For a long time now, Kani Kusruti has resigned herself to the likelihood that she will never quite reach the top tier of mainstream Malayalam cinema. Even having won international accolades and the Best Actress Award at the Kerala State Film Awards for her role as Khadeeja in Sajin Babu’s Biriyaani, she remains circumspect. While the 35-year-old actor has constantly intrigued viewers with her choice of roles and immersive portrayals, she believes that being typecast as ‘unconventional’ has limited her prospects.
That, of course, does not mean she is ‘conventional’, which became clear when she spoke to HuffPost India about her progressive upbringing and a career that has been more about testing boundaries than taking the centrestage. Even her lifestyle defies what one might expect of an award-winning actor.
It has been two years since Kani Kusruti (a self-given surname, ‘Kusruti’ means ‘mischief’) shifted base from Mumbai to Goa, and she has been savouring a spell of relative isolation ever since the lockdown began. This phase of partial inactivity and quietness, according to her, has been “absolutely satisfying and a privilege”. She is taking sitar lessons, watching movies recommended by friends, and reading a lot. While she does miss Kochi, she admits that it can get too “noisy” and that peace, quiet, and stability appeal to her as a welcome contrast to the constant travel and hotel stays that her work often demands. She is disarmingly candid and has an infectious laugh, but she is quick to point out that though she is friendly, she does not make friends easily.
She also has a light touch when it comes to self-promotion – her Facebook wall, for instance, looks rather muted for someone who has just won a major award. She smiled when asked about this. “I shared an interview I did after the awards. Anyway, people came to know about the award so I did not...