Kangana Ranaut doesn’t believe in conforming to the norms of the industry. She has no qualms in accepting that she lives life as she wants to. She admits to making mistakes, flaunts her flaws and nurtures her strengths. Here, the actor takes us through her ups and downs of 2015, talks about why she will never be a “sati-savitri”, and how award ceremonies today are just a façade.
How do you look back at 2015?
It has been a very important year for me. What people see is just your career graph and the films you do. But that’s a very small aspect of my life. I’ve just started to build a little house in Manali (Himachal Pradesh). That’s me going back to my roots. Laying the first brick of my house was an important decision. I have a house in Mumbai, and I could’ve got a house anywhere in the world. But people in Himachal called me “Himachal ki beti”. I was really overwhelmed with the love I received from my people. Apart from that, I represented India on an international platform and was called the “face of new India”. That, too, was a crucial turning point. I want to do more things like that, and not just stick to acting. I’m not just an actor. Last year, I saw a lot of facets opening up for me to be able to grow. I always wanted to do organic farming, so I’ve set up a farm in Manali now. I always wanted to be a speaker. I don’t think I’m great at it, but I still attended the Leadership Summits organised by Hindustan Times. I want to talk about things. So, 2015 has been amazing. On the career front, it’s been very balanced.
While you won accolades for your performances, you faced your fair share of negativity too.
I don’t think I handled it very well. In retrospect, I think they just wanted to get me excited and do exactly what I did — react.
Who are you referring to?
My contemporaries. They planted stories and set up traps. I went out and condemned those traps and called people out for ganging up. They tried to sabotage my business deals and targeted my position as an artiste, when I was commanding a certain price… so I spoke out publicly, whereas I could have simply enjoyed my time and focused on my work. I was too bothered about shutting people up. Looking back, I am always going to regret doing that, but at the same time, this is me. I have a lot to learn in life. I must not get carried away. I naively fell into the trap. Regardless, I feel that the truth always persists, and these things eventually don’t go anywhere. Having said that, I could have handled it with much more calmness, as opposed to getting so excited.
Having had such experiences, do you now feel that being too honest isn’t the best idea?
I don’t agree. When I came to this city, I understood that I had no one behind me, and that I better do everything with a lot of conviction. I had nothing to fall back on. So, I had to be right. When you are a single girl and you don’t have a rich and influential father, or you don’t want to have sugar daddies, you have to be perfect. This is the only way I could survive, because if they found one flaw in me, they would crucify me. There are people who will target you and God alone knows what they will do to you because they’re so envious. So, the only thing you can fall back on in difficult times is the fact that you are right, honest and they can’t prove you wrong. So this is very important to me. I’m comfortable with the values I follow.
Why do you think statements made by celebrities are often misinterpreted?
I feel that we, as Indians, have a knack for loving a stereotypical, sobbing, sympathy-seeking personality. I feel that we need to promote quirky, cool and youthful talent. We have to stop propagating the sob-story angle of celebs, where they try to be larger-than-life. That is very outdated. It is so boring that it puts you to sleep. The expectations from me are that I am sati-savitri, which I am not. You have to come to terms with the fact that I am today’s woman. I am a total badass, not a sati-savitri. I refuse to become one.
You don’t attend awards functions, and that has its share of repercussions, the biggest being you are probably not getting an award…
It’s okay. I know the consequences of my decisions. I’ve said no to the biggest of brands. So when I say no to something, I know how much business I will lose out on. Not attending awards functions is not just about not getting awards. When you stand against the system, you offend so many influential people. They could be influential CEOs, editors, organisers, and your friends as well. You lose out on so many important relationships and equations on so many levels. Obviously, awards are the least important thing. Anyway, whoever goes to the ceremony gets it. It’s not consequential anymore.
Listen to Kangana’s hit song London Thumakda here
So, are you against the system of awards ceremonies?
I feel it’s hard to stand against the system. But most of the time, the right thing is not the easiest to do. And I choose the right thing.I feel that awards shows today are just a facade that the event organisers put up. They are not genuine awards functions. I understand that these are commercial functions that are meant to generate TRPs and make money. So why this façade of felicitating artistes when that isn’t the case? Genuine artistes, like the best technicians, writers and actors are pushed to the tenth row, and sit with their families, hoping to figure out what’s going on with these fancy people, who are in the news for their relationships and item numbers. The main category goes to people who can help generate TRPs. And they might or might not even be deserving candidates. I feel this is not done and we need to change this. Organisers should be honest in saying that this is not an awards function; it’s just a function. I won’t be part of something so dishonest. I completely condemn them for that reason.
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