x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

In the flood of Bollywood cliches, Ranaut stands out for her candidness

Bollywood stars big and small stick to a tired script of politically correct statements but in a recent interview, Kangana Ranaut shone with honesty and charm.

Bollywood celebrities spout the same lines over and over again, both on and off the set.

“I have a lot of projects in the pipeline”, “I look for that something special in every role that I accept”, and the oh-so-boring “this next project of mine is like nothing I have ever done before”.

This is the oft-repeated (and seldom true) mantra of Bollywood stars big and small: a tired script of politically correct statements interspersed with fabrications alluding to better career prospects than actually exist.

As fans, we have grown used to these half-truths from our favourite stars. We don’t even bat an eyelid. What makes us sit up and take notice is when someone dares to tell it like it is.

If I had to bet on which Bollywood star would most likely to do so, I would have to put my money on Kangana Ranaut – the 26-year-old, small-town girl with incredible sass, who has been in Bollywood for seven years. As of October 11, that bet would have paid off.

Anupama Chopra, the host of Star World’s The Front Row, invited Ranaut as a guest on the show and brought us what may possibly be one of the most honest Bollywood interviews of all time.

The YouTube video clip from that show has racked up almost 250,000 views. In this clip, the actress talks candidly about everything from the challenges of being a small-town girl in a big, bad world, to why she chose to do some B-grade films.

“We have to earn our bread and butter,” she admits honestly. She talks about the vicious cause-and- effect cycle of having to do bad films just to make ends meet, and then finding it difficult to get better roles because of having lowered oneself so.

“I am not the daughter of someone, or some supermodel or ex-Miss World or Miss Universe,” she says about her struggle with nepotism as a nobody, as opposed to others who’ve made it big in Bollywood (such as the former Miss World Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and Sonam Kapoor – the daughter of the Slumdog Millionaire actor Anil Kapoor).

She talks about the fear of not being able to make it in the industry and shudders at the prospect of having to work in a regular office job after having been a failure in films. “Imagine a has-been actress working in an office somewhere?” she says.

To hear a poised and polished star talk so honestly about her insecurities is a breath of fresh air. Sadly, these occasions are the exceptions. Flash back to the Dubai press conference of Ranaut’s latest film Krrish 3 (out in the UAE on Thursday). She didn’t smile even once, while the former Miss World Priyanka Chopra beamed at the flashing cameras and inquisitive reporters. A surly Ranaut had this to say: “I’m proud to be part of such a prestigious project.”

The writer is an honest-to-goodness Desi fan living in Dubai

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