Rani Mukerji doesn’t regret doing any of the 40-odd films she has acted in, over a career that spans 11 years now. Even criticism for her trail of Yash Raj films that didn’t score well at the box office has not deterred her. "I want to do films that are audience-friendly and entertaining," says Mukerji, who is not scheduled to work with Yash Raj currently. "The fact remains that people would give their left arm to do the kind of work I did with them. If they offer me a role, I’d be happy to do it."
Mukerji expresses her contentment with commercial cinema, saying, "I am a heroine of the masses." She adds that she has nothing against niche films, but doesn’t personally prefer them. "I want to be watched by the world, rather than just one section. Very few people watch offbeat and niche films. With films like No One Killed Jessica, I want to maintain that balance."
However, after watching Kiran Rao’s Dhobi Ghat, which has been openly called an art-house film, Mukerji was left in two minds. "After I saw the film, the first and only thing I said to Kiran was, ‘when are you working with me next?’" reveals the actor. "My first choice will always be commercial cinema, but once in a while, when a film like Dhobi Ghat comes along, a film that you don’t have to give so much of your time to, and where you fall in love with the character, then why not?"
This year has been full of pleasant surprises for Mukerji. Her film No One Killed Jessica became one of the first successes of this year. Then she bagged herself a role in Zoya Akhtar’s next project with Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor. And on Monday, she received the Gr8! Women Award for the actress of the decade.
"An award like this takes you down memory lane, to all that you have done and the time that has gone by," says Mukerji, who felt humbled by the gesture. "It puts a lot of responsibility on my shoulders. It means that my next innings have to be as worthy." So does the future look promising? "Yes, working with Aamir will only be beneficial to me as an actor. The films I have done with him and Shah Rukh (Khan) have been my most cherished so far. I have always looked up to them."
Over the decade that she has spent in Bollywood, has public perception of Rani changed? “Perceptions in the industry alter every Friday. Probably, the fact that I am a talented actor has just been reiterated.”