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Kangana Ranaut is one helluva fiery and fearless star. Coming from the landscapes of Himachal Pradesh, she dominates the celluloid with her exemplary performances today.

Absolutely unapologetic and unassuming about calling spade a spade, she’s the only actor who can hold a mirror to the grim realities of the glamor world.

Examples? You may ask. The first and the most explosive one being her episode of Koffee With Karan, where she courageously and fearlessly spoke about the existence of nepotism in the industry and Johar being its flag-bearer. It wasn’t just a statement, it reflected the harsh truth of Hindi cinema as to why actors with solid family backgrounds have a relatively easier struggle to establish their foothold.
Despite Johar’s copious attempts to convince us he isn’t nepotistic, it was refreshing to witness that finally someone had the nerve to blatantly expose what lies beneath Bollywood.

There was a dialogue in 3 idiots Madhavan said to describe the character of Aamir Khan- “Virus ke pinjre mein ek azad panchi ghus aaya tha”. This precisely sums up Ranaut, she’s a free bird in the cage of the Hindi film industry.

As this powerhouse of talent and tenacity and three-time National Award winning actor celebrates her birthday, there won’t be a better time than this to recall her most galvanizing performances. Here we go-

5.RANGOON (2017)
Set against the backdrop of World War II, the film opened with polarized reviews and crashed at the box-office. However, it was Ranaut’s performance that powered Rangoon. Portraying the role of a starlet of the 1930’s, the actor scorched the screen with her smoldering persona and made her character of Miss Julia truly memorable. It may not have been great Cinema, but she was the one who brought in almost all the accolades and applauds.

4. WOH LAMHE (2006)
Sliced from the tumultuous life of the controversial star Parveen Babi, the film was a part-fiction, part-real portrayal of her journey from the skies of stardom to the brink of oblivion. A victim of schizophrenia, she had the most tragic and tormented life in the history of Hindi cinema. Capturing all the above nuances with meticulousness and aplomb, Ranaut almost choked you with her portrayal of Babi and shone just in her second film. Give it a watch if you haven’t already.

3. FASHION (2008)
Bagging her first National Award for the Madhur Bhandarkar directorial, Kangana essayed the role of supermodel who willfully decides to walk on the path of destruction. Unable to accept and embrace the fading success and declining career, she takes to drugs and ultimately becomes a forgettable name in the fashion world. It wasn’t an easy role to pull off, but trust her to effortlessly sink her teeth into the characters and enthrall the audience.

2. QUEEN (2014)
Her second National Award winning performance came in Vikal Bahl’s Queen, a comedy about a woman who’s duped by her fiancée just a few days before their wedding. Refusing to shed tears, she packs off her bags and decides to go to her honeymoon all alone. From here starts her journey of self-discovery. Not only the film, Ranaut’s performance alone was no less than a roller-coaster. From cheerful to crestfallen, self-effacing to sanguine, she brought a gamut of emotions in her acting and made Rani one of her most memorable and mesmerizing roles yet.

1. TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS (2015)
Scoring a hat rick by winning the National Award, the actor had a double-role in this sequel to the 2011 hit, Tanu Weds Manu.
The first role saw her reprising the role of Tanu, who’s marriage with Manu has hit rock-bottom in the last four years. The second Ranaut we saw was Datto, a Delhi-based Haryanvi hockey player, who can single-handedly wallop the living daylights out of any eve-teaser. Right from the pitch-perfect dialect to the impeccable body language, it was hard to separate the actor from the character she portrayed. Datto will always remain my favorite role of Ranaut, unless she can surpass it with anything else, which she will very soon.