In her over a decade-long career, actress Kirti Kulhari says she has consciously picked roles that give her an opportunity to explore topical subjects that make her grow as an actor and as a person.
Kirti Kulhari made her acting debut in 2010 with a light-hearted film Khichdi: The Movie and went on to appear in commercially and critically-acclaimed films such as Pink (2016), Blackmail (2018), Uri: The Surgical Strike (2019), and Mission Mangal (2019), among others.
Her upcoming medical thriller series Human, also starring Shefali Shah, touches upon a prevalent topic like some of her previous projects Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors (2020), Uri: The Surgical Strike, among others.
Human explores the dark and twisted world of unethical human trials and will touch upon themes like the value of human life, medical malpractice, class divide, and ramifications of a fast-paced medical science, she said.
“I don’t choose projects where I feel I have nothing to learn and grow. I have to learn something both as an actor and as a person and I want people also to take back from it. Like with Criminal Justice, which is about marital rape and abuse, I want to understand that world and that side of society. I look for that. Here (Human) is about understanding the dark underbelly of human drug trials,” Kulhari told PTI in an interview.
With Human, the actor said the key takeaway has been to be empathetic in life. “…Empathy for another is an important quality to have and which is what the show has taught me. I feel so much empathy for her (character) which doesn’t justify the wrongs that people do. But you see the human being that they are and you understand their stories, and offer compassion. The world is currently lacking in this.”
The show is directed by Vipul Amrutlal Shah and Mozez Singh from a script by Singh and Ishani Banerjee. Kulhari said she accepted the show after reading the first five episodes of the show. “The theme is about human drug trials which I had sort of heard about earlier and felt this is important. This topic is never spoken about. It is quite shocking and eye-opening. It was a different world to explore. Then when I called up Vipul, he told me that Shefali is playing Gauri Nath and I was excited and wanted to be part of it,” she said.
In the show, she plays Dr. Gauri’s (Shah) best find Saira Sabbarwal, a cardiologist. For Kulhari, an authentic representation of the world that she explores as an actor with every project be it film or a web show is imperative.
“Representation is important to me. I feel it is my responsibility to represent different people from different sections of society and tell different stories,” she added.
To get into the skin of her character, Kulhari did extensive work such as speaking to doctors, a psychologist and reading articles about human drug trials. She said she would often chat with her sister and brother-in-law who are doctors and had also met a psychologist to discuss some aspects of her character.
“I do extensive work on all my projects,” Kulhari said, citing an example of her special appearance in Vicky Kaushal-starrer Uri: The Surgical Strike, in which she played the role of an Indian Air Force pilot named Seerat Kaur. “It’s the preparation that is the most exciting thing for me. Because that is when I learn so many new things, I get to meet people and truly see a different world.”
For Human, Kulhari said, it was about understanding the personal aspect of Saira Sabharwal, her fears, and the light that she has. “I read some articles on what happened and my writers had researched too. It is also important to look like a doctor, so when I was talking to my sister, brother-in-law, and other doctors, I was trying to understand how they are as doctors and can I categorize them in the same bracket as doctors. I had to look at that individuality and build Saira. There are things that I can’t speak about,” she said, adding, she also relied on her writer, director to create the character.
Human also stars Vishal Jethwa of Mardaani 2 (2019) fame, Ram Kapoor, Seema Biswas, Aditya Srivastava, and Mohan Agashe, among others. Produced by Shah’s Sunshine Pictures Pvt. Ltd, the show is set to premiere on Disney+ Hotstar on January 14 and will also be available on Hulu for overseas audiences.
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