Bold and beautiful Kani Kusruti bagged the BRICS best actress award for her sterling role in Sajin Babu’s Biriyaani at the 42nd Moscow International Film Festival that was held from October 1 to 8 this year. This is the first time that a Malayalam film is getting an award at the festival.
“I dedicate this award to PK Rosy, the first heroine of Malayalam cinema and also the first Dalit actress in Indian cinema….I see a lot of amazing actors not being offered characters they could have been amazing at, just because of gaps in the current talent-representation infrastructure. I share this award with all of them and hope that together we will create a new culture of motion picture excellence that will provide equal opportunities to all actors, irrespective of their caste, class or skin colour,” states Kani.
Biriyaani maps the journey of Khadeeja, essayed by Kani, as she tries to negotiate her way to make ends meet in a patriarchal and conservative social set-up. The movie, shown from a woman’s perspective, explores how and why Khadeeja rebels against social and religious norms.
The film was the inaugural movie at the Asiatica festival in Rome, this year and it won the Netpac award for the best film.
Earlier this year, Kani had won the award for second best actress at the Imagine Film Festival at Madrid and was also nominated for the best actor award at the TruBeCa Festival in New York for her act in Prashant Nair’s Tryst with Destiny.
In an earlier interview to MetroPlus, Sajin had said that he could only think of Kani in the role of Khadeeja even while writing the script of the hard-hitting film. He had said that Kani had “understood the character so well that there was no need to tell her anything more about Khadeeja”. He adds that he could only think of Kani while writing the script.
Due to restrictions imposed by the pandemic, Kani was unable to travel and accept her awards in person. However, Kani says with a laugh that, in a way, she is happy as she does not enjoy travelling. “I enjoy being at home, surrounded by greenery on all sides,” she says on a phone call from Goa.
“There are three releases lined up for me this year: Tryst with Destiny, Biriyani, and OK Computer, a sci-fi comedy series directed by Pooja Shetty and Neil Pagedar, and produced by Anand Gandhi,” she adds.