'I really love working as a technician.'
'No actor wants to be out in the sun as opposed to being in the AC van.'
'No actor wants to be among 80 sweaty people who are asking you 100 questions.'
'I don't know what is it about me that I am so comfortable in this job.'
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Kangana Ranaut, who is making a controversial directorial debut with Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi after its original director Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi left the project, says she loved sweating it out like a technician on the film.
At the Manikarnika trailer launch, Kangana said she loved being out in the sun and would swap the luxuries of a star for a seat behind the camera without any hesitation.
"I don't know what is it about me, but I really love working as a technician. No actor wants to be out in the sun as opposed to being in the AC van. No actor wants to be among 80 sweaty people who are asking you 100 questions," she says.
"I don't know what is it about me that I am so comfortable in this job. There is nothing I love more than directing. Even though I don't get to wear make-up or look like my star self or get any special treatment," she adds.
"It is absolutely a worker's life to be honest, but there's something so amazing about this job that I don't know why people even consider this a job."
"It is so much fun. I think acting is more like a job, but directing is a lot of fun. I hope I get more chances to do this. This seems like my first love," she told the media.
Kangana has been credited as co-director on the film. Jagarlamudi left the project abruptly reportedly due to creative differences with Kangana who plays the title role.
Jagarlamudi has not commented on his departure, but the producers said he left the film midway as the dates clashed with his forthcoming project, a biopic on the late Telugu movie legend and politician Nandamuri Taraka Ramarao, NTR.
Kangana, who dressed up as her character of Rani Laxmibai at the trailer launch, said it was Prasoon Joshi, the film's dialogue writer, who suggested she helm the film.
"Prasoon Joshi first showed confidence in me and said I would be the right person (to direct the film). I was not ready," Kangana revealed.
"When I started shooting for the film, we had action and horse riding and all of that. I felt I was a duck paddling beneath the surface."
"It was all too much for me from action to costumes to drama. But the whole team was warm to me. I was conscious as there were a lot of things in the media, gossip and opposition as they don't know what has happened and at this time we could go and clarify things. But everyone was warm to me and I felt confident," she said.
The film is set to be released on January 25 and will clash with Hrithik Roshan's Super 30 and Emraan Hashmi's Cheat India.
She did not directly comment on the clash, but said choosing January 25 was important for them, keeping the patriotic theme of the film in mind.
"Nobody pressured me for this release date, but I felt this film should have this sentiment as far as the release date is concerned like Republic Day or Independence Day."
Though the actress or producers did not directly comment on what the reason behind Jagarlamudi's departure from the film was, Kangana admitted that the subject is "jinxed".
"This subject is jinxed, a lot of people tried to make it. When we started this film I got hurt, I got 20 stitches. We faced obstacles like people falling from horses, this was ok, but has it ever happened that a director has left the film?"
The director's departure is not the only controversy that has come Kangana's way. Director Ketan Mehta accused her and Producer Kaman Jain of 'breach of trust' as the actress reportedly had said 'yes' to his project, but later moved ahead with another director.
Kangana said she was overjoyed when writer K V Vijayendra Prasad of Baahubali and Bajrangi Bhaijaan fame narrated the script to her.
"When Vijendra sir came to me I was clapping and absolutely exhilarated when he narrated. I have taken their vision ahead. I could interpret because I have shot 60, 70 per cent of the film. As far as creative aspect is concerned, I would like to give to the writers. The script was never changed," she said.
"It is not that I had to taken someone's vision ahead with the material I was given. I had my own vision. It is a definitely much more difficult to step into someone else's shoes," she added.
Kangana greets Suresh Oberoi.
Ankita Lokhande, who acts in the film, with Kangana.
Vaibhav Tatwawaadi along with Ankita.
Composers Loy Mendonsa, Shankar Mahadevan and Ehsaan Noorani.
Shankar Mahadevan, Mishti, Ankita, Costume Designer Neeta Lulla, Producers Kamal Jain and Shariq Patel, Jisshu Sengupta and Suresh Oberoi.
Loy Mendonsa, Ehsaan Noorani, Nihar Pandya, writer K V Vijayendra Prasad, Shankar Mahadevan, Misti, Ankita and Neeta Lulla.
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar. Text: PTI