Kangana Ranaut. (Image: DC)
Tejas, the latest film Kangana "requested" people to watch at the theatres, tanked at the box office. Many trade analysts and industry watchers have reported that the action film had a disastrous opening weekend; and on Monday, it slipped below the Rs 1 crore mark. Four days post its release the film has done less than Rs 5 crore of business.
What Kangana knows best is to use her slicing wit to cut people down to size. But this time around, her desperate attempts to hit back at actor Prakash Raj and critically acclaimed filmmaker Deepa Mehta have failed. Prakash Raj took at a dig at Kangana’s call to audiences to watch her film in the theatres while Deepa openly expressed anguish at Kangana’s meeting with the Israeli ambassador a few days ago where the actress took the BJP stand in solidarity with Israel.
In an industry that has an unbreakable bro-code despite all the camp culture, Kangana stands out for her unrelenting views and comments on the industry’s biggest actors. Sometimes her political observations come off as elitist and arrogant, missing the ever so important connect to the people. Her intentions and political views perhaps are well-meaning, but delivery and body language come off as being "I am Miss Know-it-all!"
With her accession in the political discourse of this country, Kangana has lost her celluloid community. Often, actors promote each other’s films or wish one another well on social networking sites. None of that for Kangana, who has stubbornly stood apart from the industry. Film Professor Uma Vangal, who juggles teaching sessions between the United States and India, says, "Kangana has gained a lot of popularity for her views and off-screen life, but unfortunately that doesn’t work for a film’s success. A film’s image can translate to real life image-building for an actor but not vice versa."
Those Kangana has taken a dig at have all progressed and prospered, but for some reason, Kangana, while delivering a few hits, has largely been overlooked for her performances lately. Such is her vocal association with politics perhaps that certain vote banks have avoided her films. Uma agrees. "This can be true. When you’re an aggressive political operator, your primary career can take a beating. Thalaivi, a film on Jayalalithaa, worked for Kangana because of Jayalalithaa’s fan base. Post that, Kangana has only delivered flops."
When Kangana began the nepotism debate, it made people sit up and agree with her. Even the bravest flag bearers of nepotism caved in and were eager to sound politically right. But what came after was a barrage of attacks on award-winners, colleagues and yes, even Mahatma Gandhi.
If you look at Kangana’s career, her notable hits came much before her strongly-worded statements. The courage she comes with has cost her films, sadly! Sreedhar Pillai, a film critic says, "Kangana is a fine actor. Her comments are often misconstrued. Audiences go to movies for pure entertainment and do not understand secret hidden messaging. Hence they don’t lap up her messages or comments."