Spitting in the face of criticism is an actress who will say what she feels, do what she likes, and act like a dream. Presenting Kangana Ranaut unplugged
If there is one actress you can count on to defy diplomacy, it's Kangana Ranaut. While the Indian entertainment industry applauds Priyanka Chopra's Hollywood-bastion-breach, even honouring her for the feat with an award that labels her an icon, Kangana doesn't think it's special. While another A-lister, Deepika Padukone, followed PeeCee, landing a part in Vin Diesel-starrer 'xXx: Return of Xander Cage', Kangana says she has no aspirations of going international. "It would be stupid for anyone to make the move to the West now. Their theatre business is crashing because of the influx of digital media. Asia, on the other hand, is where Hollywood was 15 years ago. It is a lucrative time for entertainment here. These are baits that I won't fall prey to."
Presumably taking a potshot at Deepika, who ensured a traditional desi welcome for her first Hollywood co-star, Diesel, Kangana pooh-pooh's the "dhol and nagadas". Taking the indigenous-talent-first stance, she says, "If an American film ['The Jungle Book', 2016] is doing Rs 100 crore business, and not all our films are able to, we may not find adequate screens for home-bred films 10 years down the line. I'm all for world cinema, but it needs to be a film that brings employment and money into our country. I don't wish to offer myself on a platter to another industry."
Show me some spine
Self-admittedly "opinionated and inherently badass", Kangana is trying to bring the forgotten brand of boisterous women to screen. But, she is disappointed that she doesn't have company along the way. Most of her contemporaries, she says, find it impossible to be frank without fearing backlash. "Women are raised to believe they are healers. They can only nurture. People appreciate the goody two-shoes. Even the most successful women want to be liked by others. There is the alluring promise of heaven for those who can love selflessly. It's fine if they can't look themselves in the eye, but the world should see them as the epitome of holiness. They [her colleagues] don't stand up for themselves, forget doing it for others."
Men can get intimidated
Films, then, are only mirroring the majority view, she argues. While she has "faith in the badass generation of girls", she fears that most women fall in the trap of placating men, some of whom enjoy the timid archetype. "Intimidating women aren't worth having sex with," she says, scoffing at the patriarchal view. "Bold, stubborn women, who are achievers, are desirable only to those who are strong and assured. [For some men] it's frightening to handle a woman who can speak her mind. Thankfully, that's not true of everyone. Courage is often endearing and rare."
She is perhaps referring to last year, one of her most trying on the personal front. An ugly public war with actor Hrithik Roshan over an alleged relationship and leaked emails led to accusations of impersonation and hacking of accounts. "I was dragged to court for being who I am. I was restricted to a relationship that was [carried out] behind closed doors and I fought it fair and square. People [can] talk rubbish, but they can't decide how I lead my life. I felt stigmatised. I would wake up to [media reports] of hideous mails, which I hadn't written. I am a certified screenwriter from the New York Film Academy. I don't write such crap (laughs)."
Won't stand bullying
The game face may be on, but the hurt escapes the veneer now and then. Kangana admits to feeling betrayed because "someone I once shared a beautiful equation with did it… and with such malice. It hurt me". She speaks of receiving a legal notice, demanding an apology for the claims she made in public. "I refused. I never completely understood the story -- who was impersonating whom? I was threatened that horrifying secrets about me would be revealed. My parents were concerned for my safety, but I couldn't bear it quietly. There was a group of jealous hats wandering around him (Hrithik), using him to aim vengeance at me," she says. But the actress isn't disillusioned. She says she fortunately found as many supporters as critics. "The film industry is a lovely place. They really cared for me. Prove what you are claiming and then I may apologise. I won't stand bullying," says Kangana.