Kusum Manohar Lele is based on a true incident in Pune when a young Sujata unknowingly marries a married man Manohar Lele. The marriage to Sujata was a set up by Manohar and his first wife Kusum only for a child. Kusum was unable to conceive and that is when the plan to have Manohar marry another for a child was hatched.
Says Anangsha, “It’s a dream for an actor to perform such a complex character. Kusum is really layered and complicated but at the root of her behavior is the simple craving for a child. This need becomes so powerful and undeniable that the line between right and wrong becomes blurred for Kusum.”
One of the key scenes in the play really challenged her as a performer and she shares, “The scene when Kusum loses her baby to Sujata was supremely cathartic for me. A lot of her pain and desperation stem from the fact that society even today questions a woman’s womanhood if she can’t have children. She almost loses rationality to prove a point to her detractors. To show the onset of this delusion in a subtle way was very challenging.”
About the discipline of theatre, she says, “I owe so much to theatre as it has not only helped me as a performer but also as a human. It has taught me humility and to respect time. It has made me confident about my craft and to be a lifelong learner. I now know that as an actor, you can never know it all and are constantly a work in progress.”
The play is directed by Rajan Tamhane and also stars Shweta Basu Prasad, Gagan Dev Riar, Savita Prabhune, Sneha Chavan and Suneel Pushkarna.