in Biriyaani,” says Kani Kusruti Balakrishnan Nair Chennai: Kani Kusruti confesses she was initially a bit reluctant to enact the role of the feisty Khadeeja in ‘Biriyaani’ that won her the Kerala state film award for the best actress, as she found it difficult to understand the nuances of the character. It was only when director Sajin Babu insisted that he only had her in mind for the role she decided to do it, Kani, who was “not expecting the award at all”, said.
The brilliant enactment also secured her the best actress award at the fifth BRICS Film Festival which was held along with the 42nd Moscow International Film festival earlier this month. ‘Biriyaani’ explores the journey of a married Muslim woman (Khadeeja enacted by Kani) towards emancipation.
Babu had narrated the script to her but she was hesitant to do it initially, Kani said. “At first I did not connect with the story or there were places that I could not quite accept as an actor…also for the character Khadeeja I was a bit reluctant and kind of found difficulty in understanding the nuances of the character,” Kani told P T I.
She advised Babu to approach other actors and see if there was someone else that will meet the requirements of the story better than her and that could be a better choice. “…he did go, and then he came back to me again saying he still has only me in his mind…and accepting these disagreements on the story or even for the character, I still decided to do it because very rarely I get an opportunity to do a character that has a beginning, mid-part and an end,” she said.
Babu also admits Kani was hesitant to take up the project initially. “I went back to her and convinced her that the script was written with her in mind…she performed far beyond my expectations and was able to bring out the inner conflicts of the character perfectly,” the filmmaker said.
Kani said the character of Khadeeja was challenging for her in one aspect in that she belongs to a community having her own struggles and fights. “…personally I have my own struggles….but our struggles are very different…in an emotional way I quite understand it but a lot of decisions Khadeeja has made in her hard time in life is probably not the decisions that Kani would possibly make,” she said.
But as an actor with a theatre background, she has been trained to do all kinds of characters and it was not really challenging to do the role, Kani said. About her projects, she said the last play she did was Roshan Mathew’s ‘A Very Normal family.’ Hindi film ‘Tryst with Destiny’ and science fiction comedy ‘OK Computer’ are yet to be released, the last one probably will be streamed on Hotstar in a couple of months, and one Malayalam film ‘Pada’, Kani added..
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