This week, the Hindi film Tejas is hitting the screen. The movie, based on the real-life story of a woman Indian Air Force pilot, is headlined by Kangana Ranaut, among the most compelling actresses of our times.
On the OTT, Chandramukhi 2, which also stars Kangana in the leads, is streaming from this week on Netflix.
So, this may be the best occasion for us to compile a playlist of the best Kangana Ranaut movies on the OTT platforms. For the record, we have confined our choices to Hindi alone.
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Best Kangana Ranaut movies
Here is my list of the best Kangana Ranaut movies to binge on. As always, this is a personal opinion, but feel free to chime in the comments below if you disagree.
Queen is a movie that Kangana Ranaut made all her’s despite the presence of a good actor like Rajkummar Rao in the cast. This is a fun and emotional journey of a woman who is dumped on the day before her wedding.
But the spirited woman is not one to take things lying down. She decides to go solo on her honeymoon to Paris and Amsterdam, as it’s already been paid for in full. She forms a friendship with a bohemian woman (Lisa Haydon) and spends time with a group of backpackers from different backgrounds, and wins a cooking competition. In this emotional and physical journey, she finds herself. Kangana was spectacular all through.
Tanu Weds Manu
Tanu Weds Manu remains one of the best romantic comedies in Bollywood in the last decade and a half. The marriage between a sober and reticent NRI doctor and a feisty and rambunctious Punjabi woman sets off fun and moments of empathy.
Kangana Ranaut is terrific in the film directed by the talented Aanand L Rai. She nails the moody maverick character, one that is complex. No wonder this film announced her arrival as a dependable actress in difficult roles.
Gangster: A Love Story
This was Kangana Ranaut’s debut. Nobody who watched it will say that it is her first movie as she was so reassured and remarkably confident in a tough role. She portrays an alcoholic as her gangster boyfriend has left her.
She now finds new love in a singer. But things don’t get easy. In this Anurag Basu directorial, Kanagana, as an alcoholic dancer, was disconcertingly realistic. The acting was filled with remarkable nuances.
Tanu Weds Manu Returns
The 2011 Tanu Weds Manu was a whacky rom-com that worked mainly on Kangana Ranaut’s character arc and the way she delivered it on screen. A lot of things can happen in the lives of an unlikely couple in four years. And that is what Tanu Weds Manu Returns focused on.
Incidentally, four years is also the gap between the two films. The sequel was equally appreciated because it managed to whip up the same quirkiness and Kangana was again in fabulous form. Her role reprisal won her the National Award for Best Actress. Utterly deserving was her wholesome performance.
The film was, as the critics called it, a mishmash of E.T., Superman and X-Men with set pieces, sound design and screenplay structure, borrowed from Hollywood, but liberally Bollywoodised.
But it is a film in which Kangana Ranaut totally overshadowed the film’s lead actress Priyanka Chopra. Kangana’s presence was far sharper and more impactful. Her stunts were very good and her pairing with Hrithik was sizzling.
The Tamil masala director K S Ravikumar joined forces with Balakrishna for this film. And his touch was visible. Ravikumar gave a good contemporary action spin to an emotional story that tapped Balakrishna, the actor and the star, in equal measure.
Aside from Balakrishna’s heroics, the film had an emotional hook backed by adequate situational and, sometimes, slapstick humour. It also starred Nayanthara, Hariprriya, and Natasha Doshi, among others.
Panga is the story of Jaya Nigam, a former kabaddi player who had to give up her love for the game when she got married and became pregnant. But egged on by her supportive husband and son, she ventures on a comeback. Her biggest challenge is believing in herself.
Kangana as Jaya was typically top-notch. The film was solid, and her performance was even more so. A feel-good comeback story that is always worth a watch.
Judgementall Hai Kya
Some people rate this movie to be Kangana’s best performance yet. She is known for playing complex characters, and in this, she is cast as a hallucinating multiple-personality person who is obsessed with a young man who is married. The man is also no garden-variety simpleton. He, too has a lot of stuff in his mental closet. It is a battle of the seemingly insane.
The film is a quirky thriller, a zone that Bollywood rarely gets into. Kangana is a firecracker and gets the nuances and quirks right. Rajkummar Rao also holds his ground as an edgy and macho hero. A real delight the film is.
Once Upon A Time In Mumbai
The film is believed to be based on the lives of real-life gangsters Haji Mastan and Dawood Ibrahim. Kangana plays the role of Rehana, a character based on Sona Mastan, Haji Mastan’s wife.
Her role in the film is limited, but still, the pugnacious Kangana leaves her mark. She is an actress in the movie, and once again she gets the fine details of a star totally right. A diva on screen should be no difficult for a diva in real life.
Loosely based on the real-life story of a divorcee who loses her savings in gambling. She takes a loan to get out of trouble but when she is unable to repay it, she finds herself drawn into a life of crime — robbing banks. She also has a troubled relationship with her parents. It is a role that is straight up Kangana’s alley.
The film has many portions that seem totally outlandish, but Kangana makes it all look believable. The script was weak, but, as one critic wrote, Kangana ‘with her plain unvarnished face, and mobile features,’ comes across as a ‘real, solid, complex woman, someone you can reach out and touch.’ It was, verily, a straight-from-the-heart performance.
An engineer-turned-journalist, K Balakumar’s career began in print publications as a sports writer. That also opened doors for other journalistic avenues like films, music, finance, technology and politics, which nobody can escape in India. After 30 yrs in mainstream journalism, now a freelancer for various digital publications.