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Marriage rumours put off producers
A year and a half after playing a modern day journalist in 'No One Killed Jessica', Rani Mukerji returns in yet another shade of the modern-day woman in Sachin Kundalkar's 'Aiyyaa'. She claims she has not been missing from the film scene and has two back to back releases - 'Aiyyaa' next month and 'Talaash' in November. Mukerji talks to TOI-Crest about the changes in commercial cinema and rumours about her marriage.
What was it like working in an Anurag Kashyap film?
I have known Anurag from the time he was an assistant;and worked with him on Yuva. Nobody was ready to commission his film. When Anurag came to me with a film, I told him, "Tere type ki film nahi, par mere type ki film karega toh I will do it". He told me to watch the short film Sachin had made. If I liked it, they were ready to develop it into a proper script. I liked it and gave my little suggestions that I felt were necessary for the film. I told them that if they came up with a good script that has a potential of a good film, I am on. Sachin took a year to complete the script. The only thing I was clear about was that the film has to appeal to every section of the audience. I guess the reaction to the promos of Aiyyaa means it is working with everybody. Anurag gave me and Sachin all the creative liberties, though he continued to give guidance throughout our journey.
You are playing a Maharashtrian girl in the film?
Jessica was one shade of a modern Indian woman and Meenakshi Deshpande is another. They all live in the same India. I am depicting the role of a girl, who is trapped in middle-class culture. Her parents want her to married, but she lives in her own world. She's lusting after a particular man, but her parents are getting her married to someone else. Sachin told me that he has seen it happen and is rebelling against this culture through his film. Why can't a middle class girl lust for a man? The girl is a complete Bollywood fan of actresses such as Sridevi, Madhuri etc. In real life too, both Sachin, me and Vaibhavi Merchant have grown up watching these actresses.
Is our cinema changing with all kinds of films tasting success at the box office?
I keep pulling Anurag's leg and insist that he say 'commercial cinema ki jai' ! But on a serious note, it is the audience that is, to a certain extent, responsible for it. They have started accepting all kinds of films.
You know, very few filmmakers have the balls to make a film that they totally believe.
I also feel that it is a cycle. Every decade has been credited to young minds that come up with revolutionary ideas. In the '70s, there were young writers who brought in the change. Today, a young director is able to make his/her films work because he or she also happens to be a writer - such a scenario excites a producer who encourages the new filmmaker to make his belief come true. Young actors, too, are ready to support, which helps the film work at the box office. More and more actors need to encourage filmmakers to come up with different subjects, and see how the audiences react to it. After all, filmmaking is a gamble.
How much of a Maharashtrian are you?
I was born and brought up in Mumbai, so I am a complete Maharashtrian. Though in this Aiyya I had to work on my Hindi in order to speak it the way a Maharashtrian speaks Hindi. My tutor was my director.
You have disappeared since last year. Did it have to do with rumours about your marriage?
I don't think rumours affect fans. I can't wait to see the reactions to the promos. The reactions that I've got now shows that my fans can't wait to see me back on screen. Talaash was to release in June and then Aiyyaa, but fate of events has led to release of Talaash getting pushed even further. I don't want to do random films. I would rather sit home than do every film that is offered to me.
You think marriage rumours puts off producers?
I think so. They run away not ready to take the risk and there's tension all through the making - questions like 'what happens if she gets married' or 'gets pregnant'. So much is at stake. I personally feel marriage does not make a difference, but not many want to take that chance. Only someone like Karan will go and sign a Kajol after marriage;her star status does not wane because of it. There was Dimple Kapadia who became a superstar after marriage.
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