Kangana Ranaut started her career as a model and made her acting debut in the 2006 Hindi-language romantic thriller film ‘Gangster’ for which she was awarded the ‘Filmfare Award’ and ‘International Indian Film Academy Award.’ The film earned positive reviews upon release and was a box office success. Following her debut, she went on to star in films like ‘Woh Lamhe’ (2006), ‘Shakalaka Boom Boom’ (2007), and ‘Life in a... Metro’ (2007). In 2008, she starred as ‘Shonali Gujral’ in the Madhur Bhandarkar-directed Hindi-language drama film ‘Fashion.’ Ranaut earned critical acclaim for her performance in the film and won several awards, including the ‘Filmfare Award’ and ‘National Film Award.’ ‘Fashion’ was a major critical and box office success, grossing over ₹60 crores against a budget of ₹18 crores.
She was next seen in films like ‘Raaz: The Mystery Continues’ (2009), ‘Ek Niranjan’ (2009), ‘Kites’ (2010), and ‘Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai’ (2010). In 2011, Ranaut appeared in the Hindi-language romantic comedy-drama ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ where she played the role of Tanuja "Tanu" Trivedi. The film received a mixed response from critics with some praising its light-hearted humor while others called it an average film. Nevertheless, ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ turned out to be a major financial success. In 2014, she starred as ‘Rani Mehra’ in the Hindi-language comedy-drama film ‘Queen.’ She amassed massive praise for her performance as ‘Rani Mehra’ and went on to bag a ‘National Film Award’ and ‘Filmfare Award’ for her role. The film also earned universal acclaim and was cited by many scholars to be a groundbreaking and influential feminist film.
Ranaut won her third ‘National Film Award’ for her performance as ‘Kusum "Datto" Sangwan/ Tanuja "Tanu" Trivedi’ in ‘Tanu Weds Manu: Returns,’ the sequel to the 2011 film Tanu Weds Manu. The film opened to critical acclaim and was a massive box office success, grossing over ₹252 crores against a budget of ₹39 crores. In 2019, Ranaut starred as ‘Rani Lakshmi Bai’ in the Hindi-language period drama film ‘Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi.’ She garnered widespread acclaim for her portrayal of ‘Rani Lakshmi Bai’ and won the ‘National Film Award’ and ‘Filmfare Award’ for her role. The film opened to positive reviews and became one of the highest-grossing women-centric films in India.
In 2021, Kangana appeared in the biographical drama film ‘Thalaivii’ directed by A. L. Vijay. The film received a mixed response from critics. Ranaut is all set to appear in the upcoming film ‘Dhaakad’ where she will play the role of ‘Agent Agni.’