Koel Purie shares her insights on different cities, her literary pursuits, following her passions, and her return to cinema

A journey of unveilings.

Harper's Bazaar India

A vivid recollection of Koel Purie gracing the red couch lingers in my memory. On the Couch with Koel was a binge-worthy show where she masterfully revealed celebrated individuals in their unguarded moments. Seated across from her in a conference room, the scene had shifted, but Purie’s effervescent persona remained intact. Notably, her zeal was not just for her debut novel Clearly Invisible in Paris, but for life’s very essence. A cosmopolitan citizen navigating diverse avenues, Koel brings an infectious joy to all her endeavours. As we settled with iced lattes and cappuccinos, our conversation ventured into the world of her debut novel and the tapestry that makes Purie distinctly remarkable. 

Exploring the Tale of a Global Citizen

Purie’s life is an intricately woven tapestry that spans across cultures and societies, taking us from the bustling streets of Delhi to the storied halls of London. An actress, writer, and cultural commentator, her experiences weave together continents. Fondly reminiscing, she recalls the greatness of London, the charm of Paris, the energy of Tokyo, and the familiarity of Delhi. Her journey encapsulates the evolving narrative of cosmopolitan living, bridging the gap between East and West, urban landscapes and tranquil hideaways.

Paris and Delhi: A Parallel Unveiled

Her insights into the parallelism between Parisian and Delhi snobbery intrigues and captivates. With her nuanced comparison, she unveils the essence of two dynamic cities. Paris, with its aloof charm, mirrors Delhi’s snobbery, yet the City of Light magnifies this trait, creating a unique aura that is entirely its own.

Parisian Dichotomy: Where Love Meets Aloofness

The duality of Paris finds its voice in Purie’s reflections. As a writer, she masterfully captures the paradoxes of the city—a haven for both romance and aloofness, an egalitarian society rife with deep divisions. Her words resonate with the underlying tensions beneath Paris’s enchanting façade, where freedom is juxtaposed with insularity and detachment, much like the coexistence of fashion weeks and the refugee crisis.

Championing Pioneering Voices: “Aaj Ki Nari”

Purie’s life revolves around women’s narratives, a recurrent theme in her work. Her groundbreaking show ‘Aaj Ki Nari’, ahead of its time, centred on amplifying the female voice, uniting generations through diverse perspectives. Though she refrains from labelling herself an activist, her choices and experiences inherently encapsulate the essence of feminism. A thread connects her work, spanning from ‘Aaj Ki Nari’ to her latest literary endeavour, embodying strong women and advocating authenticity and women’s empowerment.

Navigating Creative Passions: Crafting her Debut Novel

Purie’s journey as an author stands as a testament to her creative passion. The inception of her book was sparked by an insatiable desire to share stories. “I wanted to tell this story, I didn’t even know what the story was at that point,” she reveals. Her creative process mirrors the unique journey of her writing, flowing organically. With honesty and humility, she shares glimpses of inspiration and the thrill of the writing process. A chance encounter with a housekeeper’s tale ignited her imagination, leading to a cascade of ideas and words. Her book delves into the theme of strong friendships, a subject she holds dear due to her own experiences. She adds, “Home is nothing but two strong arms that are holding you up. Home is a person. Home is people. Home is not necessarily a place.”

Return to Cinema: A Grand Reentry

Her comeback isn’t traditional; she features in the eagerly anticipated adaptation of Archie’s, a collaboration with young talents and esteemed director Zoya Akhtar. Set in the 1960s, the period film provides a canvas for Purie to channel her seasoned acting skills, promising both visual grandeur and narrative richness. Her return to the cinema and the OTT realm allowed her to witness the transformations within the Indian film industry. She notes the emergence of unconventional films and the proliferation of diverse roles for actors, reflecting a departure from conventional norms. Her partnership with young actors offers a fresh perspective on the ongoing metamorphosis of the industry. As our conversation concludes, I inquire about advice for her younger self, to which she responds with sagacious wisdom: “Trust who you are”. Her emphasis on authenticity and self-acceptance resonates deeply, underscoring the distinction between self-confidence and self-acceptance—a timeless lesson that holds relevance across generations