I don’t think I can go back to being what I was before Katti Batti
The current live wire of the big screen is back in another quirky romantic tale, Katti Batti. She’s the versatile Kangana Ranaut who continues to wow audiences with her riveting choice of roles. In a candid chat, the award-winning actress talks about her character in Nikhil Advani’s directorial venture and what her fans should expect from her forthcoming film.
What made you say yes to Katti Batti?
It is a very complex role. The film begins with the guy having already lost the love of his life and a series of events unfold, which give you a glimpse of his life and the girl. I remember Imran (Khan) had initially said that he was very intimidated by the role ‘coz usually there’s only one graph for a woman in our films, but in Katti Batti every piece is like a mini film. There were so many different graphs throughout the film for my character.
Having done a range of powerful roles, do you always seek characters that are as unique or similar to previous roles?
As a performer my aim with every film is that it should be better than my previous performances, even if it is a few steps. With Katti Batti I think I have achieved it.
It was believed that you are only interested in doing women-centric films, but Katti Batti is about you and Imran Khan. Comment.
My understanding of films had become limited as I wanted to do only female-centric films. In fact I was reluctant to hear the narration for this film till Salman (Khan) called me and said that I should hear the script as it’s a very good role. Immediately, after the narration I said yes to the film. I think seeing films as female or non-female centric portrays a limited vision, so I decided to be open to all kinds of films rather than restrict myself.
Given that most of your roles are so emotionally strong, do they take a toll on you at a personal level?
All the time. I got deeply involved with my character Payal in Katti Batti; it is the most tragic character I have played so far. I remember being so affected by it that I was crying all the time, lost my appetite and so on. My mother visited me during the shooting and told me that I shouldn’t do such characters and movies at a young age. She feels that I will become mentally messed-up. I guess that’s why actors are so messed-up ‘coz they are constantly playing with their mind. It is the most dangerous organ to play with.
I will never do anything like Payal’s character again. I am not a strong enough person. I don’t think I can go back to being what I was before Katti Batti. Such roles definitely make you sensitive to certain aspects of life that you didn’t even consider, and life becomes a lot more difficult as one can never go back to being who they were.
Would you say you have a natural attraction for complex characters?
I think all characters are complex. As individuals, there is no one who isn’t complex because all of us are layered. The characters that are not complex are badly written. Obviously, I prefer the ones that are detailed and have layers.
How do you unwind to get over the emotional stress?
I am a mountain woman. So, I can easily unwind at places that have mountains, snow and silence. I don’t need meditation. There shouldn’t be phones or books, just being in sync with nature, walking through the jungle, sitting by the river helps me unwind.
What is your dream role?
Tanu, Datto, Rani, Payal – are all dream roles. The role of Rani Laxmibai (in the biopic) is a dream come true. There is always a side of you that you want to explore through the characters you play onscreen, and Rani Laxmibai will give me an opportunity to explore motherhood.
Do you seriously intend to get into direction?
Yes, it will be a natural organic progression. Direction or cinematography is a lot more relaxing than acting as a director or cinematographer does one project, then takes time off as opposed to an actress who is doing three films simultaneously. I would definitely advise direction or cinematography for women, also to my cousins or children.
Are there any plans to write an autobiography?
There are so many things I would like to write about, not just about life. For instance how I use Vedanta (philosophy) to penetrate into my characters. I use the spiritual understanding to comprehend the psychology of the characters and reflect it in my actions. I would like to share this trick with the world. I want to also write about gardening, poems and probably about my life and how I dealt with my struggles. I would like to write about my psychology as I tend to perceive every challenge in a unique way and overcome it. I see so many people struggling with similar things so I would like people to access the technique I use to deal with challenges. It will be useful for young girls.
Professionally you have had a great run with Queen, Tanu Weds Manu Returns and are looked as the top actress in Hindi cinema. How do such accolades and adulation make you feel?
The best part of my success is that it came so late. How you deal with it depends on how you feel as an individual. Had I achieved success eight-nine years ago when I was a teenager, I would have ended up like my character in Fashion. At 28 one is more balanced and matured as a woman, so that does affect your perspective to everything. I wouldn’t wish success to young people because it can be very hard to deal with.
Can you tell us a little about Vishal Bhardwaj’s Rangoon?
I am really excited about the film because I have been wanting to work with Vishal sir for the longest time and finally it has happened. The role is amazing, that of a larger-than-life star of the 40s. Sometimes the director you want to work with may not have a great role, but here I have the most amazing role. It will take me one notch higher than Payal.