The Chopra bahu is all glowing with the power and excitement that comes with officially being family to India’s foremost film production house. With her just-released Mardaani getting good reviews, Rani Mukerji takes on questions about films, marriage and having kids, with equal aplomb.
Do you get amused, irritated or does it not make a difference when people keep speculating about your pregnancy?
But that is fabulous, they should. I mean shaadi shuda aurat bachcha nahi karegi toh woh kya sochenge?
I mean shaadi karte hai bachchon ke liye, toh agar bachche nai karne toh shaadi kyun karte?
(laughs) ... I am married now, and I have other responsibilities as well. But I am hoping to be like the other married women who handle their professional life and their house life very well, so I will maintain a balance. Ek side pe bachcha bhi produce karoongi and ek side pe films bhi karoongi.
How much of film talk happens between you and Adi (husband, producer Aditya Chopra)? I think we both are from the film industry so it is normal for us to talk about films. It will be abnormal if we don’t talk about films, and he would tell me ‘jao ghar pe roti banao’
. We talk about films, we talk about other things as well. We have a good and comfortable relationship where he respects my job and I respect his. I think it’s a good match because I don’t think I would have been able to marry anyone at this stage of my life … since I got married at 36 … and it was important for me to respect the man a lot. Adi has this quality about him. I have done so many films with him, and never heard him say negative things about anyone in the industry. We are a part of the industry where people bitch all the time. So I respect that about him. He is a wonderful human being.
Mardaani has been given an A certificate. Your thoughts?
In our country we have censor certificates which are above and below 18. Unfortunately, because my film creates awareness for women, it is a film that 12-year-olds and 15-year-olds should watch. Fortunately in the UK, they have a censorship and a certificate for 12+, so they will be able to see. In India, we still don’t have censorship certificates which aim at the right ages. It is a below-18 and above-18 syndrome. I am sure that parents with daughters will take this message to them. I am sure that the lovely youth who get a chance to see the film, will take it forward. I have seen this happening. In Meerut, a girl took charge and actually beat up these fellows. So she is being called a Mardaani herself. So I am sure that there will be more cases like that.
Also read: I have always believed in fairytales, says Rani after marrying Aditya Chopra
We heard you were a tomboy while growing up. Is that true?
I wasn’t a tomboy, but I always had this attitude in me that boys in my school, even those who had a crush on me, used to maintain a distance. They’d be like ‘Zara sambhal ke is se.’ When I started working, I had the opportunity to romance Aamir (Khan, actor) and Shah Rukh (Khan, actor) and I was pretty happy with that. They respect women a lot. I’ve always received a lot of respect from all the people I’ve worked with.
Ajay Devgn and Salman have become the quintessential reel-life cops. Are you all set to beat the men at their game?
I’d like to say that women are the best, so I will be better. I did my research and actually met female cops. I had to take special permission to meet the crime branch unit in Bombay. They helped us a lot. I went to the units in Mumbai, which I never knew even existed, as they are all undercover. Meeting them made me look at cops in a different light. They are working for us every day tirelessly, fighting battles every day to make us feel secure. We, as citizens, have a very prejudiced way of looking (at things); when we think of a police officer, we always have a male cop in our head. Hopefully, through Mardaani, people will see how brave our female cops are.
Also read: Imperative to show all girls the reality, says Rani Mukerji
What are your real-life mardaani moments?
I am a mardaani since childhood. I have slapped and hit lots of people. So, I did not hesitate at all while playing the role. I didn’t find it tough. I felt that I should punch and kick more people. My only expectation from this film is that women should recognise their strength and awaken it. There is a question mark on the security of women. We have to empower ourselves. Please enroll yourself in a martial arts class, I did at 36. It’s never too late. Encourage your children to take up these lessons at the age of three, they will be like Bruce Lee by the time they grow up. Make your children self-sufficient, so that men tie us rakhis!