Kangana Ranaut decided to push the envelope with her latest film Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi.
Along with playing the lead, the actor also turned co-director for the film. And it looks like she found her true calling!
Speaking about her experience, Ranaut revealed that she "always wanted to direct films. These days, you generally hear of directors wanting to be actors, and not the other way around. Even those actors who direct don’t really do it full-time. They feel that they have got a certain amount of acclaim and popularity as actors, so why should they give that up and only direct films. It may sound strange, but I have never really identified with being an actress. It’s not my calling, direction is."
While directors have the pressure, it came naturally to Kangana which she didn't expect to happen either.
"It’s actually surprising even to me how comfortable I feel being a director on set, even when I am sweating buckets and am surrounded by 500 people and everyone’s screaming at the same time! There’s something about directing a film that’s so gratifying, even though it’s a worker’s life. An actor is just one part of the whole orchestra of filmmaking and it kind of makes me feel inadequate, that I am not doing enough as a creative person."
Does this mean Manikarnika will be Kangana's last project as an actor? Not at all as the actor says, "It’s not that I don’t want to act in films with other directors — I am doing Ashwiny’s (Iyer Tiwari) Panga and Prakash’s film (Kovelamudi, called Mental Hai Kya) right now. I like acting, but I always felt a part of me was dying somewhere because I wasn’t being utilised totally. I felt like a part of me was rotting away because I wasn’t being able to express myself as a director. When I was just an actor on this film, I didn’t know what was happening with the rest of the film and it was frustrating. A lot of mishaps happened on set… I injured myself several times, I broke my forehead and I was worried about how I would take this forward as an actor.
"But when I got down to directing, there was no pressure… there were only goals. For me, the director is the hero of a film and directing is my first love,"
She added, "Honestly, it’s actually a relief to just be an actor… to be a small part of a huge canvas. Acting, for me, is actually like a holiday (laughs). I can sit prettily in my van and go out only when I am called for my shot, I don’t have to bother about anything else. When I was shooting Panga, I was so busy with the VFX of Manikarnika that I was constantly Facetiming with my team. Imagine how overrated actors are! I could actually do a full-fledged role as an actor and I had so much time that I did the entire VFX work of an epic film alongside!"
Kangana then pulled a Kangana and called out her fellow actors in Bollywood for their entitled behaviour.
"Actors behave like they are carrying the burden of the world on their shoulders… so, so overrated. Acting involves doing absolutely nothing and that kind of superficial involvement always hurt me. I don’t come from a film family and I don’t have a platform set out for me where I can stand and make tall announcements like, ‘I want to be a director’. It’s happened organically. I still ask Prasoon Sir that what made him think I could direct when even I didn’t know I could do it. Being an actor doesn’t interfere with what I want to do as a director and vice-versa. As an actor, I am happy to be a part of someone else’s vision. If you ask me whether the films I am doing as an actor stimulate me as a director, then the answer would be, ‘Not at all’.
"What Ashwiny is doing with Panga is a reflection of who she is as a mother and a wife. I don’t know that world because I am not married and I don’t have children-related issues (smiles). Mental Hai Kya is a thriller, it’s a mad ride and as a director, thriller as a genre doesn’t excite me. But to be part of it as an actor is so gratifying."
Manikarnika releases January 25.