Team Radio City caught up with the ever-so-candid and honest Kangana Ranaut over a quick chat as the actress gears up for the release of her next, ‘Rangoon’. Read ahead.
Kangana, you’ve had your share of relationships and love. What would you suggest to those who are facing hardships related to the matters of the heart?
Kangana: Firstly, I don’t think anyone should listen to me, (laughs). Because if they do, they’ll end up being like me. Having said that, I’d like to speak for women. Women tend to invest themselves a lot in a relationship as they are very tender and caring in their ways. You tend to give too much but not receive anything in return. Your relationship shouldn’t be your weakness or your route to destruction. So, it is good in moderation.
We have fallen in love with the way you look in ‘Rangoon’. How difficult was it to play this role which was physically and mentally demanding?
Kangana: I end up receiving roles somehow that are challenging, both physically and mentally. When the role was offered to me, they wanted to start filming immediately, even though they’d been writing the script of the film for over 7 years. The layers and shades of each character were unimaginable so I had to work hard to get the characterisation right. I had very limited time to prepare for this role but I feel that people will like what they see in the film.
While playing such a character who is bold yet beautiful, did you feel like you were being able to, in a way, portray yourself with this role?
Kangana: I think what was exciting about the role was the time-frame where it was set in. It is being set during the phase of the World War II, when the state of affairs amongst people was not good. So to be able to portray a time-period with sensitivity was what the role demanded. Some of the events that happened during those days tend to affect the equation and intimacy shared between the three characters. That’s exciting. Usually Vishal Bhardwaj’s films are based on a relevant scheme of things. At the moment, what we get to see is a love-story set in a time-period, but the film is a lot more than that.
Usually actors who have worked with Vishal (Bhardwaj) sir tend to feel exhausted at the end of the film? Did you feel likewise?
Kangana: See, the fun of working with him is that his characters are always grey-shaded especially the women in his films. Whether you look at Tabu in ‘Maqbool’ and ‘Haider’ or Priyanka Chopra in ‘Saat Khoon Maaf’, these are women who are predators yet are fighting their own battles. So it becomes challenging to try and play two extremes at once.
You’ve reached such tremendous heights of stardom ever since you chose to change the rules of the game. Does it ever occur to you that you’ve now arrived?
Kangana: You are too kind. That can never happen that you feel content. There will always be a craving for more work. The journey is always more enjoyable than reaching a destination. When I have to celebrate or unwind, I travel to destinations I have never been to and surround myself with baking classes and recreation which helps me destress. Unfortunately I cannot keep up awake, late at night as I end up having a headache nor do I appreciate loud music or drinking, so you will never spot me at a party.
Have you ever felt that your talent intimidates people?
Kangana: It does. Especially, when I work in a commercial environment where everyone wants to fool around. I don’t encounter that while working with actors from parallel cinema. But in a commercial set-up everyone is fooling around and wanting to get entertained, so when I don’t indulge in that, I tend to get misunderstood for being arrogant, which I am not. I just like being disciplined and organised. I do like to fool around but not while I’m at work.
But do you make efforts to break the ice?
Kangana: I attend workshops with my actors. For instance, in my next film, ‘Simran’, I play this woman who is constantly shouted at and ridiculed by her parents, so I end up developing a bond with my actors who play my parents, in order to get the role correct.
How was it reliving a bygone era in ‘Rangoon’?
Kangana: It was difficult. Especially recreating the way films were made in those days. In terms of make-up as well, we used pin-up curls of those days because there were no hot rods available. People used to dress up and apply make-up around trees. There were no vanity vans then. So going back in time was challenging but difficult as well.
You are not on social media. Is it a conscious decision of not wanting to be accessible?
Kangana: I am an extremely sensitive person. I tend to get bothered even if someone says something nasty as a joke. If I read anything bothersome that is related or unrelated to me, I get depressed. So I feel I need to be thick-skinned as an artist so that I can relate and put in my best effort to play the roles I do. I think I will take up social media when I am not acting.
We believe you learnt horse-riding for this role? How difficult was that?
Kangana: It was very difficult. As I would feel very sensitive and kind towards the horses. I used to feel sorry when I had to pull the horse’s cheeks to stop it because I am a vegetarian and I cannot stand any form of violence towards animals. So the instructor would tell me that either you learn horse-riding or leave it. Because the horse will continue running whether you feel kind or not. It was funny but yes, rather difficult. Then I learnt how to use the whip as I play the role of a huntress. Even a bit of sword-fighting which even Saif knows how to use as he’s been learning it since childhood, thanks to him being a Nawab.
Do you watch other movies and try to keep up the inspiration for yourself?
Kangana: I watch very few films. I only watch those that have been discussed widely and have been appreciated a lot. Because I like watching a good film as well. The last film I saw was ‘Dangal’ and I really loved it. Such incredible performances. What I really liked the most about the film was that a feminist film was being led by a superstar. Because usually feminist films are only shown to be women-centric. Another film on similar lines was ‘Pink’. It’s not like men can survive in this world without women. How Aamir let the girls take centre-stage in the film was commendable.
Who is more romantic according to you, Shahid or Saif?
Kangana: Saif is very charming and goofy. In his romantic films, he is always playing this funny character who likes to make you laugh, so definitely, Saif.
So with all the good bucks you make with your movies, how and what does Kangana invest her savings in?
Kangana: I’m getting too carried away with my shopping, off late, (laughs) When I look up my bills, I end up contemplating as to what have I done. My clothes cost so much that I can buy a flat. I’ve indulged a lot and I don’t feel thrilled about it.
Lastly, what is your advice for women?
Kangana: I think women should not let themselves be ridiculed by those who cause harm. We should not feel ashamed of bringing out the truth if we are being harassed, because of fear of being embarrassed. You must counter it fiercely and shame them. Society needs to take responsibility as well. They should not accuse the victim but ensure that the culprits are booked.