‘Acting is not my calling, direction is,’ says Kangana Ranaut

After all the drama, Kangana Ranaut has finally taken the co-director’s credit for the period film Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi. The period drama is based on the life of the legendary Rani Laxmibai.

Ranaut has always wanted to direct films, but has stunned everyone by claiming that it is not acting but direction that comes naturally to her.

“I always wanted to direct films,” the actress said in a statement. “These days you hear of directors wanting to be actors, not the other way round. Even those actors who direct don’t do it full-time. They feel they have got a certain amount of acclaim and popularity as actors, so why give that up and only direct? It may sound strange, but I have never really identified with being an actress. It’s not my calling, direction is.”

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Direction has its challenges but Ranaut said she also found comfort in the task. Sharing her experience on Manikarnika, she said, “It’s actually surprising even to me how comfortable I feel being a director on set, even when I am sweating buckets and am surrounded by 500 people and everyone’s screaming at the same time! There is something about directing a film that is so gratifying, even though it’s a worker’s life. An actor is just one part of the whole orchestra of filmmaking and it kind of makes me feel inadequate, that I am not doing enough as a creative person.”

Ranaut, however, was quick to correct any perception that she wants to cut down on her acting assignments. “It’s not that I don’t want to act in films with other directors,” she continued. “I am doing Ashwiny’s [Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s] Panga and Prakash Kovelamudi’s Mental Hai Kya. I like acting, but I always felt a part of me was dying because I wasn’t being utilized totally. I felt like a part of me was rotting away because I wasn’t able to express myself as a director.”

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The Manikarnika actress also explained the perils of just being an actress. ”When I was just an actor on this film, I didn’t know what was happening with the rest of the film and it was frustrating,” she said. A lot of mishaps happened on the set. I injured myself several times, I broke my forehead and I was worried about how I would take this forward as an actor. But when I got down to directing, there was no pressure, there were only goals. For me, the director is the hero of a film and directing is my first love.”

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Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi is set to be released on 25 January 2019. While Manikarnika may be Ranaut’s first feature film as director, she has directed an English-language short film dealing with the relationship between a four-year-old boy and a dog. She co-wrote the screenplay with an Australian writer and filmed it in America.


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