Love/loathe, can’t ignore actor-writer-director Kangana Ranaut. Over a career spanning a decade-and-half, as an actor plus public-figure, her sharp tongue has sufficiently matched her creative talents.
And she has box-office numbers to back ’em too. Otherwise it’ll be all-talk, which it really isn’t. It seems that in a boringly politically-correct world, she basically knows how to give it back, in public. In case, she insists, you’ve crossed swords with her; and that you’d rather not.
In a conversation lasting over an hour, Ranaut ran out a good bunch of her contemporaries, questioning their position as role models, given they seemed to her as such over-protected, pampered pieces of shit. The entire video is uploaded on the Internet, and you must check it out when you get the time. But this excerpt, in keeping with Sit With Hitlist as a series, is mainly about looking deeper into one of the finest stories in showbiz. Only natural that we start with:
Among current Bollywood’s leading ladies, you’re perhaps the only genuine rags-to-riches story, and have mentioned this before. What do you mean by that? India is a big hotch-potch land. Back home [in Himachal], growing up in the mountains, I never thought we were any different, or poor, because there is a lot of equality, neutrality there. You will never find something really expensive around. But you won’t see a beggar either. It was only when I moved to big cities like Delhi and Mumbai that I was exposed to world’s harsh realities. There were slums, and five-star hotels. I still remember entering a five-star lobby: I couldn’t believe the sort of luxury/grandeur, and right outside were toddlers begging. It was unsettling for me. According to that economy, I felt that my parents couldn’t afford to pay my rent in Delhi. They had their own set of ideas and were scared for me. They had heard horrible stories of girls being misused, turning into porn-stars. The fact is that they couldn’t afford to pay Rs 20,000 rent, a big amount 10 years ago.
But that is a common outsiders’ perception of showbiz, isn’t it? And that happens commonly as well. I almost fell into a trap like that.
What do you mean? The fact that people met, and promised to guide, help, but then I was put under house-arrest. And then Pahlaj Nihalani had offered me a film called I Love You Boss. They had a photo-shoot where they gave me a robe to wear, and no undergarments. So I just had a satin robe for a show-girl pose, from which I had to stick my leg out, coming out of darkness. They should at least have given some tapes. I was supposed to play a young girl lusting after her middle-aged boss. So it was a soft-porn sort of character. And I had this epiphany that I can’t do this. I felt like this is exactly what my parents were talking about.