Kangana Ranaut on playing Jayalalithaa in Thalaivi: Was on hormone tablets

Updated: 25 November, 2019 10:58 IST | Upala KBR | Mumbai

Thalaivi actor Kangana Ranaut discusses gaining weight to play Jayalalithaa, employing prosthetics for features that her transformation couldn't address.

Kangana Ranaut's first look as Jayalalithaa
Kangana Ranaut's first look as Jayalalithaa

Kangana Ranaut addresses questions on her commendable avatar in AL Vijay's directorial venture. But Ranaut is a picture of calm as she addresses questions on her commendable transformation in AL Vijay's directorial venture.

"[When aping a person for cinema], actors usually get the apparel and appearances on point, but not the physical transformation. Vijay wanted me to resemble her as closely as possible. She [Jayalalithaa] endured a drastic physical transformation in her life. Having grown up as a Bharatanatyam dancer, she had an hour-glass figure. Then, when she joined politics, she had an accident which demanded that she be injected with huge doses of steroids. While we could not depict all of that, we did take measures [to resemble her during these phases]."

Having previously spoken about her struggle to gain weight, Ranaut says that for this film, she put on six kilos. "That was needed so as to look voluptuous, especially around the belly and thighs. Since I am tall and skinny, and my face is angular, not round, I had to take mild doses of hormone pills to look different. Of course, I also started eating foods that promote weight gain."

File photo of the late politician. Pic/AFP
File photo of the late politician. Pic/AFP

For the features that the pills couldn't address, Ranaut sought aid from Jason Collins, who has worked on the prosthetics for big-ticket Hollywood actioners like Blade Runner 2049 and Captain Marvel. "His team made a structure that was suitable to make me look voluptuous. During the portions showcasing her as a young politician, we aimed to only make my face look fuller. As for the rest of the body, it took the team seven hours each day to acquire the look. The hands had to be re-done, and different kinds of pads were used for different parts of the body."

But even as the makers worked diligently to address the physical nitty-grittys, Ranaut, as vociferous as she is, knew that it was acquiring Jayalalithaa's soft-spoken demeanour that would be the toughest feat to achieve. "She was strong-willed; I am fiery. Acquiring her demeanour [was a challenge]. It's a body language that I am being introduced to for the first time."

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First Published: 25 November, 2019 07:03 IST

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