seriously. I want to represent everyone in the society, and cinema is a great medium to give voice to people, to stories,” she confirms.

Outfit: Tarun Tahiliani, Jewellery: Amrapali

2021 has meant being back where she belongs—on a set. With her diverse range, she’s also proved her mettle on OTT platforms. “I have started shooting a medical thriller web series called Human with Shefali Shah. It’s produced by Vipul Amrutlal Shah. I have started filming for the third installment of Four More Shots Please! too,” she tells me about the projects that her fans can look forward to. In the Hindi remake of The Girl on the Train, which was released on February 26, 2021, she’s playing a British cop who is “married to her work and is very idealistic in her ways. I had a ball shooting for it in London. I love food in London, watching plays,” she recalls.

Outfit: Raw Mango, Jewellery: Goenka India

“Shooting for Khush was very exciting”
“Post my wedding, I haven’t done a wedding shoot. So, my experience shooting with Pranay [Jaitly] and Shounak [Amonkar] for Khush Wedding was very exciting. I love the fact they had a gold theme going on, and gold is one of my favourite colours for weddings and festive occasions. We tried so many different looks. The Jaipur carpets as the backdrops really added so much richness to the looks.”

Outfit: Seema Gujral, Jewellery: Amaris

Editor-in-Chief: Sonia Ullah
Creative Direction & Styling: Who Wore What When
Production: Studio Gaaba
Photography: Omkar Chitnis
Makeup: Krisann Figueiredo
Hair: Arvind Kumar
Rugs: Jaipur Rugs

Tags : Kirti Kulhari  Celebrity  Bollywood  Actor 
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