Happy Birthday Kangana Ranaut: Despite Flaws, Why the Actress Continues to Inspire Women
For every small town girl harbouring a dream to make it big in the film industry, there is Kangana’s story to draw inspiration from.
A screen grab of the episode of Koffee With Karan. Via Facebook/StarwordIndia
She may be hated for her honest opinions on matters. She may be envied for the kind of films that are offered to her, but there is no denying that Kangana Ranaut is the new poster girl from Bollywood who is loved and speculated in equal measures.
Her best actress national award win (second year in a row) for Tanu Weds Manu Returns couldn’t have been better timed. The country was still discussing her legal battle with Hrithik Roshan and their hush-hush affair that went awry when the awards were announced. Their were reports on how most actors were distancing themselves from working with her because of her blunt, outspoken nature. But the award changed dynamics within the industry.
Her success story is almost like a plot from a Bollywood film. Born in a small town of Himachal Pradesh to a teacher mother and a businessman father, Kangana made her debut in Anurag Basu’s Gangster at the age of seventeen- much to the discomfort of her conservative family. The family, like many other middle-class families in India, wanted the daughter to study and become a doctor. But the actress had other plans.
The success of Gangster not only brought more film offers for Kangana but also established her as a fresh face who could act well. She took up roles that most wouldn’t dare to do right at the beginning of their career. From playing a schizophrenic actress in Who Lamhe to the supermodel who loses her sheen due to addiction in Fashion, the actress has done roles which may not be too idealistic yet create impact in the film’s narrative.
While she was lauded for her performances right from the beginning of her career she was never considered an A lister in Bollywood. Despite winning a National Award for Fashion Kangana was discussed more for personal life and the men she was dating at that time. Breakthrough role in her career came almost 8 years after making her debut, in Queen. A beautiful tale of a woman traveling to Europe alone on her honeymoon after her fiancé called off their wedding, the film gave many hope to live life on their own terms. It inspired people to take solo trips and more importantly, Kangana’s portrayal inspired people to break free of unnecessary rules and obligations.
The world was still marveling about Ranaut’s Queen act when she came up with the hilarious Tanu Weds Manu Returns. On paper, the film was a romantic-comedy but somehow Kangana’s glorious performance made the film a women-centric film. Such was the impact of the 30-year-old actress as the rebellious Tanu and the earnest DU athlete Kusum Sangwan- both characters diametrically opposite to each other and both played with absolute conviction by the same actress.
While we can’t get enough of her in films- and are always very curious about what exciting character would she take up next- her personal life continues to be widely discussed. She was in news last year for the legal battle that she and her reported ex Hrithik Roshan have gotten involved in. Kangana’s personal life has always been in the glare of public eye. Affairs with much older and married actors, speaking out bluntly about the gender inequality that exists in the film industry and the her recent remark on Koffee With Karan on nepotism that exists in the film industry have ensured that many keep her at a distance. The actress has ruffled a lot of influential people in the industry but that never has deterred her from speaking her mind and taking a stand wherever it is needed. The legal battle also highlighted a very simple fact. That Kangana cannot be easily intimidated. You can be a superstar with a lot of clout but Kangana will not shy away from speaking the truth and fighting it out. Neither would she shy away from showing Bollywood's most influential filmmaker the mirror on how the film industry is unnecessarily biased.
Time and again, the actress has spoken against what she thought was wrong. She refused to be a face of fairness cream because she was against the idea of promoting fairness products and also because it would be a direct insult to her elder sister Rangoli whom she called ‘dusky, yet beautiful’.
Kangana continues to break stereotypes and challenge the conventions of the society. The family who admittedly were not happy to welcome the birth of a second daughter in the house would have never envisioned how the ‘wild child’ would pave her own path and create her own success story. For every small town girl harbouring a dream to make it big in the film industry, there is Kangana’s story to draw inspiration from. For every girl who has been told that she wasn’t wanted in the family, there is Kangana to look up to. For every woman who feels she deserves to be paid more for her work, there is Kangana’s stance on wage gap to refer to. She has fought tooth and nail to get where she is right now and she isn’t apologetic about it.
She continues to learn, make mistakes and admitting to them later on and thats why she remains one of her kind in an industry where most people speak textbook language.
Shine on you crazy diamond!
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