Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Rani Mukerji
| Photo Credit: SUJIT JAISWAL

Rani Mukerji on Sunday said audience has helped her break the “ageism barrier”, enabling her to play a wide variety of characters.

Speaking at an in-conversation session, titled ‘Delivering Compelling Performances’, during the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here, the actor said an artiste’s age should not matter while essaying a role.

“My audience has loved me and accepted me over the years. They have helped me to break the ageism barrier and I will promise that I will work till I’m 80. I don’t think an actor should be judged by their age.

“It’s only because our cinema is known as popular cinema and you want to see young people on screen all the time because that’s what compels the youth to kind of go and watch,” Mukerji said.

It is also important for artists to not be “delusional” and believe that they are always going to be young, she added.

“You can be young at heart, but to accept your age and to accept roles that suit your age is also important for the audience to accept you. So, it has always been a conscious decision of mine to be able to give my audience something that will be palpable for them as well.” It is important to accept “who you are, what you are, how you’re aging, look after yourself and look good for the audience”, the actor said.

“My entire life’s focus is to look like how I used to look 20 years ago, and keep looking like this all my life. And have a good and healthy lifestyle and maintain it because when the audience pays money to come and see your work, they also want to see a nice looking face.

“They don’t want to see your face that’s tired and so I also take intervals and do my work, because the audience has kept me going for the last 27 years. And I’m hoping that the same audience keeps me going for the next 27.” Even in her 20s, Mukerji said, she never hesitated in playing a mother on screen, “I played a mother in my third film itself, ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’, and I continued playing mother roles. In ‘Ta Ra Rum Pum’, I played a mother of two children.

“So I think continuously I’ve tried to not give importance to the age factor of the character. And I’ve tried to do justice with the role, so that when the audience is watching me on screen, they don’t think of Rani Mukerji as who I am. But they actually see my character and they believe that I’m that character.” The actor said she has consciously tried to portray strong women characters. Citing the example of her film “Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna”, which was directed by Karan Johar, Mukerji said it was way ahead of its time.

“Through our characters, they get to know how India is at that point of time. And for me, it’s a responsibility when people see our films abroad how they view Indian women. So I always want to portray Indian women as the best, strong and powerful, and that’s what I’ve done with my roles consciously.”

The movie also starred Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan and Priety Zinta. Mukerji said the movie opened the eyes of a lot of people and made them choose happiness over compromise.

“A lot of people were going to the theatres, watching the film and feeling extreme discomfort because nobody wants to face the reality of their own lives. And I think that is the feedback that Karan got after the film. And I think it opened the eyes of a lot of people and people made a decision of being happy and very different from what we are taught in our culture that we have to compromise and we have to adjust,” she said.

The 54th IFFI will conclude on November 28.

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