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Kangana's New Role: 'Mandi Ki Sansad'

Source: PTI
Last updated on: June 05, 2024 20:38 IST
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She sparked a debate on nepotism in Bollywood, was given security when she compared the Maharashtra government to Pakistan occupied Kashmir and was banned from Twitter for comments on violence in West Bengal.

IMAGE: Kangana Ranaut with Jairam Thakur, second from right, Leader of the Opposition in the Himachal Pradesh assembly, during celebrations after her victory from the Mandi Lok Sabha seat, June 4, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

Unabashedly political and outspoken, actor Kangana Ranaut is now headed for Parliament as the Bharatiya Janata Party's MP from Mandi.

The 37 year old, who was also sued for defamation by industry veteran Javed Akhtar, is known as much for her acerbic comments as for her films.

As she makes her political debut, Ranaut, who defeated the Congress' Vikramaditya Singh by 74,755 votes from her home state Himachal Pradesh, will be the cynosure of many an eye in the Lok Sabha.

Will she be like some of her colleagues and be quiet in the Lower House or keep to her reputation of speaking her mind?

If her track record is anything to go by, it will be the latter.

On Tuesday, when trends indicated she was going to win her election, the four-time National Award winner said, 'Heartfelt gratitude to all the people of Mandi for this love and trust... This victory belongs to all of you, this is the victory of your trust in Prime Minister Modi and the BJP, this is the victory of Sanatan and in the honour of Mandi.'

Soon after, she said, 'Mandi ki sansad.'

Kangana was not the only actor seeking votes.

Along with her were fellow BJP debutant Ramayan star Arun Govil, elected from Meerut, two-time Mathura MP Hema Malini, and the Trinamool Congress' candidate Shatrughan Sinha from Asansol.

Ranaut was certainly the most talked about contender among them, running her entire campaign on being the daughter of the soil.

She also gained public sympathy due to derogatory comments from Opposition leaders for her acting background and the name of her constituency.

IMAGE: Kangana Ranaut receives the winning certificate in Mandi, June 4, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo


In an industry where actors mostly conceal their political affiliations, Ranaut was among the handful of Hindi cinema stars to openly extend support to the BJP and Modi, calling herself a fan of the leader.

Always vocal in the media and on social platforms, Ranaut was a high profile, prominent voice supporting the ruling party on issues like the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in 2019-2020 and farmers' protests in 2020-2021. Her Twitter run-in with Diljit Dosanjh is now part of public discourse.

Akhtar filed a defamation case against Ranaut over her remarks that he had threatened her. The case is still in court.

After she compared the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, led by Uddhav Thackeray, to PoK, the actor saw her Mumbai office being demolished by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

This became a major flashpoint between the state and Centre back in September 2020. Soon after, she was provided Y+ grade security by the Union home ministry.

The following year in 2021, she was banned from Twitter following her comments on post post poll violence in West Bengal.

Unfazed, she switched to Instagram, where she continued to make headlines for her political opinions.

Ranaut is back on the microblogging site.

IMAGE: Kangana Ranaut receives the National Award for Best Actress from then vice president M Venkaiah Naidu, October 25, 2021. Photograph: Kamal Kishore/PTI Photo from the Rediff Archives

She has won the National Award an enviable four times -- best supporting actress for Fashion, best actress for Queen, Tanu Weds Manu Returns and the third for her roles in Manikarnika and Panga.

Ranaut, who was also named a Padma Shri recipient in 2020, was all of 17 when she made her Bollywood debut in 2006 with Anurag Basu's Gangster opposite Emraan Hashmi.

It was a critical and commercial hit that made everyone take notice of the fresh-faced newcomer, who seemed different from the quintessential Bollywood heroines of the time with her curly hair and the propensity to speak her mind.

The actor proved that she was not a fluke by continuing to deliver solid performances in Woh Lamhe..., Life in a... Metro and Fashion, where she played a supermodel on a downhill track.

She was also praised for her small stint in Once Upon a Time in Mumbai and cemented her position in the industry as a leading lady with her role in Tanu Weds Manu, a sleeper hit of 2011.

This was followed by a period of struggle and her brief role Krrish 3 did not do much for her career, which by then seemed to be on a decline.

IMAGE: Kangana Ranaut in Queen.

It was 2014's Queen that re-established the brand Ranaut in Bollywood.

The film on a runaway bride who rediscovers herself made her a bona fide star in the industry, mostly ruled by male stars.

In Tanu Weds Manu Returns, the actor played a double role and was widely praised for her acting chops.

Ranaut was hailed for her views on feminism, the industry and how she worked on herself to become a better performer. Chat show hosts seemed impressed by her outspokenness on thorny issues in the industry.

In 2015, Ranaut said she was treated badly when she was struggling in the industry.

"What happens is a heroine is always dependent on the producer or the hero so no one thought what if someone becomes Kangana Ranaut and then she will never work with me as producer or actor. They should have some shame before they treat women badly. They assume 'Kya karegi?' She is just a girl'," the actor had told PTI in an interview.

IMAGE: Kangana Ranaut, centre, with Saif Ali Khan, right, and Shahid Kapoor, left, on Koffee With Karan. Photograph: Rediff Archives

In an appearance on Karan Johar's celebrity chat show Koffee With Karan in 2017, Ranaut shocked everyone, including the host, by calling him the 'flag bearer of nepotism.'

That was the beginning of a long fight between the two and a public discourse around how star children make it difficult for outsiders to excel in an industry full of camps.

She also raised the issue after the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput in 2020.

It was not the only controversy Ranaut was battling at the time.

Her battle with Krrish 3 and Kites co-star Hrithik Roshan soon became fodder for tabloids.

Ranaut accused the actor of denying their relationship while Roshan maintained that he had no personal connection ever with the actor.

Controversies seemed to follow the actor everywhere.

She started producing her own movies eventually, including the biopic Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi in 2019.

The film generated controversy after Ranaut claimed a co-director credit on the movie from Krish Jagarlamudi. That caused a major rift between them.

A similar controversy followed her on Hansal Mehta's Simran where she was given co-writing credits and screenwriter Apurva Asrani took umbrage and distanced himself from the movie, which turned out to be flop.

She also ventured into the South by starring in J Jayalalitha's biopic Thalaivii.

While she has been in the headlines, Ranaut's last release Tejas didn't do well at the box office.

The actor in a media interview has already spoken about her desire to focus completely on her political career if she is elected from Mandi.

Next up for the debutant MP is her upcoming directorial venture Emergency where she plays then prime minister Indira Gandhi. The release was deferred because of the elections.

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