Pinkvilla Exclusive : Dream man does not really exist - Rani Mukerji
Rani Mukerji needs no introduction. An actor par excellence, she has vowed us all with her performances in movies like Black, Bunty aur Babli & Veer-Zaara. As her fans wait with baited breath for her upcoming movie Aiyyaa, we caught up with the bubbly actress as she talked about her character Meenakshi and why she is seen making very few appearances.
Aiyyaa, directed by Sachin Kundalkar and starring Prithviraj & Rani Mukerji releases this Friday.
Tell us something about Aiyyaa. What made you opt to play Meenakshi Deshpande in the movie ?
There were a lot of factors. Firstly , it is a love story about a girl who falls in love with a guy because of his scent and that intrigued me. I haven’t seen this kind of love story before. There are a lot of things which I found different and also the director, Sachin Kundalkar came with a very fresh mind. I liked the way he approached the film. I liked his way of storytelling. Meenakshi is a young middle class Maharashtrian girl from Poona. She keeps dreaming because her world in reality is a lot pressured with how she should be. Her parents want to get her married and she doesn't want that. She wants to lead a very independent life and she is a girl who believes in love and that you can marry only after you fall in love .But, she is made to think otherwise by her parents. This is her journey. The whole conflict between her real world and fantasy world and how she wants to amalgamate the two is what the movie is all about.
Dreamum Wakeuppam and Aga Bai are a huge rage. They were also one of the most commented posts on Pinkvilla for the year 2012. Tell us more about these dance numbers.
In the movies today, there is no opportunity for the main characters to do these kinds of dance numbers because the characters do not demand it. But for this film, what was very special is that Meenakshi goes into the dreams so it was very easy for us to have these kinds of dance numbers and they are completely justified in the film. Each song is different. It was very intriguing for me to learn belly dancing. It was Vaibhavi’s (choreographer) idea to add belly dancing. In one of her reality based shows, there is a contestant called Mehar who belly dances really well. Vaibhavi was so inspired by her dance and the dance form that she wanted some mainstream actress to do this actual form of belly dancing. When the opportunity came with Aga Bai, she told me that I need to learn proper belly dancing . Mehar was called from Delhi and she stayed in Mumbai for 2.5 months. She taught me how to belly dance and today I am very happy because she has certified me officially as a belly dancer.
Did it ever occur to you that a number such as Dreamum Wakeuppam could be considered bold and different from the image you have portrayed thus far?
As an actor, I can’t have a set image. As an actor, I am supposed to do different kinds of roles. I am happy when I am called a versatile actress. Dreamum Wakeupum in the film comes at a very apt place where Meenakshi is seeing midnight masala . She sees a Tamil song from the 80s and she gets into the dream world and visualizes the tamil guy she is in love with . So it’s a very sweet song and it’s meant to be fun.
How was it working with Prithviraj?
Prithviraj is wonderful. He is such a huge star down South, yet, he is very down to earth. That’s the most endearing quality about him. He has done 80 films down south, yet he still wants to learn. He is very sincere and I love that about him.
In the movie, Meenakshi dreams about her dream man. In real life what does you dream man look like?
Actually there is no dream man as such. We don’t dream about people in that sense. Only when you like somebody do you start going into this dream world and fantasize about them. Dream man does not really exist.
You seem to be rather choosy about your work. What is the kind of cinema you would like to be part of?
I want to be part of cinema that I would like to view as an audience. Secondly, the role that is offered to me should be challenging enough for me as an actor. Is should be different from what I have done in the past 17 years of my career. A role really needs to challenge me. It really needs to excite me. It is important that I come with a film that surprises the audience, shows a different side of me so that they look at my work and say, “OMG! Is that Rani Mukerji?” . If people are looking at my work and are getting surprised in a good way that is what makes me happy.
You have proved yourself as one of the finest actors of the country. But, do hits & flops affect you anymore?
See, hits and flops will always affect an actor even when he is 80. We actors do the films for adulation and for people to go and watch it. So obviously a film doing well reassures us that a lot of people have gone to watch the film and have applauded your work. If a film flops then you realize that there are very few people who have seen the film and people haven’t really seen your work. Flops teach us that it is not a dead end and that you need to experiment more and work harder and come out with something different. With hits you learn this has been successful so what next and we need to work harder so that the next one is as good or even better. So hits and flops both teach us a different kind of lesson.
Today, it is all about being out there. But, you prefer to keep yourself private with just a handful of appearances. Is that how you prefer it?
I think that’s just the way I am. Change is constant in everybody’s life and there has been a change in the media too. With the changing time, there is a great demand for the actors to be visible every day. People want to see them. But I think it is important to do good work. It is important to be known for your work rather than personal appearances. During a film’s release, it is important to promote your film. But otherwise I don’t see a reason why I should be heard so much when I don’t have anything to say.
How do you stay in touch with your fans? Do you visit Twitter and keep track of your fan pages?
Sometimes I do because it is important to know . At first, I used to get a lot of fan mails where I used to get letters but now people are commenting directly on social networking sites. I have got a lot of friends and family who keep me updated . There is a whole group that is called Ranians who are my loyal fans and I absolutely adore them. I will continue to do good work so that my fans are happy.
What comes to your mind when you look back at your career of 17 years?
It has been a very enriching career. I have learnt a lot in these 17 years. I have had experiences that are both beautiful and trying . This has only made me a stronger person and probably a better actor. When you observe and keep learning, you keep polishing your craft and that is what I have been doing for the past 17 years. With Aiyyaa, I feel like a newcomer trying a different thing. I am playing a marathi girl for the first time. I learnt belly dancing for the first time and Lavani for the first time. I am enjoying the process and I am enjoying the career and I am enjoying the work that I am doing.
If there is one advice you would give to a younger Rani Mukerji, say to a 20 year old Rani Mukerji .What would it be?
I would not give any advice as it is important for a girl of 20 years to learn from her mistakes and experiences.