Interviews
Rani Mukherjee
From Gulam to Chalte Chalte Rani has come a long way and she is undoubtedly the Queen of Bollywood. In every film she makes her presence felt with her cool and confident acting. With films like Ketan Mehta`s The Rising, Mani Ratnam`s Yuva, Kunal Kohli`s Hum Tum, Ashutosh Gawarikar`s Swades and Sanjay Leela Bhansali`s Black and Bajirao Mastani tucked under her belt Rani is a force to reckon with. We caught up with Rani at the sets of Sanjay Leela Bhansali`s eagerly awaited "Black".

Excerpts from an interview with SeasonsIndia correspondent Sanyukta.


How is it working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali?
Its wonderful. It`s a different feeling all together. I feel the change in me. Sanjay is bringing out emotions that I never knew existed inside me. The whole experience has made me so grateful for the gift of life. I`ve always been optimistic. "Black" has made me even more so. And let me tell you that I`ve discovered Sanjay is a child at heart. He`s such a big filmmaker and there`s no arrogance in him.

With films like Yuva, Rising, Swades, Hum Tum, this year is going to be very important to you.
Yes and I am working very hard. After the first schedule of "Black" I`ve started shooting for Ketan Mehta`s "The Rising". I feel very lucky that directors like Sanjay Bhansali, Ketan Mehta and Yash Chopra thought of me for their films. I`ve almost wrapped up Mani Rathnam`s "Yuva", and that too is a unique experience.

Earlier you lost two opportunities to work with Mani Rathnam, isn`t it?
Yes, I was offered "Dil Se" and "Kannathil Muttamital" but unfortunately I couldn`t do both the films. And I am grateful to him to offer Yuva. The true sign of greatness is humility. Mani Rathnam isn`t the least overpowering. Though he`s much older he loves his artistes like equals.

What is Yuva about and how was it working with Abhishek Bachchan?
Well Yuva is a very thought provoking film about three young men with very different viewpoints towards life. I am paired opposite Abhishek who is very arrogant, brutal and is the product of the Calcutta Streets. But he loves her passionately. My character is raised like a princess in the protective middle class household of an LIC agent. How our relationship thrives and survives is one part of the film. And my co-star Abhishek Bachchan is such a sweetheart. He`s rocking in "Yuva". I think that he`s got the best role.

What`s your role in Ketan Mehta`s Rising?
In Rising, I play a prostitute. I cannot disclose too much at this stage. I`m excited about "The Rising" because it`ll be my first film with Aamir Khan since "Ghulam".

What is the Kunal Kohli`s Hum Tum about?
Well it`s a fun movie. The whole film is about Saif and me. Saif is a leading cartoonist. He creates these cartoon characters called Hum Tum but runs out of ideas to present them and that`s when the whole fun starts. It was great working with Saif. I enjoyed his comic timing and that worked to the film`s benefit.

How come almost every leading filmmaker in Bollywood wants to work with you?
There`s no magic formula, if that`s what you`re implying. I`ve worked so hard, have been at it since 1995. I had my first major success in 1998. Now finally I`m working with the directors I want. God granted me this great opportunity and I`ve to do my best. One has to be honest to one`s work.

How does 2004 look to you?
Many more challenges and expectations. I`ve to work really hard. What scares me is if I am not good in Sanjay Bhansali, Mani Rathnam, Yash Chopra and Ketan Mehta`s cinema, it would be really bad for me. I`m already signed to work with Sanjay Bhansali in his next film "Bajirao Mastani". So my future is ensured.

What`s your role in Ketan Mehta`s Rising?
In Rising, I play a prostitute. I cannot disclose too much at this stage. I`m excited about "The Rising" because it`ll be my first film with Aamir Khan since "Ghulam".

What is the Kunal Kohli`s Hum Tum about?
Well it`s a fun movie. The whole film is about Saif and me. Saif is a leading cartoonist. He creates these cartoon characters called Hum Tum but runs out of ideas to present them and that`s when the whole fun starts. It was great working with Saif. I enjoyed his comic timing and that worked to the film`s benefit.

How come almost every leading filmmaker in Bollywood wants to work with you?
There`s no magic formula, if that`s what you`re implying. I`ve worked so hard, have been at it since 1995. I had my first major success in 1998. Now finally I`m working with the directors I want. God granted me this great opportunity and I`ve to do my best. One has to be honest to one`s work.

How does 2004 look to you?
Many more challenges and expectations. I`ve to work really hard. What scares me is if I am not good in Sanjay Bhansali, Mani Rathnam, Yash Chopra and Ketan Mehta`s cinema, it would be really bad for me. I`m already signed to work with Sanjay Bhansali in his next film "Bajirao Mastani". So my future is ensured.

 
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