By talking about Hrithik, Kangana broke a sacred Bollywood code

Can an Indian actress get away by challenging a male superstar not in reel but for real?

 |  4-minute read |   29-04-2016
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The quintessential Bollywood outsider, Kangana Ranaut has completed a decade in the industry. Her debut film Gangster released on April 28 in 2006.

Despite a stellar debut in 2006, Kangana has had to struggle to establish herself as one of the leading actresses in the industry. It was only after her turn as Rani in the 2014 film Queen was she considered a force to reckon with. It took her almost eight years to make people sit up and take notice and also acknowledge her acting prowess.

Also read - If she's successful, sexually frank like Kangana, she must be a witch?

A Hindi film heroine's career lasts for close to a decade on an average even today. Given those statistics, Kangana has arrived only recently. What's remarkable about her success is the fact that she has done it completely on her own merit: without starring in a film which featured a Khan, Khanna or Kapoor. It is also alleged that she turned down a role in the upcoming Salman Khan starrer Sultan.

2kr_042916090559.jpg Kangana Ranaut won her first National Award for best supporting asctress for Fashion in 2008.

More importantly her last year's blockbuster hit Tanu Weds Manu Returns made 100 crores at the domestic box office making her the first leading lady in the industry to have achieved that feat without relying on the star power of the hero to rake in the moolah.

And, before anybody dismisses her as just a Bollywood star, let's not forget that she has bagged three National Awards in all. None of her contemporaries can boast of.

Also read - Why Kangana Ranaut can now be crowned the queen of Bollywood

Unlike actresses who would never admit to having done films just for the money, Kangana has candidly gone on to say on record that she did some films which she might not be proud of because acting earns her the bread and butter and also the margarine and jam to go with it.

In fact, she has fearlessly exposed the hypocritical standards in the industry where an actress who cannot speak the English language is looked down upon. What seems to have amused her is that an actress who acts in Hindi films is required to speak in clipped English and with impeccable diction.

Kangana is one of the rare mainstream actors to have addressed the issue of being subjected to physical abuse and violence by a man from the industry when she was in a relationship with him. She has also admitted to have been discriminated against as a child for being a girl.

indian-queen-kanagna_042916090625.jpg Inarguably Bollywood's reigning queen. 

Fame brings a certain halo along with it which makes celebrities want to maintain a pristine image, but Kangana did not let herself fall for that. The unflattering truths in her life have never made her uncomfortable or want to hide them from the media, or the public at large.

It takes courage and also conviction in one's own actions to be blasé and unapologetic. While some might look at her as a rebel and a misfit in an industry where actresses are politically correct to the point of being boring, Kangana is a trendsetter without doubt.

Also read - Why Kangana Ranaut is Bollywood's rebel queen

While the going seemed to be good for her and her success well deserved, a past alleged liaison cast a shadow on this otherwise unconventional and successful star. She did the unthinkable act of locking horns with Bollywood superstar Hrithik Roshan.

The question is not whether the two stars had a dalliance or not. The question is: can an actress get away by challenging a male superstar not in reel but for real? That Kangana does not conform to stereotypes set for the Bollywood heroine is a well-known fact.

tanuwedsmanumay30_042916090659.jpg In a still from Tanu Weds Manu Returns. 

But she went a step further and broke a sacred code of an industry, which she is now very much a part of. When stars mutually agree on spilling the beans about their relationship, they speak about it to the media at length. But if it's a hush-hush affair then it's strictly off bounds, more so if it involves a married man.

What one can infer from the ugly battle that's been playing out between Ranaut and Roshan in the media is that this time around, it's advantage Hrithik.

Also read - Bollywood's dirtiest secret: The non-gentleman's code of dishonour

But what also seems difficult to digest is why an outspoken and unapologetic Kangana resorted to a lie. Is the veneer of unconventionality just that? A PR strategy to grab eyeballs? If not, then are stars as vulnerable as mere mortals when it comes to the matters of the heart?

Despite the ugly and murky war that she has been embroiled in, Kangana's success as a professional is unparalleled. She has redefined the Hindi film heroine in more ways than one.

When a star refuses to endorse a fairness brand, you can't help but show admiration. In an industry where endorsements pay more than film roles, Kangana must be lauded for taking a strong stand. There's definitely something about Kangana!


Lasyapriya Sundaram Lasyapriya Sundaram @lasyapriyas

The writer is an entertainment journalist with India Today TV.

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