Kangana Ranaut on challenging Bollywood’s status quo: When you question things in a classist industry, they will try to resist

New Delhi: Actor Kangana Ranaut on 2 March said the system in place in Bollywood helps people with privilege and repels when it is challenged.

At the India Today Conclave 2019, she said her many fallouts in the industry happened because she was always presented do-or-die situations in which she always fought her survival.

“I come from a situation where I really do not have a backup plan. I don’t have a plan B. It’s not like I wake up in the morning and think about ‘Oh wait a minute. How many people can I offend today and how to make my life difficult?’ That’s not how it is.

“… The kind of story I have I wasn’t left with an option. I wish they did. I wish they let me do my thing and I wish there wasn’t this do or die situation. I would have preferred it like that. But if one of us has to do die I will make sure that it is not me,” Kangana said.

A couple of her past few films have been plagued by controversies. Her 2017 film Simran was marred by a spat between her and screenwriter Apurva Asrani, who claimed that she poached his writing credit.

Her latest release Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi was also embroiled in multiple controversies.

Kangana said the credit for her success is hers only as she is the only actor in the film industry “who has not worked with a big production house or a big hero”.

“We all know that Bollywood, the film industry is classist and so is the rest of the society. The system works for certain people the way it is. It is definitely going to resist when you are going to challenge it.”

The three-time National Award winner said after her debut film Gangster, she struggled a lot for work.

“When I came to the industry with a film like Gangster, I won the Best Actress award in entire Asia and then I did not have any work at all. They did not know what to do with an actor like that.

“Item numbers were prevalent and so were the patriarchal and chauvinist sort of male depiction in films where actors and actresses are just showing up to get pinched in their butt or get mocked. So I did not had any work. So I like said if it is a do-or-die situation I’m going to ensure that I survive,” Kangana said.

She said the power players of Bollywood tried to suppress her voice but she fought every time.

“When you question so many things, they will try to shut your voice because the system has been working for them. It is your prerogative as a person to see what you want to do. Of course they will do what they can to ensure that people like us who question the system do not survive,” she said.

On the topic of women empowerment, Kangana lamented that there are women actors in the industry who believe that they do not deserve pay on par with their male counterparts.

“I think you are as empowered as you think you are. It’s a very individual choice. I know some women who openly say that ‘I don’t think I deserve the kind of remuneration my male counterpart does.’ It is an individual choice. If you believe that you are not an equal then of course nobody can change that,” she said.