‘If you are passionate, nothing can stop you’

Amrita Prasad
Sunday, 13 January 2019

Kangana Ranaut was in town to share her ‘Passion to Paycheque’ story, her upcoming project Manikarnika:  The Queen of Jhansi, #MeToo movement, and other things

Kangana Ranaut is clearly the ‘wild child’. Bold, undaunted, and brutally honest, she never minces her words and always speaks her mind. Her comments on nepotism on Koffee with Karan is proof! In the last couple of years, the curly haired and sassy beauty from Himachal Pradesh, has managed to conquer hearts of both critics and fans alike with not just her performances on screen but also with her ‘I-don’t-give-a-damn’ attitude. From making her debut in Gangster, to playing characters that were slightly eccentric and others which were humorous, she   floored everyone with her performance in films like Fashion, Queen, Tanu Weds Manu series.
The National Award winning actress was in the city on Friday to share her ‘Passion to Paycheque’ story at Signature Masterclass where the 31-year-old actress shared her most intimate struggles to inspire the next generation of stars and innovators in front of a crowd of more than 2,000 fans. The Katti Batti actress who recently turned director for her upcoming film Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, set to release ahead of Republic Day on January 25, shared her journey of following her passion and the roadblocks and triumphs she experienced to becoming a force to reckon with in Bollywood.
She recalled how being the rebellious kid at home to being the rebel in her choice of films and characters led her to stardom. The actress also mentioned how, sometimes, one does not need luck to be in their favour if they simply have the passion to make it big. Dressed in a living coral pant suit and flaunting her signature curls, she did look stylish and chic. “If you are passionate, nothing can stop you from making your mark,” said Kangana. 

In a one-on-one interaction with Sakal Times, the actress spoke about her Bollywood innings and the #MeToo Movement, among other things:

Kangana, who feels that her Passion to Paycheque journey was a brief one, said, “In my struggling days, within a year or two into my career, I got my first paycheque. I had taken up a small assignment, perhaps I posed as a side model. Since then it has been a bit of a roller coaster ride I would say.” 

Her journey to stardom was full of obstacles but that never deterred her from making it big in life and, more importantly, she doesn’t call them sacrifices. “Sacrifice is a very intense word — it is a word that is associated with selflessness but career has nothing to do with selflessness. It has a personal agenda and a goal that one wants to achieve. Saying that I made sacrifices for my career would be wrong; I invested in it,” she said.
The Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai actress, who is a recipient of several awards and has also featured five times in Forbes India Celebrity 100 list, urges that one should never stop dreaming or following their passion because of where they come from. “In the film M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, there is a beautiful line which says, ‘Sheher chote hote hain lekin unme rehne wale log nahin.’ Anybody, who comes from a small town including me and hundreds of others who have accomplished so much with their passion, hard work and dedication, would agree that it does not matter whether you are from a big city, a small town or a village, it is all about the kind of person you are, how passionate you are about your dreams, how big is your vision about the world that you live in,” she said. 
According to Kangana, working with Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari in Panga has been an exciting experience. Until a decade ago, there weren’t many female directors around. “But the scenario has been changing now,” said Kangana adding, “I wouldn’t say that the ratio or proportion is balanced but today, you see so many budding female directors.” 

For Manikarnika, she took up direction which had been her dream for a long time. She said, “I always wanted to direct a film, so it didn’t happen all of a sudden. In fact, I even directed an English short called The Touch — a nine-minute film about a little boy who has a healing touch in his hands. I tried directing in between but when I got this opportunity to direct Manikarnika, I lapped it up.”
Talking about her experience of working with Tiwari, she says that it’s different working with a woman director. “My comfort level with her is so great whereas when working with a male director, there are many levels of breaking the ice. She would just barge into my room at 5 am with jalebis,” said  the actress. 

The trailer of Kangana’s magnum opus Manikarnika, which is a biographical film on the Queen of Jhansi, has received rave reviews for its cast, visuals, actions and performances. Kangana feels proud essaying Manikarnika on screen. About Rani Lakshmibai, Kangana says   that she is relevant to the woman of today.  “She was ahead of her time. She was somebody who didn’t confine to the role of a regular queen — she became a revolutionary and the greatest woman warrior. She didn’t believe in the caste system and fought for adoption rights and women empowerment in every way possible. She refused to follow the custom which treated widows as outcast. Widows had to shave their heads back then, but she refused to do that. She was brave and is still relevant to all of us,” Kangana added.  

Kangana has always been fearless and wasn’t afraid to report sexual assault at the age of 16. The actress had also openly talked about the #MeToo movement last year. Sharing her thoughts on this, she said, “Things are changing for the better because the creepy, nasty and ferociously vulgar mean have been exposed and their game is over now. They can definitely not consider any woman as their prey now, unless of course a woman is living under a rock and falling for it. There are cases going on against these men and they have been called out loud, in the open, which will give others some sense of fear. There will more women coming out and speaking about it, but in the light of all this, the good thing that has happened is that people have become extremely cautious of their behaviour and conduct. Now, a person will think 10 times before he humiliates or tries to harm a woman, or disrespects her dignity or violates human rights,” she concludes.

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