She’s just moved into a new apartment that a friend from the US has likened to a five-star hotel in Las Vegas. Why Vegas? Does it have the casino look? “No,” laughs Kangna Ranaut. “It’s just swanky. But I’m thrilled with the compliment because it means all those months of hard work in renovating it has paid off.”Ranaut is gearing up for a career turnaround. After a string of serious, often suicidal roles, the 23-year-old actor now has a string of comic capers lining up for release, starting with this Friday’s No Problem. Actor-producer Anil Kapoor is already comparing her to his Mr India co-star, Sridevi, and Ranaut is in heaven. A self-confessed Sridevi fan, Ranaut admits that she insisted on wearing colourful bangles in one of her forthcoming films, Tanu Weds Manu, because it reminded her of the actor’s Chandni chartbuster, ‘Mere haathon mein nau nau chudiyan hai…’. Shehopes to step into the vacuum left behind by Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit’s exits.
“When I was dabbling in theatre, I had plenty of opportunities to do lighter roles. My dark humour is a hit with my family and friends. But since it’s not easy for me to mingle with strangers, those outside my inner circle only know the Kangna they’ve seen in the movies or who the media has projected me to be. I’m delighted that they will finally get to know the real Kangna,” she beams.
Her character in No Problem is young, snooty and believes she is the most beautiful woman in the world. Did she have a Miss World or a Miss Universe in mind, considering she’s shared screen space with Sushmita Sen in the film? “No, beauty queens are intelligent and wise, just look at Sushmita. Sanjana (Ranaut’s character), on the other hand, is pretty dumb. But it was so much fun playing her. I laughed from morning to night. I could never relate to the characters I played in Gangster (2006) and Fashion (2008) in the same way,” she admits.
But won’t all the on-screen fun and games erode the impact of her previous power-packed portrayals? “No one can take a Gangster or a Fashion away from me, they are history! But as an actor, I can’t do intense roles all my life,” she shrugs, nonchalantly. “Besides, there’s no way I could turn down seasoned directors like Indra Kumarji and Davidji (David Dhawan), whose comedies I have grown up watching.”
Apparently, Vidya Balan refused because she did not think the role was substantial enough. Yet, Ranaut has not only grabbed it, but has even agreed to wear a bikini and give co-star Mallika Sherawat a run for her money. That draws a laugh, “No, I’m not wearing a bikini and nobody can compete with Mallika in the ‘sexy’ department. She’s a beautiful person and I love her.”
Maanyata Dutt is another good friend and Ranaut is a part of Sanjay Dutt’s home production. But with a trio of rascals — Dutt, Ajay Devgn and Arjun Rampal — around, won’t the National Award winner end up being just a ditzy doll? She retorts, “Yes, Rascals revolves around these three guys, but they are all chasing after one girl… me! Need I say more?”