For Karan Johar, Rani says no to Mira Nair
Rani Mukherjee is doing Karan Johar's next film. Never mind if she had to give up the chance to go international with Mira Nair for that.
By Subhash K Jha, IANS
Denying rumours that she turned down Nair's prestigious "The Namesake" because of various reasons like a nude scene, remuneration problems and a short role vis-à-vis Abhishek Bachchan, Rani replies: "Wrong. There's no nude scene in the film at all.
"Remuneration was no issue. As for my role being less pivotal than the male protagonist's, the script is quite different from the book.
"The only reason I said no to such a beautiful film was dates. I'm committed to doing Karan's film during the time when Mira wanted me. Karan is a very dear friend. He gave me the one break ('Kuch Kuch Hota Hai'), which turned my career around. I can't let down people who have been so important to my career for a film abroad, no matter how prestigious."
2004 belongs to her. So why has she been so quiet even after Kunal Kohli's "Hum Tum" became the biggest hit of the year?
"What was there to say? It'd look like I was praising myself if I went on and an about myself. Better to keep silent until you've something worthwhile to say."
But now she does have things to say, after her role as the Pakistani activist-lawyer in Yash Chopra's "Veer-Zaara". And to think that the role had originally been written for a man!
Aditya Chopra converted the lawyer's gender for Rani's sake. "Yes. It was written for a man. But I'm glad it was changed. So many ideas on women's empowerment, female literacy and India-Pakistan relations came into the picture with me. Am I not lucky?"
Rani has plenty to be pleased about - Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Black", for one, that opens January end.
"Ah, now that's something I can go on and on talking about, though I don't know how much I can say. What I must state is that 'Black' opened up an entirely new world for me, the world of the physically challenged. Through 'Black' I was actually able to see how such people feel, think, suffer as they try to connect with the outside world. 'Black' has changed me as a human being and an actress. Bhansali is a very, very special creator."
Does this change mean that she's no longer interested in playing conventional leading ladies? Rani is wary of being branded unorthodox.
"Why do you say that? True, I don't have a conventional leading man in 'Veer-Zaara' or 'Black'. But what about 'Hum Tum', which was a man-woman story with a difference?
"And in Ketan Mehta's 'The Rising', I'm very much the conventional leading lady. I even perform a mujra. In Ravi Chopra's 'Babul' again, I'm paired opposite Salman Khan though a lot of my interaction is with Amitabh Bachchan. And what about Shaad Ali's 'Bunty Aur Babli'? I'm having ball being Babli. That's me!"
Besides Karan's next directorial venture, Rani has also been penned in to play the lead in Shah Rukh Khan's production to be directed by Amol Palekar.
"Is my career rocking? I don't know. But I am," she laughs her throaty laughter.