Kangana, that's a pretty name.
It was my grandfather's choice. When my elder sister was born he offered my parents two names - Rangoli and Kangana. They opted for the former. When I came along and they were toying with several names, he reminded them that Kangana was still up for grabs. I've never thought of changing my name but since I stepped into this industry, I've been flooded with advice on everything from the image I should project to my hair that I've been told is too long and curly, to my name. Thank God, my director (Anurag Bose) liked me the way I was.
Reportedly Anurag chanced upon you at a five-star coffee shop. What was your first reaction to his film offer?
Hey, it wasn't as if he just dropped the film in my lap. All he did was call me over for an audition. There were a lot of actors vying for the role but after the first screen test I was told I was 60 per cent on. Then after a week I was called for another test followed by another week of waiting. And then, at 18 I was just handed my big break.
You've always been interested in acting?
No, it was only after high school that I signed up with Elite, a Paris-based agency, and started doing ramp shows for my livelihood, and dabbling in theatre for the passion of it. From my guru Arvind Kaur I learnt that acting is not about glamour or money but about raising awareness of certain issues and using your talent to make the world a better place. I had intended to move towards acting in 3-4 years time but things happened much sooner. It's a good thing because my mother who's a teacher in Manali and my father who's a local businessman weren't too happy about my modelling career. A model, they pointed out, was in demand till 40, maximum. After that what? They were less stressed when I moved to acting. (With a chuckle) Given the kind of place I come from, it's easier to explain that I'm an actor than saying I'm a model though my parents hadn't watched a film in 10 years till Gangster.
Was it easy relating to your screen alter ego, Simran?
Bonding with Simran was easy because she's an ordinary girl with simple dreams who happens to fall in love with a gangster and gets sucked into a whirlpool. What was difficult was understanding the technicalities of the craft, Gangster being my first film. I'm giving fewer retakes for Woh Lamhe but understanding this complex character is not as easy. She's a beautiful and successful girl but also alone, scared and mentally sick. It was hard adapting to her state of mind. Woh Lamhe is based on Parveen Babi's life. I've seen so many of Parveen's film. Undoubtedly, she was one of the most beautiful women to grace the Hindi screen but a difficult woman to portray. Fortunately, Mohit Suri is a competent director.
You're opposite Shiney Ahuja again in Woh Lamhe, the man responsible for many of your recent accidents.
Shiney is a prankster who's always hopping around on sets, but I don't blame him for the accidents that were my fault entirely. Just yesterday while doing a photo-session I cut my right foot on a glass.
What was it like getting intimate with Mr Lucky Lips, Emraan Hashmi?
That underwater kiss is not a love-making sequence. A shattered Simran attempts suicide. She is saved by Akshay and that peck on the lips was a way of saying thank you. We started shooting at 6 p.m. and wrapped up only at 8 a.m.. It was difficult to breathe under water and after it was over, my skin turned rough and erupted into pimples. But when I saw the sequence on screen I felt that it had been worth the effort. Actors are like soldiers who make people's dreams come true, often putting themselves through a lot of trouble. Emraan on his part, was always a darling. In one word a true 'professional'. On the sets he's playing video games or listening to his Ipod till he has to face the camera. And then he's all there...no attitude, at all. He deserves every bit of his success and this is just the beginning. Both my co-stars are dedicated actors but while Emraan is a cool guy, Shiney coming from Sudhir Mishra's school of serious cinema, is more intense.
When Abu Salem sent a notice to Mahesh Bhatt demanding that all prints of Gangster be destroyed weren't you apprehensive for your debut film?
Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt are strong people and I knew that no matter what they wouldn't let anyone harm their film...their investment. So I was cool. And though not happy about the controversy I felt any publicity is good for a film. I hope thanks to this even those who otherwise wouldn't have watched Gangster will see it now.
Mukesh Bhatt insists that you're a combination of Madhuri Dixit and Sridevi and will be the next superstar.
Professionally, Mukeshji's very happy with my performance and personally he treats me like his daughter which is why he's saying such sweet things. But I know I'm like any other newcomer who didn't know the 'A' of acting. Whatever I'm capable of today is because of Anurag who's an intelligent and patient director capable of extracting good performances. Gangster's a beautifully made film and I have a strong role. I hope people see it and like my work.
An interview with - Kangna Ranaut
She is just 19 years old and has no filmy background. She is one of those lucky newcomers who get to flag off their career in the Bhatt camp. Mukesh Bhatt has even gone forward and referred to her as the next Madhuri Dixit of Bollywood. That's actress Kangna Ranaut for you. Will she be the next big thing in Bollywood?
IndiaFM spoke to the bubbly girl who literally plunges into the Bollywood pool and is creating (news) waves for her underwater lovemaking scene with Emran Hashmi in her debut film Gangster.
Non filmy background
I am not from any filmy background family but yes, this profession has always fascinated me. I have come from a place called Manali where no one even thought of taking acting as a career. My Papa is a businessman and mom is a teacher but like I said earlier, from the beginning itself I was quite attracted towards acting. And was doing theatre in Delhi
No home work, no preparations at all
I would not like to reveal more about my role in Gangster now but it's one of the important characters in the movie. I have not done any homework for this role and it was difficult for me to play it too. It's not a conventional character from any Hindi film. It was quite a challenging role. I used to come blank on the sets. My co-stars and my director Anurag Basu helped me boost my confidence.
Eraan is quite diverse to his onscreen image
I am newcomer but both my co-stars, Emaraan Hashmi and Shiny Ahuja, never gave me that feeling. Both of them share a nice rapport with me. Emraan is quite diverse to his onscreen image. He is cool and quite. In fact his role in the movie is very different. Emran is fun to be with. While Shiny is quite mischievous, he loves to play pranks on others. He cannot sit quiet. Both are great co-stars to work with.
I used to come blank on sets
Last year in September, when I came to Mumbai Anurag spotted me at a coffee shop. He saw me with one of my friends. He asked me for an audition and I bagged the film. In spite of the fact that I am from a non film background and not even been into any acting school, he never make me feel that way. He did all the preparations for me. I used to come blank on the sets. I have a lot of trust on my director Anurag Basu. He is a man full of energy. He is an intelligent person and I enjoyed working with him
The scene that has created quite a buzz is actually a parting scene of two lovers - a very sensitive moment. It's a love making scene and has been shot very aesthetically by director Anurag Basu.
Underwater smooching scene with Emraan
Gangster is an emotional film and my character is quite interesting in the movie. The scene that has created quite a buzz is actually a parting scene of two lovers - a very sensitive moment. It's a love making scene and has been shot very aesthetically by director Anurag Basu. And regardless of what people say about Emraan that he is kissing king, he is a very nice human being and very much in love with his fiance.
Theatre was my acting school
I was a science student and never ever thought of acting but yes modeling is something, which I had thought of. I had never been into any acting school before but yes I did theatre in Delhi. I learnt acting during my theatre days.
I would like to be choosy
I am not in hurry. I would not like to sign two to three movies at a time and load myself with work. I would prefer to be choosy; I want to do some quality work and at the same time I want to enjoy my life. I am just 19 years old, have just begun my career and very young to acknowledge Bollywood. This is just my beginning. I am getting offers but nothing has been finalized yet except Mahesh Bhatt's forthcoming film Woh Lamhe.
"I feel so disconnected when girls my age talk of blind dates": Kangna Ranaut
She is the latest discovery from the house of Bhatts. She may be playing a serious, mature and an intense character for her upcoming film ''Gangster'', but when you speak to her you realize that she is still a child at heart. Barely 19 years of age, you feel that there is a lot about her that still needs to be explored. With a great future ahead for her, let''s welcome the latest entrant to the world of glamour and showbiz - KANGNA RANAUT!! Joginder Tuteja catches up with her in this two part interview:
How does it feel with just a few more days to go for your first ever release?
To be very frank I am not very nervous because the first reason is that I have not seen the movie myself and would be only seeing it later. Currently I am very busy with my shooting of 'Wo Lamhe' that takes away 14-15 hours of my day. Ye waqt agar khaali hota to main zyaada sochti, but abhi I am so busy ki mere paas sochne ka bhi time nahi hota!
Working 14-15 hours a day???? That's quite hectic!
Ya, it's pretty hectic, but then what to do since you can't help it! One has to work as per other people's schedule too. Also, shooting for 'Gangster' and 'Woh Lamhe' has been pretty much back to back. Still, it's good!
You have entered Bollywood at quite a young age of 19.
Yup, I am 19 and have just started my career. Friends of my age are at college and when they speak to me, I don't really get the stuff that they talk. They tell me about blind dates and things like that and I feel so disconnected! I mean here I am working with so much mature people in the industry and have to talk to so many people with so much of maturity. When I talk to my friends I realize that I am taking life too seriously and I shouldn't be doing that. But then I feel that's fine as it is my fate and I have got it and I am happy with that. Also, I feel good that I am on my own and I don't have to ask my parents for money!
But then do you miss studies at all?
Haan, in my life if there is any regret that I would ever have; it would be if I could finish my studies. Not that I wanted to read 16-18 hours a day but when I look at my sister, she is quite well read as she is a student of Microbiology. I may not really have the kind of knowledge level that she has as I can't talk to a doctor about cardiology like her. So sometimes I feel that I have missed out on gaining that kind of knowledge in my life.
What's your background basically?
I come from Manali [Himachal Pradesh]. My mom is a teacher and my dad is a businessman, basically a contractor.
So you are living all alone in Mumbai or do you have people around you?
I am alone but then my dad and mom are coming over to meet me. Moreover people keep coming over.
Coming back to Gangster, what really promoted you to choose it as your first film?
Dekhiye, films ke baare mein to main khaas socha nahi tha. It so happened that I was in Mumbai and Anurag spotted me and called me for the screen test. It was just that I suddenly got some work and then since it was big, I really liked it and it wasn't something that should have disappointed me! Also there wasn't the case there were too many options to choose from that I had to decide where to start from. This way 'Gangster' was a good way to start.
What really was good for you in 'Gangster'? The Bhatt banner or co-stars like Shiney and Emraan?
See, I hadn't seen Murder but it was mainly Anurag that helped me to decide to act in 'Gangster'. The way he narrated the script to me and explained the character, I realized that he is an intelligent guy. That excited me too much. Moreover he too was making a film after an year. It wasn't as if he had 3 films behind him with the dubbing of fourth in progress and the fifth on the floors. This way he had a lot of fire and energy in him.
What's the kind of character you play in the film?
It is not entirely based on some real life character but ya; there is an extract from a real life love story. The only similarity is that here also the girl is in love with a gangster. It’s a triangular love story which is full of drama, suspense and thrills. You can't say that as a whole it's a biographical film.
Did you have to go through some kind of reference material before you started shooting for the film?
No, in fact when I asked Anurag if I had to study anything for this film, he told me to completely forget what I had learnt in the past and come blank on the sets. Since he wanted spontaneous acting, he wanted himself to take care of my acting bit.
What is the reason behind carrying a bottle in your hands throughout the film?
This girl has a very scattered childhood and is quite sad throughout even at this young age. She wants to die in spite of the fact that her life has just started. Then as soon as she grows up, she falls in love with a gangster which makes her life even more complicated because on one day she is living in a five star hotel, the other night she has to spend on a street. She is loosing so much and this is when Emraan enters her life that makes it a triangular love story. Before meeting him, she is so sad that she gets tries to get rid of her sadness by hitting the bottle. Her past is so sad and painful and you would learn more about that once you watch the film.