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From Being A Feminist To Playing One, Kangana Ranaut Is The ‘Badass’ Queen of Bollywood

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By Tarushi Varma:

Ever felt a refreshing blast of cold breeze hit you? Well, that feeling describes perfectly the effect our new hero has on us. Kangana Ranaut, who so far had the quintessential small town girl reputation, has proved herself to be a complete badass. Expressing her bold and stimulating opinion in various interviews, she is as feminist as they get.


Kangana was brought up in a conservative joint family where traditions such as the family males eating first prevailed; she sought it on herself to disobey every one of them. She has always believed in mutual respect and equality and hence to accept such an apparent disparity in people on basis of gender is hard for her. She told The Times of India in an interview, “My father slapped me for the first time at 15 and I told him, ‘If you slap me I will slap you back’. I felt raising your hand on anybody is inappropriate and I always had a high regard for myself”

Even as an adult, she was considered to be a misfit by her contemporaries and employers alike in the initial years of her career. Even though she had to struggle to make a place for herself in this awfully competitive industry, which is otherwise also known for its male privilege, she never gave up her values. And today, she has accomplished a relative high in her successful career with sensational roles in Fashion, Rajjo and Revolver Rani, where she plays the courageous womyn who stand up for themselves and make a difference in the heavily male dominated world. Then came Queen, her most recent release, which was made through a feminist spectacle portraying her as a simple Indian womyn who self-discovers her true liberating self.

Not just her roles, even her unconventional opinions which she expresses fearlessly, challenge the traditional perspective. Don’t believe me? Wait till you hear her take on the whole institution of marriage, “Why do people get married? I don’t understand the whole setup and the reason behind it. Especially for girls, I see it as a very big problem. Because they are never encouraged to be something. The main instruction was, ‘how are you going to behave in your in-laws house’, even when I was tiny. We shouldn’t have a ready setup to be given to a man, like a fully trained dog to take care of the house.”

Kangana openly talks about herself and her freedom is the dearest thing to her, which she would never compromise. She displays tremendous self conviction and self reliance, and encourages her audience to the same. Above all, she teaches us to bravely be ourselves and love ourselves for who we really are.

Finally, it is safe to say that she a brilliant womyn, incredibly talented, even giving some of the big hot-shots of Bollywood a run for their money. All this while, she achieved her entire success single handedly, without even the support of her family. She is a worthy role model for all the Queens and Rajjos out there who struggle everyday to make a difference to their lives.

It’s like she says, “We need to raise our girls like superheroes, like we do our men.”

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  1. Kshitij Dhyani

    Dear Author, you don’t have the slightest clue what feminism is. I mean let’s be fair, do you?

    1. puru tyagi

      Please enlighten us…what is feminism?

    2. Rohan

      Nor the ability to proofread.

    3. ila

      Do you know what it is?

    4. TS2014

      Thank you for pointing this out. I am tired of Bollywood’s misconceived ramblings about “feminist” and “woman-centric” movies. Just having a female hero taking down brawny dudes doesn’t make a “feminist” movie. Nor does a lead female role. Feminism is NOT just about women. It is an analytical framework to understand (in)equality of genders and their representations in the society. Living in the same society, men and women often face very different social worlds because of unequal gender roles, expectations and socialization processes. Feminists (which includes both men and women) address these social and economic inequalities that have no scientific rationality. Feminism, like any other field of knowledge, have undergone several changes over the years primarily responding to the questions and challenges of a specific era (e.g. issues of voting, property rights, reproductive choices, sexual objectification, LGBT rights, etc.). Hence it is multidimensional, political, powerful and dynamic. And of course there are criticisms, but that only makes the field and the agendas more powerful and critical. Anyhow, I have always recommended a sociology 101 course for our Bollywood denizens, but who is listening? 🙂 It amuses me how some of our dear actors emphatically put forth their (uneducated and misinformed) spheel on “feminism”. Ha!

  2. Kritika Sobti

    Interesting write up. 🙂 I never saw Kangana that way. Looking out for more of such articles.

  3. Cinephile Ignoramus

    Kangana is definitely a wonderfully confident and self assured young woman (or womyn as the author would prefer), and I hope we get to see many more like her in the public space. Her films however, or rather her roles, don’t really qualify as “feminist” with the exception of Queen. Fashion was anything but feminist, in which her character is shown as one that can’t handle the pressures that are a part and parcel of a career in the world of glamour. And quite heartbreaking was Revolver Rani, in which her character longs for (surprise! surprise!) filling tiffin boxes for her husband, and motherhood is depicted as the most important thing in her life… that when she is a kickass gun toting politician, who inspite of having been an MLA is a clueless puppet in the hands of her male relative. I’d just say that Kangana is a bold and honest one, but Indian cinema doesn’t really seem to be able to catch up with her.

  4. Deeksha Yadav

    Commend u for the fact that you chose womyn instead of woman.

  5. Rahul

    Very well articulated!

  6. Monistaf

    I applaud this article about gender equality and am a firm believer that everyone is just as capable in what ever they set their minds to do regardless of whether they are men or women. That is exactly why I would like to call out the “hypocrisy” of feminism. Since we are all equal, we should be treated as such without any privileges or special considerations anywhere, no reservations, no quotas, no discrimination what so ever based on gender. That, however, is not the case in real life and we all know that from even a bill being considered that 30% of the seats in the parliament have to be reserved for women. I am glad that the bill has not passed, but the right thing is to let the best people win. If everyone is equal, they all have an equal chance of making it. Why do you want to consider reservation? The very idea of fighting for reservation is an admission of not being able to openly and fairly compete. The same is true for all other forms of reservations from seats on trains and buses to seats in academic institutions.

    Some women are at least honest about this hypocrisy. Look at some youtube videos

  7. Neha Jha

    Thank you for writing such an amazing article on probably the strongest woman we have today in our film industry. I’d like to add that Kangana doesn’t simply talk, she actually practices what she speaks. She accepted recently the role of 15 year old’s mother in a movie. That role was turned down by ‘Bollywood Queens’ like Madhuri, Karisma and Juhi. Even though Kangana is not even 30, she accepted the role.
    Apart from society-dictated customs, I find, women themselves accept their inferior position and conform to the norms. Many actresses these days don’t hesitate to act opposite actors 18-20 years older than them and say “Its our profession”. Well, I wonder what happens to them when they are offered roles of mothers? Where does their professionalism go? Its just about business! They will claim that they can’t help it. True! But, then, it will take ages for Bollywood to change when even Hollywood has male bias.

  8. Babar

    She told The Times of India in an interview, “My father slapped me for the first time at 15 and I told him, ‘If you slap me I will slap you back’. I felt raising your hand on anybody is inappropriate and I always had a high regard for myself”

    Are you praising and supporting a woman who has no respect for her father, and is actually willing to slap him – Is this what you stand for?

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