Bollywood exclusive: Why Rani Mukerji never looked Aamir in the eye

It’s been almost 17 years since Rani Mukerji wowed cinema audiences with her performance in ‘Ghulam’ and the song ‘Aati Kya Khandala’ with Aamir Khan became an instant hit. Now, she is back again with this Khan with ‘Talaash’.

“Working with Aamir after a period of 17 years makes feel very comfortable because now I can at least look straight up to his eyes. At the initial stage I would look at his shoes; I failed to keep an eye contact with him, also because I would fall for him,” says the actress who has not only got several box office credits to her since but also immense critical acclaim for her performances.

All praises for the man she shares screen space with, in the Reema Kagti film, Rani says, “Initially I would be very nervous around him, but now we share a great bond. We sit together and discuss the many aspects of filmmaking. When there is a break from the shoots, we sit and eat together. I also feel that Aamir has grown as a professional in the 17 years. He has definitely gone from strength to strength. He has become a bigger star and is much more focused and dedicated to his craft that earlier. With every character he portrays on screen he creates an undying impression on the audience. His effortless performances have earned him a reputation with the audience. All this he has done single handedly, but it means that he has been deeply involved with every film. So, whatever the kind of promotions we have audiences will rush to the theatres to see Aamir.”

Returning to Talaash, her latest release, Rani says, “I am not supposed to give out any details about my character. I am doing a dark film for the first time. The film is a suspense drama so disclosing even a bit might take away the suspense. The character I play has many layers. So all I will say is please watch the film carefully so that you don’t miss any details. My character is splendid and has been written meticulously.”

She says the audiences will find her character alluring. “Though my role in ‘Ghulam’ was not very big, I had an impact with the Khandala song. So, all of you need to wait and watch what my character has in store. I believe all actors love to enthrall audiences with their performances and appreciation brings shine on our faces.”

Having worked with all the Khans -- Aamir, Salman, Shah Rukh and Saif -- she says, “They are my seniors. All of us have become close buddies. I look up to all of them, they are like my back-slapping pals. They have been my inspiration. I always take all the good suggestions given by them. For better performance I believe a process to give and take enriches the scene and thus enhances the state of a film. However, there is room for discussion and with friendship and great rapport things turn out to be the best. Having worked with them has only increased my love and respect for the Khans. Working with them makes it easy for me to give my best.” With a sparkle in her eyes she adds, “It’s mutual admiration now.”

Discussing ‘Aiyyaa’, which fared horribly at the BO, Rani says, “We as actors are like any other professional employees. Unquestionably then as an employee we choose characters after considering it to be apt and if the film does not do well at the box office we can’t control it.

This character was of a dreamer and I chose it because I liked it. But surprisingly, audiences did not come to watch the film. However, whoever watched the film appreciated my performance. Getting adoration makes me feel great. No actor will ever like to witness a sad Friday. But then we need to get going. At large if we get an answer to the formula of success, there will be no flop films. Undoubtedly, successful films give immense pleasure. I always am positive about every film and proceed with the next. Being showered with the love of the millions gives me satisfaction.”

Comparing her work to sports she adds, “It’s like during the school days. When children lose in competition, their teachers console them saying ‘participation means much more than winning’. Just because you lost the competition doesn’t mean you have to lose hope. Everyone needs physical and spiritual insinuation to let life going on. I do not get depressed. On the contrary, I participate with more vigour in my next.”

Not many know that Rani was a sprinter in school. “Yes! I would always participate and win in the relay race and 100 m race. But sadly I have some problem in my feet so I could not continue with this. While I had to dance in ‘Aiyya’ continuously my feet got swollen and I suffered.

This does not deter me My passion for work and the love of my fans will always inspire me to do good films.”

On working with Yash Chopra, she says, “Working with the Yash uncle was not only a learning experience but was also fun. Unlike today’s times where the ADs call for a shot while the directors sit and watch the actors enact on the TV set, Yash uncle was very endearing and would call all the shots and would watch his actors live. His warmth extended to the sets and he would encourage his actors. I have grown watching his films -- ‘Chandini’, ‘Lamhe’ etc -- and have been in awe of his direction skills. I loved working with him for ‘Veer Zara’.

What I liked about Yash uncle is that he was very fond of eating. During lunch time he would coax me to eat everything as he believed that his female actors should be healthy. He would never restrain me from eating ice-creams. Instead, took us for ice cream rides. He was a simple yet intelligent filmmaker. His death is a loss to our
industry,” she concludes.


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