First things first. After Manikarnika, the tag of ‘Fearless Warrior’ seems to be superbly apt for Kangana Ranaut, both professionally and personally. Her title role as Rani of Jhansi and the way she both plays it and carries the film on her shoulders, reflects her dedicated focus and intensity towards pursuing her goal.
At a personal level, the label seems to define her journey in Bollywood right through. A rank outsider, this plain looking, non-glam small-town girl with weak, unaccented English, zero knowledge of world cinema or Hollywood and zilch connect with smart quotes from flavor-of-the-day celebs/authors, managed to grab attention, respect, solid fan-following, big ticket fees and most importantly, success! How?
When one comes with no baggage, there is nothing to lose and everything to gain from the inherent sense of hunger to succeed, powered by fearlessness. Determined not to conform to the Rule Book of Bollywood – do’s and don’ts – she scripted her own narrative and gate-crashed into the big time.
Sans big Production Houses, celeb directors or the killer Khans, Kangy swung it hard and high with Queen and Tanu Weds Manu, attracting mass following and capturing public imagination with her very own [edgy] style and appearance. Since nothing succeeds like success – her brilliant roles in Gangster, Fashion, Life in a Metro, Krrish 3 forgotten – these solo starrers clearly proved that this unconventional, self-taught pahadi girl was no ordinary, run-of-the-mill aspirant desperate to shine in Tinsel Town, come what may. She had talent, passion, purpose and patience, four critical imperatives, powered by the most deadly trait-of-all – fearlessness!
‘Controversy Queen’? Well, Jhansi ki Rani has all along – by default or design – courted controversy in a big way. Whether it’s her miserable, ill-fated romantic liaisons of her early years, her unfair and condescending treatment by industry folks or her media interactions – most famously played out in the public space a couple of years ago, during a Koffee with Karan episode where she shocked the dumb-struck celeb host with a sensational list of accusations.
The Ranaut babe has continued to provide fantastic masala for the insatiable Bollywood-fixated readers/viewers, big time. Be it her public spat with super-star Hrithik Roshan, her script-driven face-off with Apurva Asrani during Simran, the recent hulla-gulla with the director Krish of Manikarnika [regarding Director Kaun?] she has shown an amazing combination of sugar n’ spice and fire n’ ice to zonk audiences, readers, listeners and viewers with style!
Today, whether or not Manikarnika wins the Box Office battle, the Gangster girl has certainly plonked her flag firmly in the B-town firmament. The [allegedly] ₹10 crore plus actress has converted herself into a market-friendly brand, winning friends and influencing all who matter to signalise one blazing fact: Where fearlessness, passion, focus and talent leads – success is bound to follow!