Personalities that are carved through the roles that one enacts in the acting career define the contours for identities. From this perspective if one were to look at the career graph of Rani Mukerji from the time when she made her debut in RAJA KI AAYEGI BARAAT, she has never played the role of a submissive woman, but has assertively leveraged the feminine strength to stand out and match eye to eye with the male counterparts. This characteristic has become manifest more so in the last five years or so with the films that Rani Mukerji has been associated with.
The acme of the niche that she has carved for herself is going to manifest in MARDAANI, being produced under the Yash Raj banners and directed by Pradeep Sircar. MARDAANI as a metaphor for boldness and the ability to dare in eye came into the Hindi lexicon from 'Jhansi Ki Raani' poem written by fire band poetess Subhadra Kumari Chauhan and one feels that Rani Mukerji's role in MARDAANI would be on the same lines, underlining the spirit of manhood in terms of fighting for a cause. As MARDAANI starts shaping up, here is a trip down memory lane of the films which have sort of been catalyst in defining the MARDAANI persona of Rani Mukerji:
RAJA KI AAYEGI BARAAT: From the very first film, where she made her debut, Rani Mukerji announced to the world that she is not another coy girl, who will relegate herself to dance around the trees, but would fight for injustice as she did in RKAB.
MEHNDI: MEHNDI again at the surface value could be conjured as a role where a wife goes to any extent to save the name of her family where she has been wedded, but it also had a subtle message that a girl should not adhere to the maxim that a house where she has married, should be the abode from where her pyre should also come out. Hers was probably amongst first roles where a girl is showing lighting the pyre of her father and goes on to seek revenge against her husband and the family for the troubles that they caused her.
VEER ZARA: As a spitfire lawyer, who leaves no stones unturned to see to it that justice is done to the character played by Shah Rukh Khan, hers was the most underplayed performance, but she was the binding element of the film, especially in the last scene where she catalyzes meeting between SRK and Preity Zinta.
LAAGA CHUNARI MEIN DAAG: This was the first film where Pradeep Sircar had directed Rani Mukerji, and though she played the role of a lady who sells herself as a source of livelihood, she presented the role in a rather dignified manner and carried the film on her shoulder admirably.
DIL BOLE HADIPPA: A girl from a paternalistic society of a village of Punjab, who is not allowed to play cricket, and goes on to pursue her vocation by adorning a male getup, had Rani Mukerji having ball enacting the role of a young Sikh boy. It had a subtle message that if indeed a girl tries to pursue her vocation, even she could bend the contours of gender to pursue them.
NO ONE KILLED JESSICA: While in VEER-ZAARA Rani Mukerji had underplayed the role of the lawyer, here she went overboard, even not thinking twice before uttering fuselage of abuse on the screen, hitherto unheard off, was the high point in her acting career, and her enactment of the role continues to serve as inspiration for budding female students who have taken law as a career, to emulate Rani's role and carve a niche for themselves.
With such being the kind of repertoire in her oeuvre that Rani Mukerji has so far, MARDAANI indeed could be a film worth waiting for once it releases in 2014.