She reminds me of Alice in Wonderland. A girl who scampered dreamily, fell into a rabbit-hole and found herself in the peculiar, fantasy world of Bollywood. With Cheshire cats, Mad Hatters, mad-tea parties, Queen of Hearts, et al. Kangana Ranaut lives in the make-believe world of cinema, yet, she is not consumed by it.

“I don’t live to work; it is only a small part of my life. I am not born to act. I act to express myself, but I’m not obsessed with it. I want to try different things before I know what I love doing the most. In that sense I’m a wanderer,” she says.

Her elegant home resonates with her thoughts — bold, abstract, with an old-world charm. I’m distracted by a stunning piece of decor perched on the wall — a huge cut-out of Marilyn Monroe in her iconic pose, embedded with flashy lights. I know why, of course. We cosily settled down on the floor of her large living room with a cuppa chai, sunlight streaming in through the broad-brimmed windows while we chat about everything deep, dark and daring. Her enviable long locks are chopped off for a movie, but we’re not surprised, Kangana is after all a crackerjack at becoming the character she portrays.

“I don’t carry the baggage of my achievements or my failures. So, I can slip into my characters fearlessly. I live light, it gives me freedom to fly and be myself. People expect you to be part of a typical blockbuster, as their idea of success is so narrow. I enjoy larger-than-life characters and ensemble films, too, and I’m open to working with anyone, as long as I am also the hero in the film,” she says with casual candour.

Though, for her, success didn’t come easy as earlier she didn’t have a tray-full of roles to pick and devour.

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“I think success is overrated. And the struggle to get there is underrated. There are no rules that we have to make it.”

Kangana explains, “Our society has a mean spirit; we crush the confidence of those who fail. Why do we make failure look so bad? I don’t see my failures as tragic or embarrassing.”

There were stories on how she was called a ‘loser’, at the start of her career. At dizzying heights of stardom, does she feel vindicated now? Pat comes her reply, “I am still that loser. I like the term ‘loser’; I am more comfortable with failure than success. It makes me bond with myself. It gives me character, strength and drive. Every time I am suppressed and I lose, I hit back with a bang. I don’t think even rejection in love is a tragedy.”

Source: TOI

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