An actress who had mesmerized the audience some fifteen years back, a dancer who has gyrated to the best dance numbers, a personality who has been the face of a lot of brands, and a person whose modesty and earthiness has been appreciated by all and sundry, Rani Mukerji was always The Big Thing in Bollywood. Just when you bring her down by floors, she sets your statements wrong and rises even higher. An actress, who rose like a phoenix with her power packed portrayal of Meera Gaiti, shouldered her pride going Aiyyaa at times, is walking head-held high after one of career best performances, as it is being touted as, in Talaash! While Aiyyaa could do very little to her career, Talaash is necessarily the power booster that Rani, the Queen of hearts is awaiting for. If history repeats itself, Rani is soon taking the industry on a stormy Talaash ride, much after an Aiyyaa lull.
In her hometown to promote the film, she shared tidbits about everything: from working under the helm of a women director to her relentless Talaash for a good character.
Doing one film a year, shooting one film at a time, everyone has started touting you as the lady Aamir! What would be your take on that?
My take would be very simple. Aamir Khan is a huge star, and very much senior to me. So taking my name along with his, I don’t think that would be fair on anyone’s part. It is more because Aamir has always been somebody who I look up to and admire a lot. Yes, I would definitely take that as a compliment but I would definitely not dare to even believe that I am in his league or like him.
You acted with Aamir back during your formative years in Bollywood in Ghulam. What were the changes between Aamir then and Aamir now?
I might have been just a 17-18 year old girl when I worked with Aamir on Ghulam. I had watched Aamir when I was young in ‘QSQT’ (Qayamat se Qayamat Tak) and I had a huge crush on him from day one. I used to feel that it would be great to be loved by someone like Aamir. But when I worked on Ghulam with him while I was in college, I was very nervous with the fact that I was working with The Aamir Khan in front of me.
And you all would understand how difficult it is to face your crush and here my crush kept on singing, ‘Ankho se tune yeh kya keh diya’ for me, I used to feel so shy and used to keep staring at his boots. He always used to scold me asking me to look into his eyes. And I always did that only when the camera was on. So from there to now, I really admire him a lot because he is a lot senior to me, both with his age and work. And whenever I work with Aamir, I always keep on learning new things from him. He has got a very different technique and an approach to a particular scene or his character. His conduct, the way he perceives and approaches a role, I think everything that he does right from his dedication to his single minded focus, there is so much to learn from him. There was so much to learn from him even then, when I was a newcomer and today even after being in the industry for so many years, still when I work with him, I learn so much more from him.
How would you rate Aamir’s performance in the film?
For me to judge his acting credentials and his journey as an actor would be unjustified. I think I am too small as an actor to even think of doing so but as an admirer, as a fan, I would say that he has grown leaps and bounds, he’s grown from strength to strength and over the years, he has kind of developed this love and respect from the audiences worldwide that when Aamir Khan comes, he comes only with a very good film and its all because of his hard work and dedication.
Can you lend us some piece of information about your character which too is kept under wraps?
I am actually looking like Farhan in the film (jokingly she answers). That’s the hint. On a serious note, you know actually, Reema Kagti might kill me if I indulge too much into the character and I can’t speak much because she wants the audience to discover the film on the day it releases. There are a lot of layers in the film, a lot in the film to be discovered. There are a lot of things that might be interesting for you to probably find out yourself than me talking about it. I think when you see it; it will be more of a surprise. It is a very, very emotional role. That’s all I can say.
You are the only actress who has acted in films and maintained a superb relationship with all the Khans. What would be your take on that?
I think, probably I am not the only actress to do that. There are others as well. But I think that I have been fortunate enough to work with Aamir, Shah Rukh Khan especially at the onset of my career with Ghulam and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Luckily for me, I think I was at a very impressionable age at that time and I got to learn a lot from these two greats. The third one being Salman Khan, of course, I have worked with him in Hello Brother. I think my experience with all the three have been very, very special. We have grown to become really close friends over the years and I choose at my friendship is for life with them. Probably when they are 80, I will definitely be dressed like this, sitting besides them and wishing them ‘Happy Birthday’. Strangely, I started my career with a Khan, Shadab Khan, then there was Aamir, Shah Rukh, Salman, Saif Ali Khan and then there is Faraz Khan also. So my Khan list doesn’t get over at all.
Being directed and under the close scrutiny of a woman director for the first time, how was your entire experience?
You know Reema would kill me if I call her a woman director. Firstly I would like to clarify that directors don’t have a gender, they are genderless actually. There can only be a good director or a bad director and Reema fortunately, is a very, very good director. When there is a woman writer, it makes a lot of difference in the script. There could be a difference when there is a male writer writing a script and a female writer doing the same because there are certain nuances or certain things in a character which might be a little different. But in terms of writing, it is a very general thing. A director just has to do his job, and either they do it well or they don’t do it.
One track from the music album which you connect to and why?
I connect with Jee Le Zaraa the most because it has a lot of hope in the song and it actually talks about living the moment. There are lots of ups and downs that people go through in life, everyday isn’t another rosy day. But according to me it is very important to live each moment of life, and when you start living every moment of your life, it brings in more happiness to us.
One thing that you are up for a Talaash!
Mujhe talaash hai ek bohut acchhe role ki! Not a chicken roll, or a fish roll (Laughs out loud) but a really good, interesting character would suffice.