Fierce and fiery: Is Bollywood ready for the storm that Kangana Ranaut is?

Fierce and fiery: Is Bollywood ready for the storm that Kangana Ranaut is?

Kangana Ranaut

Looking like the queen straight from the hellish oars of dreamland, and carrying her aura on her sleeve, Kangana Ranaut has been taking us by the storm for the past week. The woman has been the phoenix who again and again rises from the ashes, to blow our minds away, every single time. Be it her cinematic outings, or even her interactions with the media, she is that outspoken blow of fire that even waters cannot quench.

But the million dollar question is, is Bollywood ready for her?

Renowned writer Shobhaa De, who is now infamous for her motormouth tweets that trigger outrage every time she types within those 140 characters, wrote in her column recently, “I think Bollywood is uncomfortable with women like her. But it is women like her who are the real game changers. If she refuses to play the glamorous prop in hero-dominated films, it is because she puts a high value on herself. In the bargain, she probably loses out on lakhs. But if that was her main concern, she would have made significantly different choices and been a much wealthier star.” [sic]

We know that the writer seldom says relevant stuff nowadays, but somewhere, deep in our subconscious, we can’t help but agree with her.

Here is a woman who is a brilliant artist, yet misconstrued and misunderstood at every step she takes forward. Here is a woman who is brash and is proud of it. Here is a woman who is conquering the world of Bollywood, challenging the norms and traditions, challenging her own existence of being an ‘outsider’. This is imperative to an industry that has been surviving on lineages rather than talent, where name comes before the screen test, and nepotism exists in all its glory.

Kangana has challenged all the aforesaid notions and with sheer hard work she has shined brighter than a diamond. But, the shine is not what Bollywood is ready for, especially if it does not come off a male star. We have a Vidya Balan who has managed the feat, but where she has been subtle, Kangana has marked a territory and is guarding that with a fierceness audience and industry alike don’t understand, much like her character Julia from her latest movie ‘Rangoon’. Just like there were layers to Julia that even the audience could not fathom, Kangana is made of even tougher and complex layers.

She does not wear her heart on her sleeves, and boldly states what’s on her mind. We are accustomed to leading ladies who smile with all the poise and are seldom snarky enough to comment on matters that are uncomfortable. They speak how they are ‘supposed’ to and answer what we want to hear rather than what they want to say. Public image matters and that is what they strive to maintain, at times, keeping their originality at stake. With her appearance on ‘Koffee With Karan 5’, Kangana effortlessly sashayed over all those norms and recreated the word snarky without batting an eyelid.

The question is, are we ready for a leading lady so confident who is not ready to take a backseat for the ‘stars’? Are we ready for the actress who is so comfortable in her own skin? It is a long way to go from here, as changes are certainly reflecting in Bollywood. We may not yet be ready for the storm that Kangana is, but she is the queen who is here to say. You may love her or hate her, but you surely cannot ignore her.

Are we ready to confront the uncomfortable truths of Bollywood that we adore with starry-eyes? The day we will be, that would be the one we would completely embrace the idea and storm that a lady and actor like Kangana Ranaut is. As for now, we can just try and take a step forward towards that, for we have a long way to go.

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