She made a dazzling debut and made sure she became an actress to reckon with. In her four-year journey so far, she has already impressed the audience and left an indelible mark on filmdom. Comedy was the only genre everyone thought she couldn’t pull off. But with No Problem and the response to the promos of Tanu Weds Manu, Kangna Ranaut has proved the critics wrong. Here’s the talented actress, who can’t wait to take her career to the next level by turning filmmaker, in conversation with Parag Maniar
News is you’re inclined towards directing in the near future?
(Smiles) I want to turn director… but it’s too early for me to plunge into that aspect of filmmaking. I’m happy with the way my career as an actor is shaping up. So, in future yes but at present, I’m enjoying my journey as an actor.
As a filmmaker you will be calling the shots on the sets. Do box-office collections matter to you?
Not the collections per se but definitely what they stand for. If a film is very successful at the box office, it means lots of people loved your work. And what can be more fulfilling for an actor than that? Right?
Agreed. How receptive are you to critics’ reviews? Do you make it a point to read them? Do you also read the reviews of films that do not have you in the lead?
I do read reviews but I don’t always agree with them. The thing is that a review is one person’s opinion, so it’s not the ultimate truth. Otherwise why would a film with a bad review do well at the box office? It’s not like the critics’ opinions are set in stone. They’re just different.
It seems you have familiarised yourself with the art of filmmaking?
Yes! This is natural for any actor. It is growth. I am interested in knowing how a shot is canned. Why does a director imagine things the way he does? I have observed that things look very simple while being shot. But the impact on the screen leaves me spellbound. I want to master the art of story-telling.
What do you think of the film business? Do you feel it’s unpredictable?
Its unpredictability makes it even more fascinating. If we could predict everything, we would all be millionaires!
No Problem failed. Were you disheartened?
Not really. Like I said, you can’t predict success. You give your best and then hope for the best.
From Gangster to your next release, Tanu Weds Manu… What has the journey been like?
Just two words – learning and adventure. But I’m just 23; I have only just begun and I have a long way to go.
Do filmmakers look at you differently after you won a National Award?
Of course! I think people have more faith in me now and they’re coming to me to essay a variety of characters. You know, I always wanted to do comedy early in my career. But I did not get any such offers. I had to be content doing serious roles. Now I get scripts to consider in every genre.
So, finally, you’re being taken more seriously as an actor?
I was always taken seriously. But winning a National Award has broadened my horizons.
Tell us about your next release, Tanu Weds Manu.
I play Tanu and she’s a lovely character. I had a lot of fun playing Tanu. When the script was narrated to me, I fell in love with it and the final screenplay is exactly what we had imagined the film would be like. Tanu is a small-town girl but well educated. She has a degree from Delhi University and is very liberated. She is bold, not in action but in attitude, audacious and lovable!
Your expectations from the film…
Doesn’t every actor want their film to do well?
Do you think playing a comic character is tougher than playing a serious role?
It depends. At times, a serious role can sap you psychologically and emotionally though its portrayal may seem easy. And at times, a comic role may appear complicated but the actor may have handled it quite easily. There are a lot of things involved in story-telling – the script, the plot, the nuances and the director. But the one thing I realised while doing No Problem and now Tanu Weds Manu is that doing comedy is definitely an art!
And what about your next, Game?
I play a British cop in the film. It’s a fast-paced action thriller. I don’t want to reveal any more about the plot (Smiles).
You are working with senior directors like Indra Kumar and Priyadarshan and also upcoming directors like Abhinay Deo and Anand Rai. Is there any difference in their styles of functioning? Do you feel senior directors have it easy?
No, not at all! In fact, it’s the other way round. Things are difficult for experienced directors because people have huge expectations of them. But it’s a pleasure to work with all these directors. They are all masters in their field and it’s an honour to learn from them.
What do you look for in a script? What makes you say ‘yes’ to a film?
I go by instinct. It’s a feeling. You hear a script and you feel it coming together, that it’s engaging and intriguing.
Finally, you made it on your own steam with no benefactors in the industry. What advice do you have for young aspirants?
Working in films is like any other job. You have to prepare yourself and work hard. Don’t get disheartened if things don’t go your way. Also, it is very important to be practical.