Kangana Ranaut isn’t someone to mince words. She is honest, opinionated and holds her own. But the actor feels that there’s a lack of real people around. She believes everyone’s trying too hard to be someone else. Here, she talks about being her own hero, keeping her individuality intact, and more.
Do you ever miss the life you had before you became a film star?
I like being who I am. I get plenty of space. Yes, there are photographers around, and other people who are interfering sometimes, but I’ve made my peace with that. Also, at times, you don’t want to be clicked, but on the flip side, there are times when you feel good, and you’re okay with it. But I don’t let such stuff get to me. I have become very thick-skinned. I’m very tolerant of it all. I don’t want to go back to not being famous or being jobless, for that matter.
You’ve been around for over a decade, but it was only last year that things changed for the better, and you got ‘accepted’, so to say. Do you feel like you’ve got your due?
Oh, yes. For me, Vishal Bhardwaj was always on my wish list of directors I’d want to work with. There are a few people you aspire to work with, and he’s one of them. And he’s given me this amazing character to work on. I like the fact that people have expectations of me, and I want to perform. I like being in this space. I feel that this is the time I’m getting my due with the films that I’m doing. In terms of the audience’s response, I get tremendous support. I’m amazed to see how many people want to work with me. It’s very surreal.
You’ve been credited for signing films that blur the lines between content-driven and commercial cinema. Do you think Bollywood is breaking stereotypes?
Absolutely, I think how I’ve been accepted, and the kind of love I’ve got is proof that we don’t have to follow a stereotypical path. I tried to fit into that quintessential Bollywood heroine mould for a while, and I just didn’t look convincing. I tried really hard, and finally accepted myself as a hero. It was just so natural for me to be my own saviour that people were like, ‘Okay, we buy that.’ People were happy seeing me save myself.
Maybe that’s what caught people’s attention...
I’d like to say that Vikas (Bahl, film-maker) is one person who saw me as I was. If Anurag Basu (film-maker) launched me in the intense Gangster (2006), then Vikas re-launched me in the comedy genre [with Queen]. And now I’ve become a little coming-of-age kind of an actress, and I’m delighted.
But don’t you feel that sometimes, being too open and opinionated can lead to a backlash.
It’s so sad that everyone is trying hard to be goody two shoes, but we have our own people to blame for that. Openness isn’t appreciated. People like boxing people into different categories — good, bad, etc. Everyone’s trying so hard to fit in that I don’t see real people around. It’s so hard to be yourself.
So, do you think it’s a matter of time before such a change comes along?
I’m not obliged to be the spokesperson of all things good. If I give an opinion, who says everyone has to like it? There’s so much scrutiny for one statement that you get shocked. I think people and their quirks need to be accepted more. Some are quirky, brave, funny, arrogant, intuitive, or shy… so why don’t we see such people around? Why does everyone try to cover it up with a façade? I make sure I have such people around me because I am like them.