Kangana Ranaut - The Bollywood Chameleon
Nothing particularly destined little Kangana Ranaut to become an actress. She was born and raised in the large and rich family home of a village in Himachal Pradesh, in the far north of the country, not far from the Himalayas. Her mother is a teacher and her father is a construction contractor. She has a big sister Rangoli, and a brother of one year younger. After a childhood she describes as simple and happy, she is destined to become a doctor.
She thus carries out her secondary schooling in Chandigarh in the scientific field. She was a brilliant student, but at the age of 16, she suddenly lost interest in studying. She ends up throwing in the towel and will not even show up for exams, much to the despair of her parents. At the same time, relations with her father get tense. She did not support the place reserved for women, she says in interviews years later.
It is highly likely that many other topics have been a source of conflict as Kangana is rebellious. Still, she slams the door in 2004 and leaves for New Delhi without a penny in her pocket. Her parents are reluctant to help her financially in the bohemian years ahead. But at the same time, she refuses their help and intends to live a good life.
She had won some beauty pageants in her younger years. So she tries her luck in modeling. She is hired by the prestigious agency Elite, but contracts are rare. Too small, too big, too curly hair; everything is right not to make it work. She tries to paint, but it's still a failure. And then one day, while walking with a friend in a cultural center, she sees an ad for theater classes. She enrolled and quickly became a star of the troupe. After a few months, the director Arvind Gaur advises him to go to Bombay to try her luck in the cinema.
As soon as she arrives, she takes drama lessons in Andheri while listening to the auditions. It will take Mahesh Bhatt and Anurag Basu to finally consider engaging her in Gangster. Chitrangada Singh was scheduled for the role, but she had just married and had to give it up. This was Kangana's chance. The film released in April 2006 is a commercial and critical success.
The performance of a rare intensity of the beginner, who was only 18 years old at the time of filming, forces admiration. She wins numerous awards including her first Filmfare Award. On the other hand, her relations with her father do not improve, on the contrary. Not content to become an actress, her daughter showed her bare back and exchanged a kiss on the screen.
As if that were not enough, she openly displays her relationship with Aditya Pancholi, who is married, moreover. Never mind, even before the release of Gangster, Kangana continues with Woh Lamhe and Life in a Metro. The first presents a fictionalized version of the dramatic relationship between Parveen Babi and Mahesh Bhatt. The second is a modern semi-choral film by Anurag Basu. In both cases, her work as an actress is still hailed by critics.
Her sister Rangoli was 23 in October 2006. She was a student in Dehradun and was getting married. A rejected lover did not endure the news of her marriage and hired a henchman to throw acid on her face. She is severely burned. This crime brings the two sisters closer who will be inseparable from then on. Kangana brings Rangoli to Bombay and gets police protection.
Kangana is covered in prizes and her talent is unanimously recognized, but the phone stops ringing at the end of 2006. She no longer receives movie offers. Then begins for her a difficult period. She goes back to modeling, shows up a lot, gives countless interviews, but nothing works. Her early films have strongly connoted her as a serious film actress, far removed from commercial Bollywood cinema.
It must also be admitted that she put a little of hers by opposing producers in the only light film she made at the time, Shakalaka Boom Boom with Bobby Deol. It is a mediocre work that did not live up to its expectations. She let it know. Finally, in October 2007, she is offered the role of Shonali in Fashion. It is that of a tortured woman who this time embodies the dark side of the world of fashion.
Kangana hesitates when she realizes that she is in a secondary character on the same level as a newcomer. She accepts. Her brilliant performance earns her second Filmfare Award and a first National Award. Relations relax a little with her family but the cinema still sulks. She only gets small roles in movies that will not go down in history. She thus appears in Kites and No Problem in 2010.
In Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai that same year, she shows again the whole extent of her talent. She gets impatient, pokes her nose and inflate the chest, runs the podiums, tries to post sexy photos, floods the covers of magazines. Lost, she is only offered second roles she considers insignificant. She acquires a reputation of a dead diva alive.
Besides Game and Rascals, which are for her like so many stations on her way, luck finally smiles. In 2011, she won the leading role of Tanu in Tanu Weds Manu by Aanand L. Rai. This original romantic comedy based largely on her pretty shoulders is a true commercial success, the first of her young career. Yet the industry is running away from her. In 2012, she participates only subliminally to the pitiful Tezz. It's her only movie that year.
2013 is a little better because she won a small role very noticed in Krrish 3, but she goes astray in Rajjo where she was headlining. Then comes finally Queen of Vikas Bahl. She is there as Rani, rejected by her future husband on the eve of the wedding, and who will make her honeymoon in Europe alone. She wrote a part of the dialogues and improvised some scenes from a movie where we only see her. It is a commercial and critical triumph.
While she had clearly indicated that she would not attend the Filmfare Awards, she was awarded the Best Actress Award. The great Rekha will bring her the statuette at home. As if that were not enough, she also gets her second National Award. She presents herself at the ceremony in a modern dress, while it is traditional to be in the sari. What would have been seen as a provocation a year ago becomes an interesting originality?
She even returns to her parents, but she has not changed. She half-heartedly rejects all the films she took part in between Life in a Metro and Queen. Her next film, Revolver Rani, is a failure. The expectations of the public may have been too great. After Ungli where she is once again an alibi, she returns in a bang with Tanu Weds Manu Returns. This sequel to Aanand L. Rai is simply the biggest commercial success of a film taken by a woman. The audience rushed into the dark rooms to see Kangana the chameleon.
After the moderate success of Rangoon, she was seen in Simran where her character is an immigrant involved in illegal activities. She will now be seen as Rani Laxmibai in Manikarnika as a patriotic and warlike queen during the British Raj. There is also Sanjay Leela Bhansali's upcoming film with Shah Rukh Khan. It is hard to imagine that she will not be rewarded again in future seasons of the awards.