Her unconventional looks and frizzy hair landed her atypical roles in Bollywood. Kangana Ranaut now harbours a dream of donning the director's hat and already has a script in mind.
"I'm quite happy with how my career is moving, but in terms of the future, soon, I guess I'd like to direct a movie. I have a script in mind. Let's see where it goes," Kangana told IANS in an interview. She revealed her plans, but refrained from divulging details.
The 23-year-old sailed into Bollywood with the crime-based romantic saga, Gangster - A Love Story (2006), where director Anurag Basu presented her as a gangster's girlfriend. The actress won accolades for her portrayal in the critically and commercially acclaimed film.
After that she again chose to play an unconventional role in Woh Lamhe, which was filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt's final goodbye to former girlfriend Parveen Babi. In the film, Kangana brilliantly portrayed the late actress' madness and despair.
Again in Life In A... Metro, a film about big city people coping with emotional and psychological trauma, Basu presented her as a call centre executive who is in a relationship with her married boss.
With Bhandarkar's Fashion, a dark tale about the fashion industry, she hit bull's eye. Her stupendous performance where she brings forth the miseries of an ex-ramp queen won her a National Award.
Most of her films have seen her in tragic roles; as a result she is often referred to as a modern day tragedy queen, a title once given to legendary actress Meena Kumari for playing grief-stricken characters.
"It's been quite a journey...I came to the industry when I was just 17 with no real idea of what to expect. I was fortunate that Gangster was a huge hit at the box office. I won a lot of awards and the industry gave me another chance.
"Otherwise, it's an industry that's very unforgiving towards outsiders. This year I'm trying a lot of new genres, different films. It's been a lot of hard work but also lots of fun," revealed the actress, who was last seen romancing Bollywood heartthrob Hrithik Roshan in Kites.
At the moment, Kangana's kitty is full of light-hearted films like Double Dhamaal, No Problem, and Tanu Weds Manu. She is also doing Rascals, Game and Tezz.
Her next release is Knock Out where she will share screen space with with Sanjay Dutt and Irrfan Khan. Kangana plays a journalist in the psychological thriller, which is releasing Oct 15.
Knock Out is a very different film from anything I've done before. The entire film takes place in two hours and was almost shot in one location. It's a fast paced action thriller that I think people will really enjoy," she said.
Directed by Mani Shankar, Knock Out is a Bollywood adaptation of Hollywood film Phone Booth. After playing all kinds of roles, Kangana will be seen as a scribe in the movie.
"I studied the body language of journalists reporting from crime scenes for my role, but there was this one point in the film where I actually got a chance to experience the urgency and intensity journalists experience every day.
"This was a shot where a car was supposed to fly up in the air and land on the ground. Instead of landing like it was supposed to, the car caught fire and came spinning at a very fast speed towards me. I managed to get out of its way in time, but got a real first-hand experience of the dangers journalists face on the job," she said.
The actress has given a makeover to the image of crime journalists by sporting stilettos and off shoulder dresses in the film.
Apart from acting, she is also trying her hand at designing. She has herself created clothes for the movies Rascals and Tezz. She may soon launch her clothing line.
When asked whether she was looking for love, she said: "With so much work on my plate, I'm happily single for now!"
(Ruchika Kher can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org )