I am an original out there. I am not a borrowed idea: Kangana Ranaut
For a long time now, actress Kangana Ranaut has been the talking point in the media. Be it her movie releases, her personal or professional life or merely her sister Rangoli Chandel's social media fights, the actress has always seen herself drowning in the soup.
Now, amidst all the misunderstandings, negative PR, uncalled confusion, and much more, Kangana has opened up why everything happened, the way it did in an extensive interview. She laments over the fact that she was continuously misunderstood, misinterpreted and largely, misquoted.
Q.1) You have spoken recurrently of ‘one section’. But that ‘one section’s’ definition is not clear as you went about ‘bikau media’, ‘liberal media’, ‘deshdrohi’ and much more. You do understand that ‘the media’ as a generic punching bag phrase is just as inaccurate as using ‘Bollywood’ as a single fit-all phrase. What is the issue? You have had a more than fair deal from the press through your career.
Kangana: The press has played a very big role in building my brand. They are the very basic, the foundation, of my career, my brand. There was no prototype to me. The press has voluntarily placed me at the place which they did, which has been generous on their part because the press before that did not give such sort of respect towards actors – only to stars.
Personally, I have much to thank the media for; I have been the media’s darling throughout. It is just a section of the media who have ganged up on me, people who I have raised a voice against, and these people have collectively formed a Guild. When it was formed there were hardly some 15-16 people, they were particularly those people, some of whom are not even proper, working journalists.
There are also paid PR agencies who have run an agenda against me. I, however, agree that just using ‘the media’ is not the correct way to talk of the people I have an issue with. I only have a problem with the people who are abusing the advantage of being part of the liberal media but who don’t do anything of what the liberal media across the world is doing. The media is taking up great causes. But there are a few people who are abusing the words liberal and secular left, right, and center. You can’t call yourself liberal if you are going to mock Environment Day or the issues that the liberal media upholds. I can handle objective criticism. Even if I practice some other ideology, do I not have the ability or the intelligence to understand the perspective of the other side? That is the only way I can strengthen my own perspectives in life. I definitely have that much vision. Whatever the communication skills I may lack, I understand how important the opposite perspective is to see the loopholes in your own thinking, your own ideology.
Q.2) If you think that there are people who are not fair, there are people who for years have run a campaign against you and therefore you think they are either fed by your opponents or they dislike you – if they say they don’t want to cover you and you come out with a video saying that you are very happy that they don’t cover you, then why would you also say I will issue a legal notice for not covering me?
Kangana: So what happened is these 15-16 people who formed the Guild became admins and I said that’s great. But now these people turned this into ‘media versus Kangana’ and they have now added 200-300 people, and there is pressure on my producer as they are not covering my film either. If they have banned me, I would love that, there is no problem in that, but they have turned people against me, and they have said that this is for our (media’s) welfare, so now they have multiplied in numbers thinking that it is for their welfare. But the only purpose of that guild is to be after me! They are not doing anything for the welfare of journalism.
Q.3) But how is that your problem, what they do for other journalists or not? How is that relevant to your dealing with them?
Kangana: If you want to ban somebody, ban somebody, why are you taking the entire media and making it into Kangana vs the media? It is not Kangana vs the media. It is me versus those people supported by the movie mafia. These people are worse than the movie mafia. So it is not me versus the media. I do not have any problem with the media. I have mentioned that I have great friends in the media. I am an actor who has got so much media support. Why should I compromise on that? I have said in every interview that there is nothing I love more than criticism and my best friends are real, true, genuine media. I said that without an opponent, ideology cannot exist, why should I not have critics? If I have only 16 people who hate me, there are several others who like me. I do not want any misunderstanding between them and me. I just want to keep those 16 away in a way that they are not around me at all.
Q.4) If you say people are biased against you, okay, they may have had a history with you, but when you bring in the word ‘anti-national’ and you bring it more and more in the context of Manikarnika, how is that valid? Mangal Pandey was as eminent a freedom fighter as Rani Lakshmibai. Aamir made a film on him. It did not work. But now if you say that Mangal Pandey the film does not work, or smirk at his role, does that mean we are insulting the memory of martyr Mangal Pandey and should apologize to Aamir Khan?
Kangana: No, not at all. Let me explain myself. A martyr, who is a national treasure, belongs to everyone. Everyone has a right to make a film (on them). I have not given money to anyone to get the rights, it is in the public domain, so the film belongs to everyone. Whatever said and done, criticize it in a way like critics do or write as an ordinary person or as a viewer that it is a bad film, it is acceptable. But not doing any of this, but only distorting the name of the martyr, that is not okay. You can’t distort Bhagat Singh, or Manikarnika and that too without saying what is the problem with the film. All I am trying to say is that what gives a person a right to troll a martyr’s name just because the person is a journalist? Is it acceptable? Why has it become a fashion to disrespect and to mock a national hero and why should it be acceptable? It is okay to not like the film. But the only thing the tweet said was that going by the controversy with the director, the next film should be called Manikarnika ha ha ha… At least should show respect to the martyr. If I, being a celebrity, will overlook these things, aaj isko chhoro, usko chhoro, aage badho yaar, mere bahut controversy ho rahe hain, what kind of individual I will become over a period of time?
So when I found that gentleman, I asked him arrey, what do you do yaar? How in any way have I humiliated or abused that person? I personally feel that vendetta, an agenda has come out now. The video is just about that.
Q.5) Not just ‘a few media’, many otherwise neutral people are concerned about, and disappointed with, the hostile tone and language that has been used by you as well as your sister lately. I hope you’re aware of that.
Kangana: In my defense, I tried even personally getting in touch with PRs who send negative news about me. People ask me why are they spreading such things about you. It’s okay if you don’t want to work with me or I don’t want to work with you, but we can also come to a point where you just let me be. Why can’t you just let me be? My retaliation is out of desperation. It is easy to think that somebody is getting hostile just because they have nothing better to do, but I must also get the benefit of the doubt that there must be a situation where if she is reacting this way, she must have been pushed against the wall.
I am okay with the biggies not working with me, having their own circles, which is why I am doing my own thing, but they are not letting me be. From all corners, they are always trying to suppress me or hit me. Every day I am fighting five to six news pieces. Either I have had a fight with Ekta or I have ruined Ashwiny’s set or I have taken the producer’s money for Manikarnika… There are a series of news items each day. It is exhausting to a point that on some days I have broken down in tears that when will it stop? And it is true that nobody talks about my work anymore.
Because all these things go on and on and on… Ashwiny says she wants to work with me for another film. ( Manikarnikawriter) Vijayendra Prasad is working with me for another film called Jayalalitha, Prasoon sir is doing my next film… Who are the people working with me who have all these issues with me? Manikarnika was such a huge success, my performance was appreciated, but nobody talks about it. Only negative news is carried about me. Has anyone thought about that? I know who is spreading it, I know who is carrying it, I know who is investing time and money in it. So will I not retaliate? Will I not do anything for my own survival? Of course I will. Even if I look desperate in that, but it is because I am being bullied like that. I am very clear about who these people are. It’s not that there is nothing and I am just lashing out. There have been a series of nasty stories just to discredit me.
These people need to know that they cannot just go on and on doing what they have been. It is very difficult to wake up each day to eight or ten news stories damaging your business, ruining your future projects – it is just too much to take every day.
Q.6) Isn’t it irresponsible to get off on this personal battle track when you have a movie coming up and what all happens impacts your co-actor, your producer and many others?
Kangana: I have never been this calculative in life… if I keep quiet then, then I don’t have the right to say anything to anybody. If I say, on this platform, it is okay to let go of a martyr’s name’s distortion because it works for me to do that right now, then I’m a fake, then I am not the person I think I am. It is my very natural response to that person. And to many like him, who abuse their position.
If I believe in some things and if I express that, what is wrong? I do not believe that movies are more important than humans. I was dealing with cancer that was spreading across my work system. Like my Panga co-star who told me that there would be calls every day, saying don’t work with Kangana, she will make your life miserable. People get calls to not work with me! The whole film she must have been expecting a showdown. ‘Kangana will take away your film, she will humiliate you’, blah blah… and at the end she said but you have been like my younger sister. The harassment is incessant, it is continuous. How am I supposed to react to it? Am I not supposed to do something? I really do not know what the right way is. It is not a matter that can be taken to court, because people can call people and say, beware of her, and things like that (laughs)! But it is happening from all quarters and from everyone, and it is making my work environment so suffocating.
Q.7) You relish confrontation, don’t you?
Kangana: I personally feel that confrontation is like detoxing. When you detox yourself, it’s not the most enjoyable thing, but you have got to do it. I look at confrontation like that – at times, you just need to do it. It’s definitely tricky, and it makes things very unpleasant, but I feel there is no harm in confrontation. It can even lead to a betterment of relationships if the other person has the sensitivity and the perception to receive the treatment you are giving. To put it out there – there’s no harm in it. You are actually showing your vulnerability to them. But it is also the best way to deal with it when somebody is giving you the treatment – whether it is a layered treatment, silent treatment, or whatever. I make sure that I tell the person that it is having an effect on me. Why shouldn’t I? Why should I silently suffer? So, yes, I do believe in confrontation.
Amidst all the confusion, misunderstandings, negative PR, and more, Kangana Ranaut shares why everything happened, the way it did. She laments over the fact that she was continuously misunderstood, misinterpreted and largely, misquoted. In an extensive interview, the Judgementall Hai Kya actress answers to all burning hot topics.