Kalki Koechlin: 'I used to feel so depressed about my look'
The actress was forced to chop her hair off and dress in badly-fitting clothes for the role.
She told Mid Day: "Dibakar Banerjee wanted me to look ugly and vulnerable. The first thing that he did was chop my hair and make it really short. Then he gave me these clothes that were really grungy with jagged T-shirts and all. I wasn't allowed to look very comfortable or feminine.
"The idea was to bring on certain vulnerability and awkwardness to my character. There is not an ounce of glamour that I bring in Shanghai. Dibakar said that I had to be ugly, but adorable. Now that was a strange mix I had to bring on screen.
"Dibakar is presenting me as someone who is not an accepted person; she is an outsider. So basically everybody stares at her and people just think that she doesn't belong to their world."
Kalki added that the most difficult part of her transformation was seeing her hair get chopped off, commenting: "Time and again people ask whether Dibakar brings actors out of their comfort zone. Well, here was my moment of getting into that discomfort zone the minute my hair was cut. I used to be so depressed on waking up in the morning. I thought I looked like a complete idiot."
She added that her co-stars Abhay Deol and Emraan Hashmi were also cast against type in the film.
Director Banerjee has said that the public will be shocked by the radically different looks of the two male leads.
Koechlin recently called on her Twitter followers to watch her film The Girl in Yellow Boots so it could break even.