When she was making her debut in Anurag Basu’s Gangster a year ago, her mentor and producer Mahesh Bhatt rated her as the lady to look forward to.
Kangana Ranaut then played a role designed on Bhatt’s one-time beloved Parveen Babi, in the biographical Woh Lamhe.
Neither Gangster nor Woh Lamhe were huge successes at the box office, but Kangna got enough mileage. With directors such as Suneel Darshan and a production house of the stature of UTV, which produced films like Parineeta and Rang De Basanti, singing her up (for Shakalaka Boom Boom and Metro, respectively), there is reason to take her seriously.
However, Kangana seems to have her feet firmly on the ground.
“I am not here to do five or six films a year. What is important is doing films that I would like to,” she says.
The girl from Himachal Pradesh says she hasn’t changed much post stardom, but admits she has grown as a human being.
“My grey cells are finally working. When I started off, I didn’t know what kind of movie I should do. When I look back I feel so scared. I had no inspiration from any actor,” she says.
Kangana has also learnt to handle things on screen — “You just have to take it easy as it is so unpredictable. I believe honest performances work” — and off-screen (her relationship with actor Aditya Panscholi).
Her latest release, Darshan’s Shakalaka…, is different from Gangster and Woh Lamhe. The film, which has her along with Bobby Deol, Upen Patel and Celina Jaitley, is youthful and fun.
“Thankfully, I am not drunk or shouting on the streets (as she did in her first two releases,” says Kangna, who plays Ruhi, a singer who is well dressed. And, guess what, “I get to dance”.
Shakalaka… is a paradigm shift from the normal filmmaking style adopted by Darshan, who is known for his clichéd family dramas. The focus in this film is on the music industry. Going by the promos it seems to be a typical masala movie.
“It’s a light film. There’s nothing earth shattering. My character is strong. She is a practical girl,” says Kangana, who has learnt kathak.
Kangna says it is important to trust one’s director. “You should not always be fussy about films and filmmakers,” she feels.