Bollywood reporter DEVANSH PATEL chats with Kangana Ranaut - the girl with a retro touch - and quizzes her on her latest film, Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai
THOUGH she has matched her towering performances in her earlier films like Gangster, Woh Lamhe and Fashion, in reality, Kangana isn't that tall. But she is beautiful.
She has a radiant smile and the thing which most actors have - confidence in abundance.
But what takes me by surprise is the fact that some fans of hers in the UK call her the Uma Thurman of Bollywood, although I wonder why because, to date, she hasn't kicked the bad guys' asses on screen.
At times, talking to her, it feels as if she's a double agent in deep cover. As if there's not one Kangana Ranaut, but at least two, if not a few more.
Even her choice of films seems like the Kanganas are all in conflict with one another. And finally, here is the movie she has been patiently waiting to release since her last film, that appeared a good two years ago.
Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai is the film for her, because it's got all the key ingredients you need for a Bollywood flick: Triumph over adversity, hope over experience and a beautiful woman in the leading role. And all that that in a gangster flick.
DEVANSH PATEL: Your retro look is much talked about in this film. KANGANA RANAUT: Looking retro, and people complimenting me on it, is
a very big achievement for me as an actress. I feel touched when people actually say that I look a bit retro in real life too.
DP: How was the experience of not being paired with Emraan Hashmi?
KR: Emraan and I hardly have any scenes together in the film. But it was a nice feeling. Emee (as Kangana calls Emran) is a very dear friend. It was a good feeling that we were together in the same film and on the same set. I got along well with my co-star Ajay Devgn and liked the whole experience.
DP: Are we going to see a different Kangana in this film?
KR: You will see a different Kangana Ranaut in this film. My films take you to the world of schizophrenic patient, psychedelic woman, an overly ambitious woman, and so on. Here I play myself in the film. I play a '70s top actress who brings the glamour quotient to the film.
From my side, I'm giving a dash of romance to my audiences. I hope they fall in love with me.
DP: Have you been inspired by any yesteryear Bollywood actress in the film?
KR: In the golden era of the '70s, '80s, and '90s, actresses, I feel, were very vulnerable and feminine. There were so many actresses I liked from that generation and as each gave way to the other, it became even tougher.
Beauty and romance changed. We are giving you that lost romance back in this film.
I like Madhubala, Nargis, Parveen Babi, Saira Banu, Zeenat Aman, Hema Malini and Madhuri Dixit. Each one is so beautiful that they all changed the definition of romance.
DP: Have you seen the film and what did you think of it?
KR: The fact is, I haven't seen the first copy and we are still working on the last minute patch work for the film. I've got to shoot tomorrow morning at nine.
I am really looking forward to see the first copy. I am not a Hollywood person as far as watching cinema is concerned. I love Milan's [Milan Luthria, director] movies and am very impressed with his work. Once Upon A Time... will be his best work on celluloid, I feel, and I am sure that he has achieved what he set out to.
DP: You play yesteryear's leading actress in the film, right?
KR: Yes, I play the diva of the '70s and represent Bollywood with my clothes, make up, hair style, and so on.
To get into the look of the character and the mental space, everybody was working towards it. There wasn't research done for my role but I was briefed a lot by Milan.
Ajay Devgn wears only white throughout the film but I bring a lot of colours to the screen and that's why our pairing works. I bring a lot of colours to the life of Ajay Devgn.
DP: You know you're known as the Uma Thurman of Bollywood?
KR: I am so flattered and honoured that I am being called the Uma Thurman of Bollywood.
It means that I need to kick some balls now (laughs). I hope some good director makes an action flick for me someday soon. And if no one makes it, then I promise you, I will direct one for myself.
I have learned martial arts, kickboxing and am awaiting someone to make an action film with me. Nobody has made an action flick for women in Bollywood.
DP: What have you to say about Prachi Desai, the second lead in Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai?
KR: Prachi Desai is extremely beautiful and a very sweet-looking girl. I really believe that Prachi knows a lot more of acting than I do because she has more acting experience than experience in films.
She has a tremendous scope of performance in the film and she doesn't come across as a newcomer at all.