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Interview – Kangana Ranaut: ‘I’m called the Leading Face of the Indian Film Industry.’

Kangana Ranaut has been in the news for a lot lately, and frankly, we can’t have enough. The independent actress chats about her failures, her life and her film, ‘Simran’.

Tell us about your character.
Well, I played Simran in Gangster. She’s quite similar to this character. Gangster was a life changing experience for me, and that Simran moment changed my life. This movie’s character has never had that moment happen to her. The rest you will know when you watch the movie!

Do you still feel like an outsider in Bollywood?
There is nothing like that. I’ve done a lot in Bollywood, I’ve brought it a lot of awards. I’m called the leading face of the Hindi film industry. I have received a lot of accolades. I have broken box office records and have gotten 3 National Awards. I’m an integral part and so, how can I be an outsider?

How did you deal with your failures, before you became a successful working actress?
With the failure of Rangoon, it affected me a lot. I had worked very hard and so, I had a lot of expectations from it. I had a reality check too. When I left my hometown, I expected to achieve certain things. I have done a lot more than that and so, my dreams have grown since. I have become too hard on myself and so, Rangoon’s failure taught me to relax a little to stop this vicious cycle. Apart from that, with the recent occurrences, I’ve realized the worst has already happened and so, I don’t really mind anymore.

You don’t work with a lot of well established actresses. Is that a conscious decision?
Well, if I am giving my time to a film and working hard, I would like to be the lead. I’ve had experiences working with well established actresses and the outcome hasn’t been very good.

Is it lonely at the top?
I believe as long as you have family and friends beside you, it isn’t lonely. However, you know, as they say someone is alone even in a crowd – I do feel that way sometimes. I have friends in the industry who support and love me, and are there for me when I need them.

In Queen, you play a woman who goes for her honeymoon alone. Here, you are someone who doesn’t go looking for a partner. Is that a kind of character you like to portray?
Hindi films have always portrayed women as submissive characters, people leave them and they cry and they can’t survive alone. I’m getting a chance to play characters that are different, women who are independent, who are human. My character is a divorcee, it’s a progressive thing, right? It shows that there are things in life apart from love for women. She also wants to drive nice cars and eat at great places. She wants to wear beautiful clothes and wants people to respect her. It’s shown so beautifully!

There is an undercurrent of humour in the trailer.
Oh yes! I’m a huge fan of Hansal (Mehta) sir’s films and this is a very real person. I just wanted to do something fun in the film. I like films that have just a little bit of masti, so I had a couple of suggestions!

People associate marriage to women however successful they get. People get concerned about who the woman will marry if she is so successful. Do you believe this is true?
Of course. If a woman is young, rich and successful, the first notion is that she slept her way to the top. Even with women producers, people say, ‘She’s calling them into her room for casting’. This is very small minded of people. Why is this the way people speak about only women?

What’s your idea of feminism?
It’s equality! We are just asking for our rights. We are saying that women and men should be treated the same way and it doesn’t exist in a healthy society. This is the medicine to treat our sick society.

Is it hard for you to find love in Bollywood?
It’s not like that! Sure, as artists, we are more sensitive by nature, and that may lead to problems sometimes. But it isn’t difficult.

A lot off actresses have become producers, but you became involved with writing. Was that a conscious decision?
I’m actually very proud of actresses who are turning producers. We need more women producers and directors. In fact, when I started, there were very few women ADs. There were mostly men on set. But, now that is changing and I’m glad. However, I got involved with writing because I love it.

Did any research go into your character?
Well, not really. She is a criminal and to me, a crime is a crime, whether a murder or theft. She isn’t a hardened criminal though. I feel like people who have committed mistakes are portrayed very extremely onscreen. They’re shown as black or white. But a crime changes their life, but the person remains the same. This is the story of how a pure soul is corrupted by wants.

Why did you choose ‘Teju’ to be your directorial debut?
Well, I’ve always wanted to direct a children’s film. It’s very light hearted and fun and I cannot wait!

You’ve said that you like to get involved in production of fims. Recently, one of the crew died on the sets of Anushka Sharma’s film and a similar incident occurred on another film set. What are your impressions on that?
See, there is no dignity of labour. They have unions, but they aren’t as strict as they should be. They don’t have insurance and in terms of safety measures, forget it. In fact, I’ve had accidents on set! It needs to change. Human life is so cheap in the industry, that’s the way people look at it. It’s very sad.

Simran releases on 15th September 2017!

Watch the trailer here!

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