FRIDAY REVIEW

Exploring the brighter side of life

Interview After making a mark playing fractured characters, it is sunny days ahead for Kangna Ranaut in her next few films. harshikaa udasi

T he year may have not started on a great note for Kangna Ranaut with a miniscule role in the biggest flop of the year, ‘Kites,' but that's not going to put this spunky girl down. Beginning this week, Kangna's lined up some juicy films at the turnstiles to keep her fans riveted to the screen. First up is the 1970s gangster thriller based in the underworld capital Mumbai – ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbai' (OUTM).

And, it's her character of Rehana that is arguably the most talked about feature of this release. It is allegedly inspired by a small-time actor Sona who reportedly caught the fancy of the underworld lord Haji Mastan. She is glamorous. She is sensual, and she is controversial. Clearly, Kangna has enjoyed playing Rehana.

A diva

“I love it! My character is that of a 1970's star. She's a diva; so, the clothes are very beautiful. It's great fun!” says the actor, excitedly.

Asked about treading the fine line between fact and fiction, and the controversies it has been attracting, she says: “Rehana is a fictional character. Milan Sir (director Milan Luthria) has drawn inspiration from yesteryear actor Madhubala who was from an earlier era – the 1950s and the 1960s. And, he asked me to look up references from actors in the 1970s – such as Parveen Babi and Zeenat Aman. They were very sensuous and attractive. That's what Rehana is like; she evokes desire in men.”

The 23-year-old actor is not one to normally sidestep issues. She tackles them all with honesty on her website, where she blogs once a month. Controversies, right from the Headley connection to reported breast enhancement surgeries, are dealt with candidly.

As for her bonding with co-stars, she shares an easy relationship with Emraan Hashmi, her co-star in ‘Gangster' and ‘OUTM.' But this is a first with Ajay Devgn, with whom she has reportedly been signed on for another film by Priyadarshan, inspired by the Hollywood flick ‘Speed.' She's already shooting with him for David Dhawan's comedy, ‘Rascals.' “Working with Ajay was good. He is a fantastic actor, and I've always loved his work. I remember seeing ‘Ishq' about 10 times when I was a kid! And, we really enjoyed working together on this film. We have many things in common – we're both basically quiet, Arians...so, it was great to work with him,” she says.

For someone who started out as a rather unusual-looking actor – petite frame, curly hair… – in ‘Gangster,' where she played a don's moll, Kangna has made a name for herself in a short span of four years. While Anurag Basu's ‘Gangster' established her as an actor in the very first shot, ‘Woh Lamhe' (allegedly inspired by Parveen Babi's romance with Mahesh Bhatt) and ‘Life in a…Metro' as well as ‘Raaz II' cemented her position. Her 2008 release, Madhur Bhandarkar's ‘Fashion,' got her her first National Award.

While she enjoyed tremendous critical as well as popular adulation, Kangna got associated with fractured characters showing psychotic tendencies. The actor is itching to move away from that. Reportedly, she even turned down Rohan Sippy's ‘Dum Maaro Dum' as she was required to play yet another gangster's girl.

Different plots are the way to go ahead, she seems to have decided. She will be seen next with R. Madhavan in ‘Tanu Weds Manu' – a romantic comedy originating in a small town. “‘Tanu weds Manu' has a delightful script. I play a middle-class girl, who's a bit of a grey character. It's a very interesting role,” she says.

And, that's not the end of the comedy genre. Three new films – ‘Dhamaal,' ‘Rascals' and ‘No Problem' – will be providing the laughs.



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