Rani Mukherji, 34, is an award winning Bollywood actress who has appeared in over 45 movies till date.
Mukherji spoke to Bollywood Reporter Sunny Malik about her latest release Talaash, also starring Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan.
The Black actress spoke about her director Reema Kagti, learning how to swim, failures, her co-stars and much more.
How are you feeling that Talaash is releasing now?
During the release time of any of our films, it puts us under pressure and anxiety, which is part of the business. However, right now, I am not feeling any emotions because I have gone through a lot in the last one month. It has been very different with Talaash for me. I can’t come to terms with the fact that the film is releasing now.
Do you feel like that also because you have not publicized the film like other films have been over promoted recently?
I don’t think so. An Aamir Khan film creates the buzz in any which way. We are doing everything that is required to promote the film. Let’s see how it works in Talaash’s favour.
You have had huge hits in the UK in the past. How do you think a film like Talaash, which is very different, should be promoted here?
No person can proudly say what strategy works because it is not in any creative person’s hand. It is all about the film that you make at the end of the day. It depends on the audience, whether they are ready to watch a film of that kind of genre and whether they are interested in it. There are a lot of films that may not get the recognition at the time of release because the audience is not ready to watch that kind of film.
The film is very different from what an audience in the UK would expect from a Rani-Aamir starrer.
I think, that makes the film interesting. As actors we also need to get evolved and we need to do different films with the passing time. It is interesting to see Aamir and myself in a film like this. The film is very emotional and emotional films are liked widely by audiences. Nowadays, we don’t have heavily emotional films in Bollywood anymore. They are all centred to make people laugh. Now suddenly, you have a film that might make you cry. We will have to wait and find out if people like the film or not.
What is the film about?
Because Talaash is a suspense drama and border lining on the thriller genre as well, it is better for audiences to discover the film and plot when they see it. It will be interesting for the audience to discover Kareena’s character, my character, Aamir’s character and everyone else who plays a part in the film. It has a very interesting plot and interesting characters.
Aamir is now being described as a cinematic genius and perfectionist. Do you see any changes in him since you have worked with him in the past?
Aamir was always a huge star for me, from the time when I worked with him in Ghulam. He is a much bigger star today. Nothing has changed from his front. He is as dedicated and focused as he was years ago. The perception about him has changed but I think he has been the same. He has been giving his share of contribution to movies right since his first film. He is a talented person and knows what is happening in a film, even beyond his own work as an actor. I think, I have changed though. I was a newcomer, 17-years-old, when I worked with him in Ghulam and now 17 years later I am a different actor in front of him.
How was it like working with a female director, Reema Kagti?
I don’t think a director has a gender. A director is either a good director or a bad director. She knows her job really well and knows what she wants out of her actors. She guided me and Aamir really well. It is important to have a director like that on the set.
Aamir said the underwater sequences were quite scary. How was your experience shooting underwater?
It was quite challenging for me as I don’t know how to swim. I had to learn a little bit of swimming for the film. Reema definitely did not want to be blamed for my death while filming her movie. She was quite hell-bent for me to learn the basics so that I don’t drown.
You and Kareena are back together in a film after Mujhse Dosti Karoge. However, you only shared screen space for a promotional song.
Kareena and I meet each other and bump into each other a lot socially. The love and warmth we share for each other, right from the time of Mujhse Dosti Karoge is still very much there. That will be always be there. Kareena genuinely loves and respects me and so do I. I think, the mutual feeling of love and warmth that we have for each other is constant, for both of us. It was a shame that we did not have scenes together in the same frame but it would have been lovely.
Aiyyaa did not really work. You said once that you cry when films don’t do well and it makes you really sad. Does that still happen?
Of course it makes me sad. When we make a film, we make it for the people to enjoy it. I feel bad when they don’t like a film. My whole intention is to entertain people and when a film fails to do so, it is very saddening for me. That is what I work hard for, to get the appreciation and love from audiences. I have received humongous praise for Aiyyaa from the critics. They have reviewed my work fabulously well but I still can’t take away my film from who I am. If they don’t critique my film well, it does not make me happy that they have reviewed only my work well. It is a two way situation. I want them to like the film as well as my performance.
Do you think about what went wrong? Do you use those thoughts when signing up for your next films?
I think, for an actor it is very important to go through the phases of failure and success. That is a true test for an actor. Failure or success should not change you, you need to have a balance. As an actor, you have to keep doing good work because you never know what is going to work with the audience and at the Box Office. You have to enjoy the filming, irrespective of what the outcome might be. That is what I do, and is as much what I can do. If the audience has not accepted a movie, it means the story has not worked for them. The only thing to do is, live in reality, not in a delusional world and accept that the story has been rejected.
Aamir Khan usually takes away the credit for the success of his films, as seen recently. Do you think it will be different with Talaash?
Whenever a film is a success, giving full credit to just one person would always be slightly unfair to the rest of the team. After all, the film is a product of creative people and technicians coming together and making it. Yes, sometimes the credit goes to actors, yes their stardom pulls in the crowd but the film or the story has to work to make it a success. It if does, then it is a victory for the whole team.
What is next for Rani Mukherji?
I have not signed any other film yet because nothing has excited me. As soon as I sign something, I will announce it. I want to be part of a good film. It’s very important for people to come and see what they are promised. If you entertain them in the right genre, then there is place for all kind of movies to do well.
What is your message to your UK fans?
I would like to tell them to keep giving me their love. It is their love which makes me more powerful and driven as an actor. I would really like to thank them.
Talaash is out on Friday, 30th November 2012, across cinemas in the UK.