“This is one of the most complex characters that I have played so far” – Kangana Ranaut

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Kangana Ranaut is one of the best actresses working today in Bollywood; with only five films, she is already considered an A-list star. Kangana made her debut in Gangster and her performance earned her incredible critical acclaim. Woh Lamhe was also received very well and she wowed audiences in Life in a Metro. She is known for her offbeat, complex characters, and once again in Fashion Kangana takes on a difficult role. Her performance in the film is getting rave reviews from critics and fans alike. After the premiere of Fashion in Dubai and shooting the next day, Kangana graciously granted BollySpice.com a phone interview. We talked Fashion, Raaz, Kites and all kinds of filmi things. So, sit back and enjoy reading Stacey’s conversation with this incredible actress.

Stacey: Tell us about your role in Fashion.

Kangana: In Fashion, I’m playing a supermodel, and her name is Shonali Gujral. She’s a kind of a spoiled brat; she doesn’t really respect the fact that she got success really easily at a very early age. She’s the kind of person who doesn’t value her luck, and she doesn’t feel grateful for the kind of success that she’s getting in the modeling and fashion world.

Stacey: Was it a difficult role to play?

Kangana: Yes, because as you see the graph of a supermodel, you see her as a superstar in the beginning. As the film grows, you realise that behind the glitter and glamour of show business there is another side to it in the people that you see, behind the beautiful eyes and the beautiful faces you see everyday. There’s another story behind those eyes, and they’re not just the people that they look like. I think that it was quite complex and quite layered. As a character very layered, there’s not only one emotion there are so many emotions and so many shades in her. I think this is one of the most complex characters that I have played so far.

Stacey: What was the hardest scene?

Kangana: The hardest would be the way I have to walk on the ramp, because it was very important for us to establish that she is a supermodel, when I don’t belong to the modeling world. I didn’t belong to modeling. I never had any experience of modeling. Priyanka, who’s been a Miss World and playing the struggling model, and another girl who’s a top model in India playing a B-grade model. So it is us three girls, and I’m the one with no experience in modeling. I had to rehearse a lot and work on my walk, the way that I pose, and my style and attitude. It was just so difficult, because in real life, I’m not the kind of person that Shonali is. She is full of attitude, she is sensual all the time, so it was very difficult for me to adapt to her body language.

Stacey: How do you get into character for the hard and emotional scenes in films?

Kangana: Well, I play a drug addict in the film and I’m getting withdrawal and symptoms of withdrawal. I had to do a lot of study for that. And as I told you, there were like professional people on the sets, like choreographers and Madhur Bhandarkar, the director of the film. The professional people would tell us about the body language and how to react and all that. But I did my own study on drugs and how helpless people feel when they get into drugs, and there’s no turning back for them. I had to do my own homework.

Stacey: How was it working with the other heroines in Fashion?

Kangana: They are lovely. Especially Priyanka – is a darling, she’s very sweet, very kind, and being my senior, I think she is fabulous, down to earth. She’ll make sure that everybody is comfortable on the sets and everybody’s having fun. She’s a very kind lady.

Stacey: What was it like working with Madhur Bhandarkar?

Kangana: He’s a funny guy by nature. The kind of cinema he makes is very intense and very emotional but if you meet him, you’ll never believe that he makes such movies. He’s cracking jokes all the time, making fun of people around him, and he’s not the kind of person you always imagined him to be. I don’t know – it is just a mystery how he makes such intense movies.

Stacey: Which Madhur Bhandarkar film is your favourite (besides Fashion)?

Kangana: Satta. It’s about politics, and I think it’s the most intelligent film he has made so far, and the performances were crazy and the casting was amazing.

Stacey: Any memorable things happen while on set on Fashion?

Kangana: Well, the whole experience itself was special because this film is very different than every other film I have done. The reason is because there were ramp shows, there were photo shoots; all these things have always been behind the camera and we actors, we go for an opening of a store or a walk for a designer or maybe do photo shoots for a movie or magazines, and now we were shooting this process. You know you can do a romantic film or thriller or even some strange story, but this was on the fashion world and very real. You know at one point, I really started believing that I am a model. Most of the scenes were in the green room and the whole ambiance was different and was very fresh for ‘old’ actors. So everyday you go to the set you feel like: Wow, it’s like something new, a new beginning in life. I made a lot of friends like Madhur and Priyanka. I met a lot of models during the shooting and they are different people. They look at life with a different kind of view, and the way that they behave, talk – it’s just so different than all of us actresses. We are shorter than them. They smoke. Just by the way they talk, they’re completely, really, like teenagers, but we actresses are, like, different than them, so we really enjoyed their company.

Stacey: Do you feel there should be more female-centric movies like Fashion in Bollywood?

Kangana: Yes, exactly! I really feel that now with the new generation of directors and actors. The way that they have given rules to cinema and setups to cinema, I think that shouldn’t be done. The main priority of cinema should be entertainment, and then it’s a work of art. But they shouldn’t be thinking that, oh this hero is doing well so let’s take him and make a movie; that’s really wrong. Movies should be made completely for entertainment of people and maybe to make a difference in society, and then to make a difference to the youth of the world or nation. There are very thoughtful directors, especially the young directors. Through female characters in the film, you can really make intelligent cinema, you know. Even if you see Page 3, films like Gangster, Fashion – they always leave an impact behind. It is just not that one film that you watched, ate your popcorn, and after went off to sleep. It really stays with you even after you see the film. So I think it should have that kind of impact with audiences – it shouldn’t be limited to actors, like, ‘Oh my God, I have a script but it doesn’t have a hero so let’s forget about it’. It shouldn’t be like that!

Stacey: How do you feel Fashion has turned out?

Kangana: Fashion is doing very well in India; I don’t know about overseas. It released yesterday and it’s impossible to get tickets for Fashion!

Stacey: How do you feel your performance was in the film?

Kangana: It’s been appreciated all over and I’m so happy. Feels like all my hard work has paid off.

Stacey: You are getting RAVE reviews – it is wonderful.

Kangana: Yes I am. People have been appreciating my performance and the film is doing so well. It was teamwork, so now I feel it is time to celebrate. I’m really glad and looking forward to it.

Stacey: The trailer of Raaz – The Mystery Continues also releases with Fashion. What can we expect from that film?

Kangana: Raaz is now my next release and I’m doing little bit of the patchwork for Raaz. I think that Raaz is going to be a very spooky film, and people are going to jump out of their seats when they see it, because it is damn scary. (Laughs) For Raaz I don’t really want to talk like, Oh My God it’s going to be something earth shattering… it’s a different kind of cinema, horror movies and different kind of audiences. Kids cannot watch those, though few kids do like to watch horror films especially teenagers and all, and old people don’t like to watch horror films but then still most of us do because the amount of excitement is highest when you watch a horror/thriller movie. You are like excited throughout. I think that people will enjoy that and for me, I am doing it for the first time, so it’s going to be a different experience. I myself don’t watch horror films honestly. I’m shit scared of horror films! They’ve been pushing me to watch the trial of Raaz and I’ve been delaying it everyday. It is that scary, so I hope I will be able to watch it, but I think the people will really like it. Last Raaz did really well, so I think this film will also do well. It’s good.

Stacey: How do you decide on what roles to take?

Kangana: It’s very difficult. I really don’t know when I am going to sign my next film because it’s very difficult for me to like a script. So, when I have to sign my next film, because I have these dates free so I should sign a film, but I never like anything so those days also go. One fine day, a good script just comes to you and you feel for it, and you feel that it belongs to you and you can do it, you would love to do it, you’d love to live with these characters for 6-7 months or the time the movie takes to finish. I think it just happens.

Stacey: Can you tell us anything about Kites? What is your role in that film?

Kangana: Kites is a love story and in that film I’m playing a very rich girl who’s from Vegas and who is madly in love with her Salsa teacher, and then it’s a triangle love story. I think that I cannot reveal much about the story, but that again is a completely different kind of movie – from some other space. It’s beautiful. I’m experimenting with every kind of film and role. I think that’s good.

Stacey: How is it working with Hrithik?

Kangana: Hrithik has been a straight act throughout and he is my favourite actor, my favourite co-actor. He’s genuinely a nice human being, and he is just a nice man to his family, to his co-actors, to his friends; always there, and even as an actor he is so perfect and he tries hard. He makes sure everyone around him is comfortable and makes sure his unit gets food on time, a perfect producer. I think he tries hard to be perfect, and he is perfect, but he tries for it. He’s not born with it. He is a skilled person. I always tell him, you’re so talented, and you are beautiful, and he’s like, I’m like not born beautiful, I’m not perfect. I try and if anybody tries, they can be. So that inspires you. He tells me strange stories like I could not dance, I could not do this thing and today I am the best dancer. I could not speak Urdu and I learned Urdu and now my Urdu is better. He tells me things that really motivate you, and you feel like if he can, why can’t you? His wife is the happiest wife on this planet, his father is the happiest father, his kids are beautifully happy. You think, Oh my God, it’s not possible for you to keep everybody happy but with Hrithik, if he can manage everything around him, why can’t you. He’s an inspiration for everyone.

Stacey: Have you ever been disappointed by the way a film of yours has turned out?

Kangana: Yes, there have been times but I don’t want to blame anyone. I did this film, Shakalaka Boom Boom. I somewhere knew that this is not what I want to do, but then still, I don’t know, maybe for the wrong reason that I needed money, and I did whatever, you know… so but then, if you do something for wrong reasons, you have no excuse then, you know. It’s not being faithful to your craft. You’re not being fair to it. I was wrong, but I have nobody to blame.

Stacey: What about surprised?

Kangana: I would say Gangster. That was my first film and I had no clue. When it released I thought I didn’t know how to act because nobody told me that I am a good actor. Everybody was like ok in Gangster, I don’t know. Their reactions were strange. I somehow thought that maybe I think I’m good but maybe I’m not up to the expectation of people around, but when it came out I had no expectations. And I got like amazing reviews and I’m like, Oh god, I’m good, and this film became a rage, you know. I didn’t expect that. I was shocked.

Stacey: What’s the best compliment you’ve received so far?

Kangana: There are a lot of them but I would say that after Gangster, Shabana Azmi called me and she and Javed Akhtar called me and praised me and praised for like half an hour. They were like you are amazing, we were shocked to see you. That got emotional because I didn’t know them… They got my number from somewhere and they made an effort to call me home for dinner. They gave me so much respect. I was so honoured and I am so grateful to my art and my job. You have no idea!

Stacey: What do you think has been your best performance?

Kangana: I think that would be Gangster. I just cannot get over Gangster. Have you seen it?

Stacey: Yeah, it’s amazing.

Kangana: How do you like it?

Stacey: I loved it. I thought the movie was brilliant. I really loved you in Life in a Metro too, thought you were wonderful.

Kangana: Thank you so much. I somehow have something very special for Gangster. I don’t know, I hope I very soon do something that can go a little beyond.

Stacey: What has been your most challenging role?

Kangana: Fashion! It was very difficult.

Stacey: Does it bother you that the media is constantly interested in your personal life?

Kangana: Ok one thing. They’re strange. These journalists… they call me and tell me “give us some gossip!”

Stacey: Hahaha. They do not!

Kangana: Yes! I am like ‘What?’ They are like, ‘What is happening on your set these days, pleeease??’ They beg me for that! Then I’m like, ‘What?!’ and they say, ‘This column is empty. We have this many lines. Can you please make up something or say something?’ Your friends, the journalists, even the people you know, they call you desperately; they tell you ‘give us gossip’. They just want to know gossip, not even facts, just plain gossip. So that is crazy, you know. I have changed my number! I don’t take phone calls now.

Stacey: What inspires you?

Kangana: What inspires me? When I wake up in the morning – I love waking up early. I feel so divine and so clean in the morning. I feel like I have to proceed for today’s work, then do my work giving my best to it. Have to sleep again early to wake up early, so I can sleep peacefully and wake up early and start my day again. There’s something about mornings which just gives me inspiration.

Stacey: Besides Kites and Raaz are you working on any other projects?

Kangana: There is a film called Happy New Year and then there is an international project that I am doing, but I cannot talk much about that.

Stacey: Why should audiences go see Fashion?

Kangana: Well, because it’s a film which is about the fashion world, it’s not a love story or a thriller that you get to see every week or every month. It is about the fashion world, and I don’t think that many people know what happens behind the ramp or behind the beautiful pictures you see of models and products. I think obviously [because of] the director, Madhur Bhandarkar. He’s one of the best we have in our country, and he’s known for giving good performances and winning national awards. His film is releasing after two years. Well, there are two beautiful women in the film and there’s a bikini show, a lot of hot chicks, which is a reason to go, and a lot of hot guys too!! (Laughs)

We really appreciate Kangana taking the time out of her busy schedule to speak with us. It was a wonderful experience and we promise never to call her and say tell us something, anything … gossip, gossip! We definitely count ourselves as fans of hers and are looking forward to her performances in Raaz, Kites and Happy New Year! Be sure and check out Kangana’s, as our reviewer put it, fantastic performance in Fashion! It is in theatres now!

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