(Photo: News 18)
Kangana Ranaut, the award-winning Indian actress, gave what can be interpreted as either words of support or as a chastisement to struggling outsiders in the film industry. The remarks were made during a session at News18’s “Rising India Summit”.
In essence, her main point seemed to be that outsiders would struggle with being treated unfairly and discriminated against, but that if they worked past it and put enough time and effort into their pursuits, eventually the career would pay off for them. Ranaut used herself as an example, remarking that she was once an outsider but that she managed to make her own way in the film industry.
She didn’t stop merely by comparing herself to current outsiders, but gave detailed examples in her own history as to how she was mistreated and discriminated against; she explained that she didn’t understand how branding or publicity worked in the film business, that she didn’t realize the role nepotism played in making it big, and how she learned to work her way around the obstacles of it all.
Ranaut gave one particular example about a magazine asking to put her picture on their cover and her referring them to her manager for the financial details, which did not go over well. It’s clear from the casual explanation that such events happened to her frequently and she evidently has many similar stories involving those types of blunders.
Here a few of the comments she made during the discussion:
“It is ‘okay’ to be discriminated against if you are an outsider because there are things that one does to know as an outsider newcomer. People are not responsible for you (the newcomer), you have to be persistent, observant to know things. Today I am talking about it because I made it to this level. I learned.”
“I put my observation out there and understand this is how it functions. In the beginning, everyone is treated in the same way; don’t think it is happening to you only. Do not think the world is like this to me, the world is the way it is; it is not fair to anyone. You have got to make sure that you work around it.”
“I did not know about brand building and brand endorsement… when a magazine told me that they want to put me on their cover, I asked them to talk to my manager about money. They banned me for five years but I did not know the difference back then. So yes, coming from non-film background, I was also immature and no one was there to guide. I learned.”
“I said it (about nepotism) out of observation, I am not an activist here, though I would love to serve my society; nepotism exists everywhere, we have grown up seeing it. When I talked about it, perhaps people were subconsciously observing it, they wanted to talk about it. My comment worked as a catalyst.”
Overall, it can be expected that these comments, for better or worse, will spark some sort of discussion on the role and nature of outsiders in both the Indian and global film industries.