For her, acting is not just a passion but a life in itself. She has dedicated her whole life to this art despite facing many obstacles. Kusum Dhar, a senior theatre and TV artist who started her career back in the 1960s and never looked back after that, says she wants to groom young artists of the valley.
Dhar who hails from the Karanagar area of Srinagar city discovered her passion for entertainment and acting at a very young age.
In the 1960s, Dhar started her career as a child artist in Radio Kashmir and then in the 1970s she gained fame and became a household name for portraying negative roles as mother-in-law in the Kashmiri serials on Doordarshan.
She says she was inspired towards acting by her mother. “I was easily drawn to anything creative, especially acting. Being in a family of artists helped me a lot. My mother used to work with Radio Kashmir. Her acting skills inspired me," Dhar told Rising Kashmir.
She says seeing her mother and so many talented people on television and in radio performing and putting their imagination and creativity to life inspired her to believe that she could also make it happen.
For Dhar, her presence in the 1970s and 1980s on television in a conservative society was not easy.
“Initially, people would not appreciate my work. They used to pass comments on me when I would leave for work even in my locality. But my husband supported me a lot,” she says.
Kusum remembers the days in Doordarshan, as a serial actress. “I told my seniors to give me the role of a mother. At the age of 20, I played the role of an old mother-in-law," she recalls.
She credits her husband and mother for her on-screen success. “They have always helped me professionally and personally to grow as an artist.”
Dhar has won several national and state-level awards and was also awarded the ‘Best achievement award for women’ by the Sahitya Akademi.
In the 1990s, Dhar defied all stereotypes to become a prominent female artist from Kashmir. Been in the spotlight for quite some time now, she is inspiring young artists in the Valley to get into acting.
She has also written poetry books ‘Lalwin Dag" and ‘Aash’. “I have started writing poetry since 2002 and almost every good or bad memory in my life has a soundtrack.”