Making space with grace

Kangana Ranaut on carving out a niche despite social barriers

Ians October 12, 2015
Kangana feels she’s accomplished great heights because she kept faith in herself. PHOTO: FILE

LONDON: Her journey from a small town to reigning over the world of showbiz was no ‘fairytale’. Kangana Ranaut, who has earned the epithet of Bollywood’s ‘Queen’, feels that instead of hoping to be taken seriously, female actors need to get up and demand it.

The actor, who is known for speaking her mind with brazen honesty, is pessimistic about India becoming a safer place for women any time soon as she terms it a “little impractical”. Kangana delved on the truths behind the glamorous life of Bollywood and the life of being a woman in India while talking to BBC News at the Women in the World Summit in London.

When asked how Indian actresses can assure that they are taken seriously, Kangana shared, “As women we shouldn’t hope to get our due — we need to get up and get it ourselves.” Kangana, who is touted as the highest paid actress in Bollywood, said that safety for women in India is “not achievable”.  “I think that’s a little impractical to hope [for],” she said.

Read: Bollywood films 'objectify' women, says Kangana Ranaut

She has utmost confidence in womankind but mentioned that “the darkest and deepest corners of the human soul have always been feminine. They offer the only way to penetrate the darkness — not anger or aggressive masculine emotions.”

Coming from Himachal Pradesh and with no film background, Kangana has made a niche for herself in Bollywood and delivered path-breaking films like Fashion, Tanu Weds Manu and Tanu Weds Manu Returns. She also had to face some setbacks with flops like Rajjo, Rascals, Game and her latest Katti Batti.

Asked if it was easy to find success, she quipped, “I have struggled for the last 10 years.”

Read: When I was struggling people treated me so badly Kangana Ranaut

Talking of her initial days of struggle, the actor added “It was no fairytale. I was nothing like I am today — I couldn’t speak a word of English. In England, people might be understanding of that, but if you don’t speak English in Mumbai, people would ask, ‘How does she expect to work in Hindi films?’”

“Today I am who I am because my understanding of myself never changed.” Having grown up in a small town, Kangana stressed that as a girl she was at odds with Indian culture. “Perhaps the only expectation is that you grow up as a presentable young woman and get a decent spouse. I was a pain; not the kind of child an Indian parent would like to have,” stated Kangana.

Read: Amitabh Bachchan At work with the wonder called Kangana Ranaut

She decided to run away on a “quest to understand her own self, to be allowed to be more than people thought she was.” 

Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2015.

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