Rani in Mardaani









By Neeru Saluja

Actress Rani Mukherjee is back with a bang. While we were wondering if she would ever return to stardom after marriage, she is back in an avatar never seen before. Her film ”˜Mardaani’ which hits the screen from August 22 shows her as a fearless cop whose sole aim is to get at the mafia dealing with child abduction and trafficking.

The Indian Down Under got to chat with Rani during the promotion of her film. After interviewing her in 2010 for the Indian Film Festival, Rani is one actress who you just can’t resist talking  to. One of the most accomplished actresses of Bollywood, she has always preferred to portray drastically different roles.

Rani had just got off from a plane from Kashmir where she went to meet the jawans on the occasion of Independence Day. Currently in Ahmedabad to promote her film, Rani was excited to talk to us about her upcoming film. Directed by Pradeep Sarkar and produced by her husband Aditya Chopra, Mardaani will release in Australian cinemas on 22 August by the Mind Blowing Films.

Rani we have lovely memories of you from last year’s performance for Temptation Reloaded and your visit in 2010 for the Indian film festival.

Likewise! I’m actually thinking about you and the beautiful harbour in Sydney. While you are sitting in Sydney and interviewing me, I’m in Ahmedabad right now promoting my film.

In your next film Mardaani, we will see you as a fearless cop. What kind of preparation did you do to become a police cop?

To be very honest, I didn’t have a reference point to prepare for this role. Normally crime officers work under cover so we required special permission to meet them in their offices which are hidden. It was an incredible experience. I got an opportunity to understand from them on how they work on a day to day level. When I saw their map of Mumbai, I was shocked. Mumbai looked different to me. They knew where the crime happens. I realised how protective we have been brought up.

“For my character I also had to meet lots of female officers and observe them. I had to study their body language and do lots of mock drills with them. They showed me how to shoot with a real gun. The training with them was fascinating. Mumbai crime branch was very helpful in shaping my character. I have to thank them for my research.

The movie is based on child trafficking. While we are celebrating our 68th independence day, India is still in constant news about the rape incidents. Where do you think we stand with all these heinous crimes?

What is very important to say is we all woman are sitting here seething with anger, but we don’t know how to vent out the anger. We don’t know how to change, we need to stop discussing and need to sit back and decide what to do. The time has come when we need to empower ourselves. The girls that are born today should be taught self defence by the age of three, so by the age of 19 they are self confident. When a man sees a woman empowered, he will know not to misbehave. While we send our kids to dancing and singing classes, self defence should be compulsory and then India will be shining. Women will be in true sense of power.


You have always taken a significant step away from the traditional portrayal of women in mainstream cinema. With Mardaani, do you think Bollywood is finally ready to make female oriented films?

Neeru, I’m surprised that as a woman you are asking me this question. Why do we have to differentiate roles in Bollywood as female centric? When we talk of a love story, the girl has a powerful role ”“ why isn’t it called female centric? And why aren’t action films called male centric? I don’t understand why we differentiate when the main character is played by a female. To me, every Yash Raj film is a female centric film.

Rani we loved you in Kuch Kuch Hota hai, Black, Bunty and Babli, Hum Tum and many other roles. Which role is the closest to your heart and which character do you relate to?

Mardaani is the closest to my heart. It’s very empowering to me. It’s the role of a fearless officer. And this is the message I want to give to everyone. We all need to be as brave as Shivani. This is one character which is helping me and empowering many women.

What was the most memorable moment of the film?

The most memorable moment was when I was shooting for the poster of the film. My toe got accidently injured and I started to bleed a lot. Since the camera was rolling, we took the shot and there I am wearing a kurta and standing with my gun covered in lots of blood!

So what’s after mardaani?

Right now I’m too busy promoting Mardaani. I’ll decide later what I’m going to do with my future roles. At this stage I’ve got too much of mardaani on my mind!

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