With Mardaani receiving acclaim and her first marriage anniversary around the corner, Rani Mukerji is on a high.
One of Bollywood’s most loved and revered actresses, Mukerji added yet another feather in her cap, when she became the first Bollywood personality to be felicitated by the National Institute of Gender Justice. Impressively, the past awardees include luminaries like Anna Hazare, Pratibha Patil, Pandit Jasraj and Mahashweta Devi. We speak to the talented and stunning actress on winning this national honour and her journey so far!
HOW IS THIS AWARD DIFFERENT FROM THE SEVERAL OTHERS YOU’VE WON?
I’ve won several awards, yes, but this one is very special as it recognizes my contribution to cinema in a different manner. It’s really heartening to see that not only has Mardaani been loved by audiences worldwide, but it has become an inspiration to the real heroes who have been working for the cause of child trafficking. I feel humbled to meet these people and am glad that I was able to contribute in a small way!
ON A WOMAN’S STATUS IN INDIAN SOCIETY…
As a woman, crimes against women make me angry. At times, you feel frustrated and helpless. On the other hand, I feel proud when I see women in power and doing well in their professions. It’s wonderful to see so many successful women!
ON FILMS WITH MESSAGES…
I think what we need is balance. I feel that at the end of the day, films are a medium of entertaining people. If there is a message involved, it has to be told in an entertaining way, which I think we achieved in Mardaani. The minute a film gets preachy, the viewer is bound to switch off.
ON WORKING WITH EXPERIENCED DIRECTORS VS. NEWCOMERS
I have worked with veterans and also with first-time directors. I judge a director by the script and conviction. If I wanted to play safe, I would not have worked with so many newbie directors!
I feel actors are beggars; they are waiting for good scripts to come their way. Also, I think and rethink a role because I have a huge responsibility towards my fans. I would prefer doing something drastically different and exciting with a new director rather than doing a big-budget film that lacks in quality.
ON RANI, THEN AND NOW…
(Flashing her million dollar smile) I was very trusting when I came into the industry. You have to be smart in this business, and you have to take a lot in your stride. I would say I am the same old Rani who is still very grounded, but with a much thicker skin!