If there were murmurs of Kangana Ranaut sharing a less-than-cordial professional relationship with some of her directors, they only got louder when the actor took over the reins of Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi (2019) from Krish. Soon after, reports suggested that Ranaut was having creative disagreements with director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari and interfering in the making of her next, Panga.
“Before we started shooting, Kangana had told me that such rumours would surface, and they did,” laughs Iyer, who, rubbishing the reports, states that she found the perfect creative partner in the leading lady of the sports drama. The director adds that Ranaut was a thorough professional who did not get into the filmmaker's domain. “Certain circumstances [compel] a person to put on a mask so that they can deal with them. But if one takes off the mask, every person is human. Kangana has a pure heart. She is an intelligent actor. She had her inputs and we all were open to feedback; there was never an ego clash. In fact, she never came near the monitor, except when she was shooting for the kabbadi scenes. Panga is my vision, and the entire team has sailed along with me.”
Iyer says that she had developed the story with Ranaut in mind. “I was 100 per cent sure about Kangana as she is like a chameleon. [There are two different personalities] on and off-screen. She imbibes the character so deeply that after a point of time, you forget it's Kangana in front of the camera.”
The upcoming release has all the ingredients of an Iyer film — read slice-of-life movie with a strong woman protagonist. The director, who has previously helmed Nil Battey Sannata (2016) and Bareilly Ki Barfi (2017), explains that she gravitates towards simple, heartfelt stories as they stem from her personal experiences. “At home, we maintain a simple lifestyle and that reflects in my films. I like filtering things and saying the bare minimum; you don't have to complicate something to make your point.”