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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Rani Mukerji: “You Already Have That Fire When You’re Born As A Girl”

Rani Mukerji is a talent who not only exudes high commercial appeal but is a versatile artist. The recipient of multiple accolades, Mukerji has been featured in listings of the highest-paid actresses of the 2000s. Despite a slight hiccup in 2021 with Bunty Aur Babli 2, the superstar shines with her formidable acting chops in Ashima Chibber’s Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway. You can read our review here.

The picture, backed by Zee Studios and Emmay Entertainment, draws inspiration from the real-life 2011 incident. Here, a woman Sagarika Chakraborty fights the Norweigan authorities after her children are confiscated from her on cultural difference grounds. The matter was widely covered by the media, but yet many have been unaware of the story. Mukerji, one of them, first received the narration during the pandemic. Rani cites it gave her ‘sleepless nights’.

“I googled this case and what baffled me even further was that it is such a recent one,” she tells us. “So many major media houses in India covered this. I was squirmish to think about what was I even doing back then. At that point, I felt this was a story that needed to be spoken about so more families can be protected.”

It has been over two decades since Mukerji has been a prominent actress. Her initial works like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Saathiya and Hum Tum secured her as a commercially viable heroine. All her characters are strong women, who ignite the fire of revolution and voice against patriarchy.

Watch our interview with Rani Mukerji interview here:

This image is strengthened further in titles such as No One Killed Jessica, Mardaani and Hichki where she headlines solid societal stories. This film is a testament to this ongoing movement.

At this stage of her career, Rani discusses how confident she is in taking risks, especially in light of her latest release. “I was not thinking about the box office or if it is a risk doing the film. I could not disconnect myself from the character’s story and the injustice.”

“It’s very important to portray Indian women characters beautifully for a global audience. I believe that Indian women are extraordinary. I want to portray them in all their might and glory. As an actor, this is the only platform I have to raise awareness.”

Mukerji also highlights what attributes to her ‘fiery’ roles in Indian cinema: “When you’re born as a girl or daughter, you already have that fire [smiles]. Watching my mother’s struggles (and father’s) while growing up taught me long-standing life lessons.”

“As children, these are the things that we pick up from our parents and see their strength and how they battle tough times without telling their kids,” she adds. “Through these characters, I get to play these different roles because in my life I can only be Rani. That’s the role I play in reality.”

Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway is playing in the UK cinemas. 

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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