It is worse than a crime: it is a mistake.Joseph Fouche
- I am here to act, entertain and make good films. I don't want to work hard for a film which does not even get released. I will cooperate with my director and help him make a good film. I get disappointed if my co-actors don't put in as much as I do. Today I am looking for banners and costars who have the same goal as me --- to work towards making a good film with dedication. I have made mistakes in my career, but that is just the learning process.
- Both Shah Rukh and Aamir have taught me a lot. I used to be their fan. I had seen all their movies. Once I had even taken Aamir's autograph! Then all of a sudden, I was facing the camera with him! The way these two looked after me and saw me through my initial scenes is something I can never forget.
- I have been into Odissi for over a decade now. I started around the time I was in standard X. I started dancing with Meenakshi Seshadri. My guru Pandit Ravindra Attibuthi has also taught Meenakshi and Hema Malini.
- Awards at each different stage have a special meaning and significance. They mean differently to everyone. When you get an award at the start of your career, it definitely is a stepping stone, and in the middle stages, awards become a source of inspiration, a source of happiness. It is a memento of something that is probably well deserved for the amount of effort put in. Filmfare Awards are something to be proud of. When one gets a Filmfare Award, people know an actor has arrived.
- And if I was found to be good for two awards, it doesn't mean I should be given just one just to make the awards look more democratic.
- I'm glad people are finally recognising me. For too long people who loved me felt dejected when at every awards function I'd give awards. Now I'm finally getting them. Now the media is acknowledging my hard work. I'm being rewarded in a very big way. More than me it's my family that is excited.
- I don't party, I don't get drunk and I don't have affairs. So all my passion goes into my work.
- Getting up at odd hours to catch flights. I hate the long hours of waiting. There are times when one is continuously travelling, from one city to another, hopping from one studio to another or changing from one costume to another. It is annoying, but after a point, one learns to be immune to one’s surroundings.
- I can't go up to everyone and tell people, please don't write or talk about Govinda or me. He is a friend, just like Preity is.
- after the release of Black:
- Though I haven't been a model, I've been a role model for many.
- Black changed my life. After interacting with the challenged, I learnt how not to complain. Even with a handicap, it is still possible to achieve your dreams. With Black I got a chance to meet a whole new world of people. I did not even know they existed till Sanjay told me about them.
- Well, debutant directors always come up with new ideas. They are very enthusiastic and it is easy to work with them. Today the stakes are so high that it is nice when directors bring in fresh inputs. Everyone is trying to set a trend today. And it is nice to work and interact with young, talented directors because your ideas get a different bent.
- I have become cautious. There is no fixed formula. Today audience's sensibilities are sharp. You can't feed them rubbish. They want to watch good films. The script has to be appealling. Even if it is larger than life, it has to be realistic. Audiences have to identify with what you are showing.
- I am very happy to be associated with this cause and I think we should try to give them a better place amongst us. We should also try to create an opportunity for them to be with us instead of isolating them.
- When I travel abroad, I find things are planned keeping in mind the disabled. In hotels you find three bathrooms in row - one for males, one for females and one for the disabled. In India, we should also create awareness and try to make a space for them.
- Catfights? What catfights? There is a healthy rivalry between me and other actresses but no one’s ever been bitchy. Kareena Kapoor is a cool girl. As for Preity Zinta, we share an on-screen rapport but we were never friends.
- I don't let gossip about my alleged affairs with Abhishek (Bachchan) or Govinda bother me anymore. People have even married me off to Karan Johar! The rumours about Govinda did make me furious. I felt sorry for Sunitaji. As far as Abhishek goes, I’m not dating him. I have no time for dates.
- I love daal chawal. I am not a restaurant person. I enjoy home food a lot.
- I compete with myself.
The Actress' Take On Films
- Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak — I was in school when I fell in love with the Aamir-Juhi pair. It was my first experience of love on-screen.
- I love Titanic because the love in the movie was pure, real, passionate and unconditional...the way the love story culminated in catastrophe was phenomenal. I love DDLJ and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai for being so over the top and yet so believable for us youngsters. You want a character like Raj to sweep you off your feet and go to any lengths for love and then stand by the girl's family and their dignity. I love Black for being such a sublime love story between and a teacher and his student. It was a love much beyond the ordinary.
- When Karan wanted my voice to be dubbed for Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, I really thought that it was a bad idea, but slowly I worked to improve my diction, and now I'm quite comfortable with it.
- The kiss with Kamal Haasan [in Hey! Ram] was mechanical. He was constantly checking the right angle. Where was the passion?
- Yes. Women characters are once again assuming significance in films. Karan Johar, Sanjay Bhansali and Yash uncle conceive wonderful women characters. In the ’50s and ’60s, Bimal Roy and Guru Duttji wrote beautiful roles for heroines. You couldn’t take your eyes off a close-up of Waheedaji, Nargisji, Nutanji or Meenaji. Times are changing again. The Bhansali-shot close-ups of Ash and Madhuri in Devdas were awesome.
- For me, a director is more important than a big banner. A great director can do wonders. Of course, banners do matter because, ultimately, after all the hard work you put it, the film must release. This will happen only if you work with a good banner or a producer who markets your film well, gives the director whatever he wants, and releases the film.
- It would be very unfair to compare "Black" with any other film. I can't do a role of a handicapped person. It'd look like a carryover of "Black". Every film is a new experience for me. I respect my work too much to act superior about other films. "Black" is a kind of film that comes once in a lifetime. Even Sanjay can't make it again. Maybe my comfort level with other directors isn't as high as it is with Sanjay. But I enjoy doing everything on camera. Yes, "Black" has put a lot of responsibility on my career. But I can't be serious about my future. I take what comes to me. Even "Black" was made under very light and enjoyable circumstances.
- Life is a learning experience. I don't regret having taken up any film till date. All of them have taught me something.
- on her character in The Rising (2005).
- Though I play a tawaif, I don't have a central role like Meena Kumari in Pakeezah or Rekha in Umrao Jaan. Mangal Pandey is completely about the title character.
- Yes, and I was really looking forward that. I got a chance not only to do a mujra but also to be choreographed by Saroj Khan.
Rani On Celebrities
- On Aamir Khan:
- Oh yes! He was my hero in Ghulam. After that there was a long gap until Mangal Pandey. In between he did want me for Lagaan. Today, we're very close friends. The equation is different. I remembered how he used to show me to do scenes. He still tells me how to do my scenes.
- On Shahrukh Khan:
- He treats me like a child, tells me how to face the camera. He constantly motivates me to give my best. His dedication and focus have shown me how to conduct my own career.
- On Saif Ali Khan:
- He's such a focused and committed actor!
- It's so wonderful working with him. What fun we had! Saif and I have grown together as actors. Hum Tum was a breakthrough film for both of us. It got me my first best actress award. The film bonded us. He has come a long way from Hum Tum to Ta Ra Rum Pum.
- On Abhishek Bachchan:
- The thing about me and Abhishek is that we are such close pals that our chemistry works on the big screen. That’s why after Bunty Aur Babli, Karan Johar has signed us both in a film together.
- On Preity Zinta:
- Preity is a lovely co-star. All our films together have worked. She keeps joking that she'll put me in her wedding picture to ensure her marriage remains a superhit.
- On Sanjay Leela Bhansali:
- Bhansali is a very sensitive director. The way he approaches every aspect of filmmaking is awe-inspiring. 'Black' is his baby. It's certainly not an easy subject to direct and he has shown his class by giving the film such a sensitive treatment.
The Directors' Notes On Rani
- Kunal Kohli, director Hum Tum:
- You wouldn't even realise the power in the scene you have written till you see her perform it on-screen.
- Yash Chopra, director Veer-Zaara:
- The ease with which she emotes is amazing. Her understanding of the character and its execution is the key.
- Sanjay Leela Bhansali, director Black:
- Look at her track record. In two years she has gone way beyond all competition...Hum Tum, Veer-Zaara and now Black, three hits in a row! The lady is versatile in the most wonderful manner.
- Karan Johar, director Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna:
- Rani Mukerji is someone I appreciate for various reasons. I love Rani as a person and a performer. Her "Black" is a landmark performance. I don't think she can ever do it again which is so unfortunate.
- She is an amazing talent who has become one of our finest actresses. I feel proud to have been part of the process.
- All these years she has been in touch with me nearly every day without expecting anything in return. She's like my kid sister.
Stars Talk About Rani
- Aamir Khan, co-star Ghulam:
- If a star comes closest to holding the sway that Madhuri Dixit or Kajol did, it's Rani. She pays attention to her work, has matured and become experienced with time.
- Abhishek Bachchan, co-star Yuva:
- John Abraham, co-star Baabul:
- She's my most favourite actress. She is wonderful, beautiful and ethereal on screen. Rani has an earthiness and a voice that can never be dublicated. Whenever I see her walk on to the stage to collect her Best Actress trophy, I know she fully deserves it.
- Amitabh Bachchan, co-star KANK:
- We've been cast in very unusual roles in Black. And then in KANK we were a very different kind of father-in-law and daughter-in-law. And now we play another very different and unusual father-in-law and daughter-in-law in Baabul. I guess we're lucky to have our acting talents being tested in such unusual ways. I'm very fortunate to get such unusual opportunities. Rani is a terrific co-star and it’s a pleasure to work with her. All of us— Jaya, Abhishek and I are very fond of her.
- Madhuri Dixit:
- I think she is a very good actress. I have always liked her and I envy her in a way because my dad is a big fan of hers.
What Others Had To Say?
- Manish Malhotra, fashion designer:
- Rani is one of the few actresses who know how to carry a Sari well. She looks incredibly sexy in some of these outfits (in the film). The sensuousness she exudes is aesthetic.
- Komal Nahata, critic:
- She is a great performer, has bagged the most sought after productions and has all the big banners and heroes in her kitty.
- Sanjay Mehta, distributor:
- Our industry might still be hero-dominated but she has the best track record among heroines.
- Jaideep Sahni, writer:
- With Rani around, you can never realize how big a star she is.
- Vinod Mirani, box office editor:
- She has the ability to stand out even in the biggest of star casts.
Koffee With Karan
- On Madhuri Dixit:
- I remember Beta making a huge impact on me. I had gone completely mad about Madhuri after seeing the movie.
At Special Events
- On being honored at the Casablanca Film Festival in 2005:
- Fifty thousand people on the beach watching 'Chalte Chalte' with me, then asking me questions about the songs and dances, the idiom and language of expression was incredible. I don't think I'll ever forget my experience in Casablanca.
- On being invited to the State Dinner with General Pervez Musharraf:
- It was like a dream come true! To just be part of such an event made me feel that I've done something to achieve this. All the biggest dignitaries from both sides of the border were so cultured and down-to-earth. When I was invited, I was disbelieving and overjoyed. I'm really looking forward to going to Pakistan. Let's see where the invitation comes from. Maybe it will come directly from the Begum (President Musharraf's wife). They actually want me and Latabai (Lata Mangeshkar) to come to Pakistan!.
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