She came, she fought, she conquered.
A 16-year-old diffident girl from a small sleepy town of Himachal Pradesh steps out of her protective realm to become an actress – a decision detested by her conservative family. Without support – financial or emotional, this young girl traverses an arduous journey, from a model to a theatre actress to a Bollywood actress with two National Awards in her kitty being the highest paid actress in Bollywood. Now 28, Kangana Ranaut is finally recognized for all the right reasons – her acting, her impeccable fashion sense, her candor and her confidence.
Her rise to stardom has been anything but easy. However, Kangana’s immense talent has helped her move forward. She achieved critical acclaim with her debut film, Mahesh Bhatt’s Gangster (2006) in which she portrayed a depressed alcoholic caught between the affection of a musician and the love of a gangster. She was discovered by Anurag Basu and praised for her acting skills, despite it being her first film. In her next film, Woh Lamhe (2006), she played a schizophrenic; her character being modeled on yesteryear heroine Parveen Babi. Yet again she was lauded by the critics but very soon Kangana was stereotyped as a serious actress.
She made a foray into films of other genres like comedy and typical masala entertainers, and even acted in South Indian films. Barring her role in Life in a Metro (2007), the movies didn’t fetch her much recognition. It was in 2008 with Fashion that she delivered one of her best performances, which eventually won her a National Award for best actress. Kangana portrayed Shonali Gujral, a supermodel addicted to drugs and afflicted with the unpredictability of the fashion industry. The film was both a critical and commercial success.
Post Fashion, Kangana’s career witnessed a lot of fluctuations. There were some good films and some forgettable ones. She was also caught, time and again, in a web of controversies; with her personal life receiving more limelight as opposed to her films. Tanu Weds Manu (2011), Kites (2010), Once Upon a Time in Mumbai (2010) and Shootout at Wadala (2013) made it to her list of good films. In Tanu Weds Manu, she nailed the character of an eccentric Kanpuri who falls in love with the simpleton Manu Sharma. The film’s sequel Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015) did amazingly well at the box office too with Kangana‘s return as Tanuja Trivedi being highly praised.
The year 2014 was another landmark in her career with the release of Queen. Kangana portrayed a timid Delhi girl who is jilted by her fiance on the eve of her wedding. The film revolves around her journey of self-exploration as she embarks alone on her honeymoon to Paris and Amsterdam. The film was tagged as one of the best of 2014 with Kangana’s performance lauded. It won several awards and including her second National Award.
Kangana has time and again proved her incredible talent as an actress who has adapted to an array of genres and portrayed various characters. With her upcoming film Katti Batti, Kangana has once again embraced experimentation with a different character and a different kind of film. One can definitely expect many more accolade-worthy performances from this talented actress in the future.