From the laid-back charm of the town of Bhambla in Himachal Pradesh, to the glitzy Bollywood life of Mumbai — Kangana Ranaut’s journey has been a long one.
And no part of it has been easy. Yet the actor has no regrets.
This is her eighth year in Bollywood and the roller-coaster ride that her life has been, says Kangana, has only made her "more mature" than she already was.
She insists that, even as a young girl, she was always ahead of her time. In this interview, the actor tells us what sets her apart from the crowd:
What do you think makes you different?
I was unlike any other girl in my hometown. Girls there are coy. They lack confidence and are very content with what they have. Their lives are always about pleasing others. I have never fit into that zone. My mother was like that — a typical homely woman. My sister, to an extent, was also… but not so much. I was always too modern for the mountains. The way I dressed, spoke and carried myself was considered unusual there.
So was it your confidence that worked?
Maybe even over confidence… and initially I was told off for being like that. I have my own ways that I would use to try and get attention. But of course, with time, you change and understand things. I was always a little bit of a rebel.
Eight years in Bollywood and you’re doing well for yourself. Are you content now?
I don’t know. I think I need to move on from acting. I’ve started to feel stagnant now. I remember having told my father a long time ago, that I need to discover myself. I have a bigger purpose in life, I feel. I don’t want to get busy with just acting.
Going to New York is just a reason (the actor is currently in the US, pursuing a course in screenwriting). I actually need a break. I want to do things normal people do — catch a bus, do my own laundry and cook my own food. I miss being that girl. And I think this break will give me the clarity that I need.
Was it really difficult for you to relate to a small-town girl’s character, considering you too were born in a small town?
I was never a typical small-town girl. So, for the role, I had to be someone else; someone I never was in spite of my surroundings. For days before we started shooting for the film abroad, I would wear the clothes that suited my character and walk the streets behaving like her. That practice helped me understand the role. This is where the real challenges of an actor come in.
You think all the efforts you have put in will come across?
Absolutely. The kind of response I have received for this role is something I have never experienced before. I think, as a film, you can’t put Queen in any genre. It’s, in fact, a genre-breaking movie, with reflections and impressions of the society.