Kangana Ranaut: The rebel who forged her own path, one film at a time
Kangana Ranaut had in 2021 reflected on the notions of success and failure. She said “people will abandon you” if you fail, and “pull you down and target you” if you succeed.
“You have to be alone because they say ‘the winner is alone’. You can never decide which is worse, success or failure,” she wrote in her Instagram Story. manners, by Kangana the words reflected the philosophy of his life and how the actor had made his way to Bollywood.
Born in the small town of Himachal Pradesh called Bhambla, Kangana has always been a rebel. From fighting for equality at home to surviving on the bare minimum during her early days in Mumbai, Kangana’s journey is total Bollywood mush.
Kangana left behind his parents’ dream of seeing her as a doctor. She even quit modeling because she found “no room for creativity” in it. And we can only thank one of his theater colleagues whose absence during a play by the Asmita Theater Group in Delhi gave him the direction. This gave him the opportunity to play not only his role, but even that of the missing male actor. It was a sign to her that she was destined for greater things.
Although many call her lucky to have landed Gangster (2006), she was not Mahesh Bhatt’s first choice. He wanted Chitrangada Singh who couldn’t take on the role, paving the way for Kangana. Her very next was Woh Lamhe the same year, where her role was inspired by the tragic life of erstwhile diva Parveen Babi. Portraying a strong but broken character proved her acting skills. This required her to bare her heart and emotions to relive the role, which she says left her “emotionally drained”.
His real struggle to fit the bill, however, started from here. In Shakalaka Boom Boom, she had a feud with director Suneel Darshan after dubbing her voice. He said he needed a specific “twang and accent” for his character. Later, she was unhappy with Kites for cutting a significant portion of her role. She’s been reduced to arm candy in box office duds like Knock, No Problem, Game, Rascals, Tezz and Miley Naa Miley Hum. She also called Rangoon’s failure a “reality check”.
But Kangana never had any qualms. She followed all the hiccups with box office hits too. She reunited with Anurag Basu in Life in a Metro. Raaz: The Mystery Continues, Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai and Double Dhamaal also gave him some respite.
Soon after, three films were released which changed the course of her career – Fashion (2008), Tanu Weds Manu (2011) and Queen (2014). After the Wadala shootings in 2013, Kangana told PTI, “Ironically the movies where I played the role of a gangster have been hits. But I don’t read too much into them. I’m an actor and at At the end of the day, delivering a good solid performance is my priority.
Kangana has had a diverse filmography. She played a distressed woman in Woh Lamhe and Raaz, added punch in Rascals and Kites, played screen stealer roles in Fashion and Queen.
The recipient of four National Film Awards, Kangana told TOI after winning her first for playing a drug-addicted model in fashion. “After Gangster, Metro and Woh Lamhe, I was hungry for something more. They were all lead roles in female-centric films and in ‘Fashion’, I had a small supporting role. I watch back and I see myself as a teenager, I’m like “I’m such a dynamite of energy that I wanted to do so badly” I think I packed it all in the little time I had.
Kangana continued to do Queen on a shoestring budget. In fact, it was said that she didn’t charge a dime until the movie hit the runway. Her Queen career position has only strengthened her position in the film industry. The rest, as they say, is history – she won numerous awards for her performances, became a director and producer.