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With Judgementall Hai Kya, Kangana Ranaut Has Again Demonstrated Her Terrific Script Sense

A lot of the rebelliousness one sees in Kangana's characters may look as they have been lifted out of her own life.

Gautaman Bhaskaran | News18.com

Updated:July 30, 2019, 5:32 PM IST
With Judgementall Hai Kya, Kangana Ranaut Has Again Demonstrated Her Terrific Script Sense
Kangana Ranaut interacts with media during the trailer launch of 'Judgemental Hai Kya' in Mumbai. (Image: Viral Bhayani)

The other India, made up of small towns and villages, is emerging out of the shadows, and this is being captured in its true spirit by the Indian cinema. While Tamil films have been a staunch advocate of rural life, often setting their stories in the countryside, Bollywood's foray into this territory has been more recent with movies like Badrinath Ki Dulhania, Bareilly Ki Barfi, Kedarnath and even Article 15.

And if there is one actor who has been a life and blood example of this phenomenal change and rise, it is Kangana Ranaut.

Born in Bambia, now Surjapur, a town in Himachal Pradesh that very few would have heard of, Ranaut followed the tried and tested route to films – modelling and theatre, where she did the Girish Karnad scripted Taledanda. The stage in Delhi pushed her into a far more ambitious arena, the glitter and glamour of Mumbai, where she had to struggle (with bread and pickle for food) before she stepped into the shoes of an alcoholic woman in Anurag Basu's Gangster – caught between an outlaw and a good Samaritan.

She was just 17, but watching her as Simran, one could clearly discern that here was a restless girl, all set to break into womanhood, though in trail of rebelliousness, a trait she displayed even as a child when her father bought her a doll and her brother a gun, she would protest demanding equality!

This became a second nature for Ranaut. If she would dress bizarrely (at least that is what her neighbours felt) throwing conventions out of the window, she began picking parts that were not just innovative but also bold and provocative – as her latest work, Judgementall Hai Kya. As Bobby Grewal in Prakash Kovelamudi's creation, she has a serious psychiatric issue – which is both a disadvantage and an advantage.

A dubbing artist, she finds it difficult to snap out of the characters she lends her voice, but, then, has the uncanny ability to sense a murder and a murderer.

Watching Judgementall Hai Kya, one would be reminded of the classic American movie, Gaslight (1944), helmed by George Cukor and adapted from Patrick Hamilton's play with Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. A scary thriller about a man who manipulates his wife into believing that she is going insane. Ranaut's Bobby faces a similar predicament as cops refuse to believe her when she contends that Rajkummar Rao's Keshav killed his wife. Rather, Bobby is dismissed as a case fit for the asylum.

As a young woman desperate to save first her neighbour and later her cousin in London, she battles not only her mental illness that gets her obsessing over her screen characters, but also her helplessness in stopping a heinous crime. She is never a caricature swinging from a perfectly logical existence as a dubbing actor to traces of insanity battling to rein herself within the realm of the real.

Interestingly, Ranaut has more often than not picked characters that fall between sunset and sunrise – in the twilight zone – portraying women who are defiant and daring, sometimes to the point of appearing foolish.

In Tanu Weds Manu, she chases a roguish building contractor despite an NRI doctor willing to walk with her to the altar. In the sequel, Tanu Weds Manu Returns, she drags the doctor to a mental rehabilitation centre!

In Queen, where the groom drops her at the eleventh hour, she takes off on a planned honeymoon all by herself. In Simran, she gets addicted to gambling and tumbles into crime after an estranged relationship with her father – something that would remind one of Ranaut's disagreements with her own dad. A lot of the rebelliousness one sees in Kangana's characters may look as they have been lifted out of her own life.

(Gautaman Bhaskaran is author, commentator and movie critic)

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