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Queen of Hearts

Harshikaa Udasi
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face-to-face Rani Mukerji talks to Harshikaa Udasi about her latest release ‘Talaash’, her co-stars, life as a heroine in a male-dominated industry and more

She’s lounging on a diwan at her home-cum-office in a quiet yet plush locale in Mumbai. Possibly it’s because of the serene afternoon sea at Juhu which her place overlooks, Rani Mukerji is all calm. Her recent film Aiyya! hasn’t worked as well as she expected and talks of her ‘impending marriage’ to Aditya Chopra of Yash Raj Films never wane, but this Queen of Hearts is not easily ruffled.

“I think people were not enthused by the concept of Aiyya! They possibly couldn’t digest that very idea which appealed to me as an actor — that my character could fall in love based on the sense of smell. Some films work, some don’t — can’t regret them,” she says, with her disarming smile, setting the tone for the interview.

Rani’s new film Talaash (which released on November 30) has her playing the wife of Aamir Khan. The emotional suspense drama also stars Kareena Kapoor and Nawazuddin Siddiqui and has been directed by Reema Kagti. The film is about dealing with personal loss and an intriguing murder mystery as well. “People can see the film and understand the layers that are there to my character,” says Rani.

This is Rani’s third film with Aamir Khan. She’s worked with him on Ghulam and Mangal Pandey: The Rising before this. The two stars share a comfortable relationship and Aamir has confessed on public forums that Rani is a reliable friend. Little wonder then that their ‘chemistry’ is great on screen. “The only reason behind it is there is no awkwardness between the two of us because Aamir and I are very good friends, and for the longest time now. It feels good to work with him — then and now,” she says.

As for other co-star in the film, Kareena Kapoor, Rani says she’d like to work with her in films where they get the opportunity to shoot with each other. “In Talaash , Bebo and I haven’t got a single shot together. The final song we shot for had her come in for a bit, but that was it. Of course, we’ve worked on other films together and both of us share a good rapport. I think that’s because we are quite similar in nature. Bebo and I are both bindaas (happy-go-lucky) and large-hearted,” she says.

Talking about life as a heroine in an industry that glorifies only the male stars, Rani says, “That’s life. It’s a man’s world everywhere. Take the first day, first show, for instance. Do any women get to it? How can we expect the industry to change overnight? The life of an actress is different — she has to take a sabbatical after she gets married and gets pregnant. It’s a physical thing. After having kids, whether you continue acting is a choice you make. When I talk to Neetuji (Neetu Singh), she says she made the choice to be at home with her family because she had been working since 3. Dimple Kapadia came back to work after two children.”

As for the rumours about her own marriage, Rani is composed. “You can’t catch each of a 10,000 strong crowd that thinks I am getting married right now. Every day, for the last five years, I have witnessed this. It doesn’t bother me at all. Yes, but there are those producers and directors who don’t know me well and hesitate to give me work. The rest, who know me well, rubbish it,” she smiles.

Does she regret anything at all in her life — either her choice of films or larger decisions? Rani says, “Regret is a very strong word. Everything has an experience and a reason. Life is not a bed of roses.”

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