It was exactly 10 years ago, today, when Kangana Ranaut made her Bollywood debut with a mature and almost riveting performance in Gangster. Over the next ten years, Kangana Ranaut went from being typecast in particular kind of roles to breaking each of those images to become India’s best actress.
There was a time in her career when everyone expected her to play neurotic roles, the kind she ended up playing in Gangster, Woh Lamhe and Fashion. At the time, we heard how she can only play hysterical characters well, which was probably because no one had seen her do anything else. And thanks to Bollywood’s tendency of repetition, Kangana was only offered what she had already done.
All of 20 at the time, her age didn’t stop her from experimenting with roles much more complex and mature.
Her next career move was Life In A Metro, a role that traditional Bollywood actresses would be wary of. This energetic but intense young actress met with a lot of appreciation for her portrayal of an ambitious call center employee in Life In A Metro.
That must have been an exciting time in Kangana Ranaut’s career; scary but exciting. While she was getting immense acclaim for her roles, she was also getting typecast in a particular kind of role. Even Fashion, which earned her her second Filmfare Award and first National Award, saw her play the role of a disheveled supermodel.
As she was getting more and more comfortable in this bracket of performances, the world almost started to move on from her. Next few years saw her in Raaz: The Mystery Continues, Kites and Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai.
She was good in all of these movies, but there was nothing outstanding about her roles that would make the world stop and take a serious look at her talent.
That was untilTanu Weds Manu came along and showed us a side of Kangana’s talent, the world had been oblivious to.
It was then that the world stopped to take a second look at her talent and gave her the respect her conviction deserved.
And who can forget Queen?!
After redefining herself with the outgoing & untamed Tanu in Tanu Weds Manu, Kangana gave her career a new dimension by playing a vulnerable girl from Delhi who goes on her honeymoon alone in the quest to find herself.
Not a lot of people had high expectations from either Kangana or Queen. But that was her biggest strength.
From an unsettled 17-year-old to getting the national and international media sing praises for her, Kangana has come a long hard way.
As told to Anupama Chopra in an interview, she immensely matured during her early years in Bollywood. She was a rebel and even a little difficult to work with. Keeping in mind that she was also going through a turbulent relationship in her private life at the time.
The situation she found herself in is infamous for having consumed many talented actors and actresses over the decades. Kangana could have just as easily been one of them.
But how she channeled all that negativity into making a remarkable career in the next few years is her real victory.
Even now as we talk about her, she finds herself to be subject of a distasteful controversy but as she has shown in the past, her career will only emerge to be the winner among all the chaos of her life.
A couple of years ago, she gave a candid interview to Anupama Chopra which ended up going viral for all the right reasons. In the interview, Kangana embraced her insecurities and inhibitions only making us respect her more than we did.
It’s extremely rare to see the top actress of an immensely glamorized industry talk about her imperfect English and bumpy love life on camera.
This makes us wonder that when she had all the reasons to fall, how does she manage to reach the pinnacle of success every time? Maybe the situations in her personal life drive her to do better in her professional life. Maybe her rebellious childhood makes her take risks in her adult life. Who knows!
All we know is that if Kangana Ranaut hadn’t happened to Bollywood, we wouldn’t be talking about equality of women in Bollywood today.