Rani Mukerji: I’m in the midst of deciding my next film – Rani Mukerji’s comeback venture, Hichki, has worked well at the box office. Along with the positive reception in India, it also received a standing ovation at the recently-concluded Shanghai Film Festival and has scored well on satellite, too.
As we start our conversation with Rani, who’s busy taking care of her daughter, Adira, she tells us, “This interview might happen in breaks.” But the toddler plays with her toy and watches her mother talk, without interrupting her. Over the next 20 minutes, the actress states how Hichki helped her find answers to all her questions and why she is open to doing a film outside the Yash Raj Films banner. Excerpts…
Hichki was a small-budget film that did good numbers. Does this success seem sweeter than that of your other big movies?
I don’t categorise films on the basis of their budget. At the end of the day, it is a validation of my work being accepted by viewers. So, it’s not really about getting success on a higher or lower scale. The audience’s appreciation is of utmost importance. When a film does well, it makes you happy. Likewise, when it flops, irrespective of its budget, you feel equally sad.
The movie has worked well on satellite, too…
Yes, I’m extremely happy because it’s important for every actor to ensure that their film has a wide reach. With television, the reach is tremendous. And the fact that Hichki has worked well on satellite is heartening. Now, it has also released digitally, so more people will be able to watch it.
Were you always confident about its success?
Whenever I choose a script, I do it hoping that the audience will like it. But no one can predict to what extent it will be accepted. If we could do the predictions, then all our films would be hits. There would be no misses.
What’s the fondest compliment that you have received from any of your fans or audience?
I remember Karan’s (Johar) words. He told me, ‘You have performed like a veteran actor.’ Javed (Akhtar) uncle called me after the screening and said he loved my performance in Hichki more than Black. Aamir (Khan) joked that I make for a good-looking buddhi because of the last scene where I’m an old woman. This is the kind of attention an actor craves for.
Hichki also received a standing ovation at the Shanghai Film Festival. You weren’t there. Did you miss the reception?
Siddharth (P Malhotra) called me from there as soon as this happened and told me everyone stood up, clapped and were extremely moved by the film. They asked him, ‘How did you pick up this actor who actually has the Tourette Syndrome?’ So that was gratifying for me. People are loving the film irrespective of the place, country and the language and they are connecting with it, which is very special. I feel bad I had to miss out on it, but I’m happy my director was there.
Where does this film and this character stand in your filmography?
It stands at a very important place. Hichki was my comeback film which I did right after giving birth to my baby Adira. So there were a lot of questions I had about whether I would be able to deliver a hit, whether the audiences would like to see me on screen four years after Mardaani. Hichki has dispelled all those questions.
You promised to do one film every year from now on. Have you finalised your next?
I’m in the midst of deciding on my next. I have learnt from my past experiences. Now, I will sign on the dotted line only when I’m fully happy with the script from the first scene to the end.
Is there a film you are doing outside YRF for now?
No, not as of now. But there are a lot of scripts that I’m reading at present. If there’s a script which I love outside the YRF banner, I’ll obviously do it.