Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar is known for making films that mirror the harsh truth about the industry. Amongst all, his film ‘Fashion’ featuring Priyanka Chopra and Kangana Ranaut, showcased the journey of aspiring models, their rise and fall in the industry. Kangana played the role of Shonali Gujral, who is a successful model but experiences a downfall. Her portrayal of Shonali was highly loved by the audiences and critics alike. She also went on to bag her first National Award for Best Supporting Actress. Today, as the film clocks 12 years, ETimes got in touch with Kangana, who spilled the beans on her character, her experience with Priyanka as a co-star and much more!
It’s 12 years of ‘Fashion’. How does it make you feel?
It’s a beautiful time that the film has lived for so long and still after doing films like ‘Queen’, ‘Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi’ and ‘Tanu Weds Manu’, still people meet me and they talk about ‘Fashion’. The walk that I have done and the dialogues I have said, the mocking tone, so many children and youngsters come up to me and say good things about it. So it’s nice that the film has lived for so long.
The film received a lot of appreciation and your portrayal of Shonali Gujral was on-point. You also bagged your first National Award for your performance. Did you anticipate all this at that time?
After ‘Gangster’, ‘Metro’ and ‘Wo Lamhe’, I was very hungry for something more. Those were all lead roles in female-centric films and in ‘Fashion’, I had a small supporting role. I look back and see myself as a teenager, I am like ‘I am such a dynamite of energy that I wanted to do so much’. I think I just packed everything into what everything little time that I got. So for me, it’s been amazing that I got a National Award for that but to be honest, I didn’t expect it. I have also done even more stronger performances like ‘Gangster’ and ‘Wo Lamhe’ before that which didn’t get me a National Award and this suddenly got me the award. More than that, from a parallel cinema, I came into mainstream cinema. People started to recognise me all across the country. It was not that I was just a side actress, it was not that for me anymore, it changed my league altogether.
Madhur Bhandarkar is known for making films that reflect the truth about the industry. Lately, you also have been standing tall and fighting against all odds. Was this the reason that made you sign this film?
Whether it’s ‘Chandni Bar’ or ‘Page 3’, Madhur sir has been true to the darker sides of anything which has like a very beautiful cover. He has always brought it efficiently to his audience. But that time, I don’t want to say that ‘yes, I had all that in my mind’. I was just a teenager, trying to look for more opportunities to be out there and to find my destiny, find what kind of cinema is meant for me. So all that was more important to me. The darker side, to be honest, now people are making a lot of hoopla about it. At that time, people actually openly criticised so many things about it. ‘Fashion’ has whether it’s drugs or it is the exploitation of talent, it was so openly shown and it is not a secret to anyone. Now, of course, a lot of people say that ‘we are holier than thou’ but this is the very latest trend, that time it was not such a big deal.
How would you define Priyanka Chopra as an actor and co-star?
Priyanka is fabulous. She is somebody who back then also when I was 19 and she was such a big star. I was so starry-eyed because when I was in school, that time I have been watching her films and here I was in my initial years. She was so cool. She didn’t treat me like a kid or a junior. I felt like she is a friend, who shared food with me and asked me questions like ‘how do I look?, is this ok?, how this dress is looking?’ So I didn’t feel like she is my senior and she is such a big star. It was a nice feeling that she has that ability, it’s wonderful.
If ‘Fashion’ gets remade today, who do you think can portray your character from the new set of actors?
Who’s so camp? Shonali is so camp. I can’t think of anyone who is so androgynous, who is so stylish and who is so edgy. I don’t know, I feel that from today’s generation, they all are very girly. From the earlier generation, I think Nargis Dutt, she’s so camp. I think if she styled and she’s got that swag, I think she could have been. But I don’t know today, they are not there yet (smiles).