Disney+ Hotstar’s Ok Computer, touted India’s first sci-fi comedy released last week. And while it’s studded with well-known actors such as Vijay Varma, Jackie Shroff, Radhika Apte and Rasika Dugal, one actor was a clear stand-out for us. We’re talking about Kani Kusruti, whose performance as the delightfully droll and self-deprecating Monalisa Paul had us chuckling whenever she was on-screen.
Born and bred in Kerala, Kusruti’s social activist parents chose to forgo their last names to make a statement against name-based social hierarchy. At 15, and since it was a requirement for her 10th-grade board exams, Kusruti came up with her last name that means mischievous in Malayalam. An alumna of the prestigious French theatre school L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq, Kusruti made a foray into acting in 2000 with the role of Vasantsena in the Sanskrit farce Bhagavadajjukam staged at the Abhinaya Theatre Research Centre in Thiruvananthapuram.
Her two-decade-long career includes roles in Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi and English films such as Kerala Café, Cocktail, The Notion, Masala Republic, Burma, North 24 Kaatham and more. She recently made headlines when she won The Kerala State Film Award for her portrayal of Khadeeja in Sajin Babu’s Malayalam film Biriyaani. Kusruti dedicated her win to PK Rosy, the first woman actor in Malayalam cinema.
Image courtesy Kani Kusruti’s Facebook