Kangana Ranaut and Director Hansal Mehta attended the NDTV Youth For Change Conclave and gave an interview regarding Hansal’s upcoming movie, Simran, in which Kangana plays the lead role. Kangana reveals several aspects of her background, her journey of becoming an actor, her struggles, and her opinions on several contentious topics. In the article below, I am going to focus on Kangana’s interview more.
Ravish Kumar (the NDTV interviewer) begins by how the stereotypes associated with “small town people” are ridiculous as these small town people are the ones who carry their dreams on their shoulder while traveling to and fro in local trains filled to the brim. He goes on to give credit to the “small-town people” of making Mumbai a lively place to live in, with their constant struggle to make the best of things, make their dreams come true, and work their hardest to claw their way forward because otherwise, the rich are like a lazy Sunday afternoon, with their big, air-conditioned houses, pothole-free roads, children sent abroad to study, and a life filled with money. So, it’s for the best to welcome the new because they are the ones who bring changes. With this, he welcomes Kangana and Hansal.
The first question that Ravish goes on to ask Kangana is whether the fingers pointed at her for her style effects her or not, to which Kangana recalls that the time in which she had started out her career. She recollects how female actors resembling foreigners were given more importance, garments of the west were revered, and how people were unaware of the diverse ensembles people all over India wore. She admits that maybe that is why Kusum’s ghagra choli in Tanu Weds Manu 2 opened doors of criticisms from the “Westernised Indians”. On being asked about what is the difference between the people of her hometown (Mandi) and Mumbaikars, she confesses that she thinks that Mumbaikars are more money oriented while people from her hometown are the social being and their thoughts are directed towards family more than anything else.
Kangana, with her success in Bollywood and in other aspects of life, has been able to influence the young girls of Mandi as they are now readily delaying their marriage to pursue further studies, pursue their dreams. They are now emboldened to break from the shackles of society, realize their rights and effectively use them for their own benefit. Ms. Ranaut brings the extremism of conservatism in the Rajput caste-houses in her hometown by sharing an incident from her childhood in which her paternal grandfather slaps her across the cheek because she asked to talk to her father (who was out of town) on the phone. Th freedom she had been deprived of since her childhood was what she has been running after throughout her life, which has resulted in her becoming an actor. Kangana discloses how the film industry is a close-knit family and people like her, which is from “small-towns” are often unable to break into them as they are unwelcome.
When Ravish asked about the issue of Caste-Pride since she is a Rajput, she divulges how she feels like felt alienated in her own house as her brother was always given more attention and she was treated like someone else’s property (hello, objectification!) which has led her to feel more at home in the house she owns in Mumbai than at her childhood home and hence, she does not connect to her lineage at all, so being proud of it is a ridiculous notion. She goes on to condemn the notion of “selfless love of women” when Ravish reminds the audience of how rare it is for a woman to be 100% independent and free. She reiterated her condemnation by explicitly saying that the “glorification of the woman kind” on such basis motivates women to keep other’s wishes above their own which are wrong as that stops women to go out and do what they want to do.
Kangana has always been pin pointed in the Film Industry as the “girl who doesn’t know English”. In the interview, she speaks about how when she started her career she was told to either keep quiet or speak in Hindi because she, apparently, did not know English that well. She sends a message to the audience that it doesn’t matter which language you speak, it is your humanity that matters. She reiterates that if you feel like you don’t know something, go ahead and learn it instead of sitting down and letting other people demotivate you. Ms. Ranaut goes on to appreciate the work of other actors, like Irrfan Khan who has let the world know that even though “small-town people” don’t know the language of the rich, they are still capable of conquering the world.
In the interview, Kangana Ranaut yet again proves herself to be a real, grounded, hardworking woman who condemns the box of “small-town” and “big-town”. With her frank and blunt statements of opinions and answers, she shows that she is not afraid to speak out loud and nothing can make her sit down to let life flow from under her feet. Not her (supposed) lack of English speaking skills, not the prejudices surrounding women artists, not the societal norms, not the shackles is thrown around her wrists by her caste. Nothing can stop her from moving forward and achieving what she wants to.