Expresso, Episode 12: There’s a lot of beauty in ageing gracefully. I don’t think your aim has to be to look younger, says Rani Mukerji

She now feels happier for it. As an actor I do believe that if I were to play a role—I can be challenged to play a 60-year-old, I can also be challenged to play a 20-year-old.”
Watch: Rani Mukerji gets candid with Priyanka Sinha Jha in the twelfth episode of Expresso

And right now, Mukerji is displaying all the surefooted confidence that comes with experience. On being asked if women put themselves under great pressure to look young, she says, “For me, age is beautiful. That’s a silly thing to say because it is always seen as a ridicule. So it’s very important that we give respect to who we are as artistes.”
Unfortunately, she says that chances of him directing her in a film are rather slim. You have to enjoy each age in your life. And then you realized, ok, even if you were a big and successful star like Shah Rukh Khan, you had to work hard, be sincere and always give your best. Strangely, in my destiny these roles come to me and I accept it and do them. I have become who I am today because I have come to this age. If you are able to achieve that, I think it’s great,” she avers. Speaking of her role of Naina Mathur a teacher who suffers from Tourette Syndrome in the film, she says, “Somewhere I kind of connect with the specially abled. Now you have a manager, a PR person, a security, trainers, stylists, hair & make-up so. You can’t get the wisdom if you are young and what is the fun trying to look young in a non-organic way when you have already seen your youth? We were shooting at Xavier’s college in town, which was about an hour and a half drive. So, the mothers were guarding the actors.”
Obeying her parents evidently bode well for Rani Mukerji. An interesting fact–it was her husband, the renowned producer-director Aditya Chopra who insisted that she now step back in the spotlight and Mukerji, though worried about how the little one would manage without her, took the plunge. That’s very important at a stage when you are still discovering yourself as an actor and a star. A lot of times we might talk about feminism and certain things like equality but what is really happening in your day-to-day life is (what is) really important. They were exceptional. Aditya Chopra’s advice has always held her in good stead. 2018-04-14T08:00:24+05:30″>
Updated: April 14, 2018 8:00:24 am

Rani Mukerji has been juggling her on-screen challenging roles along with the new one off screen – that of a doting mother to her little moppet Adira, with aplomb. And that somehow molded me, the way I pursued my career. In every profession, if people can be a little more accommodating for working mothers, more and more women can pursue their careers and have a family life.”
I am tempted to ask the actor about the situation of women, gender parity and her definition of feminism and she has a quick comeback. The exposure to two of India’s biggest stars, besides bolstering her commercial worth, turned out to be a crash course in life skills which kept her ahead of the pack. And then of course came the anxiety and fear. They can just rest because the whole world loves them so, why are they working so hard. You’ve got to do what you know best, be the professional that you are. I used to be there by 6 in the morning and they would wrap up by 12.30 so I was back with my baby by lunchtime. You will never see a mother being on the set with daughter. I feel like I was born to be an actor.”
Mukerji’s early career was guided by her parents especially her mother Krishna and the actor is vocal in her disagreement about the mockery made of the omnipresent mothers of heroines often referred to as ‘Mummyjis’. I think it is important to understand (that) you needed an elder to accompany you, say on an outdoor or film set as you could fall sick. Are you feeling the respect every day in your life? In a befitting celebration of sorts, Hichki, featuring her as Naina Mathur, a teacher afflicted by Tourette Syndrome, released the same month and went on to hit the right notes in terms of box-office profitability and audience reaction. Let it be a part of your life, not all your life.’ I think that encouragement helped me because if he had not nudged and pushed me, probably I would still be sitting with Adira and watching some other female actor do this interview,” quips the actor. Changing the world is the next step. When you are aging, you are growing up with so many experiences, so many memories. Back from her hiatus after a short maternity break and with the success of Hichki, her most recent film based on a true-life story, the actor is evidently back to delight us with her varied choice of films. That really worked for me. I think he will start laughing if I perform in front of him or vice-versa.”
Of course, a large part of the credit for her successful stint as an actor rests with her parents, her mother Krishna Mukerji in particular. “My mother wanted me to be an actor so I became one and then I started enjoying it. “All the female actors need to thank their mothers for being able to spend their time with their daughters and forget about their (own) lives in those years. There’s a lot of beauty in aging gracefully. On the first day of the film’s shoot, she remembers howling in the car and wondering whatever happened to the strong girl she thought herself to be. Today I actually thank her because I don’t see myself as anything other than being an actor. I don’t know if it’s a past birth experience or what? Somewhere I believe I have a connection and that’s why these roles come to me. Sometimes we do certain things that we don’t morally believe—we do it because we are actors and we are getting paid (for the job). Almost as though she had never left. “My husband was after my life from the time that my baby was three months old. “My journey into motherhood and coming back to work was amazing because as a professional you don’t realize how much you miss your work till you take a break and come back to it,” she recaps, flashing her characteristic, high wattage smile. Related News
Expresso, Episode 11: Star kids have a lot of benefits but if you are not talented and don’t work hard, it’s not going to go anywhere, says Sonam KapoorExpresso, Episode 10 | Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to act: Huma QureshiExpresso, Episode 9: I learnt the hard way, the wrong way, and I almost lost myself, says Prateik BabbarRani Mukerji turned a proud 40 this March. If you have a husband who respects the woman you are, the individual you are. Yes, you’ve become a mother but Adira is going to be with us forever so you don’t have to alter your life. Motherhood, she agrees has been an amazing experience something she looked forward to. Once on the set though, it was a different story. The success that she saw was unprecedented. You have to work hard, you have to give it your best.”
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© IE Online Media Services Pvt Ltd With her repeated film outings, Mukerji has put to rest all speculations on the possibility of hanging up her boots. About making her filming experience seamless, she gives a lot of credit to Hichki director Siddharth Malhotra and the crew. It’s about time that people saw that angle as well rather than just say, ‘Oh mothers accompanied their daughters’. You should never sell yourself cheap. When it comes to a director-actor equation, it’s very different. The experience of becoming a mother for the first time and spending time with her firstborn, the actor admits was plain beautiful. Now things have changed a great deal. Even if you see Michelle McNelly (in Black), she is very spirited and Naina Mathur is no different.”
Rani Mukerji, a spirited one herself, has been juggling her on-screen challenging roles along with the new one off screen—that of a doting mother to her little moppet Adira, with aplomb. “He made me realize that as an actor one has to respect oneself and never underestimate one’s talent. Nobody really talks about the fact that they stayed away from their husbands for so long and dedicated time to their daughters. “When I observed Aamir and Shah Rukh, I thought they are such big stars so why were they working so much? For instance, Rani Mukerji still holds on to the sage counsel that he gave her during Mujhse Dosti Karoge, her first film with him. Earlier we didn’t have an entourage like that. Significantly, during the course of our conversation about all things under the sun, Mukerji announced her milestone birthday that was coming up, surely a first of sorts as far as female actors are concerned. It’s a code that she is following in her own life. It was her mother’s desire that Rani should be an actor and she followed the advice of her parents unquestioningly. What I love about the especially abled is that they are very spirited and confident, unlike what people perceive them to be. I kind of realized that there is no shortcut to stardom. These words are very valuable because there are a lot of people who can devalue you. “They really wanted me for the part so they kind of bent backward and achieved things that given a chance they would have not done. I don’t think your aim has to be to look younger. The cycle of singlehood, married life and now motherhood has not interfered with her acting career. At the very outset of her career, Mukerji landed Ghulam opposite Aamir Khan and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai opposite Shah Rukh Khan in quick succession. “For me, feminism is being able to live with a man with your own individual identity. Go back to your fans. And for me, that is the core that I like to touch emotionally with the characters. That’s the natural youth that you have passed and you have enjoyed that phase. You have got to get back. “We have talked about it but have come to the conclusion that the film will never get made. That for me is a very powerful sentiment. You are actually roaming with 10 people. She opines that instead of being ridiculed, their efforts should be acknowledged. He was like ‘you are just getting so consumed.