She was Mumbai moviedom’s No. 1 heroine just last year. But today, Rani Mukherji is no longer being approached by frontline filmmakers. Once a favourite of every Khan, she hasn’t been teamed with Shah Rukh, Aamir or Salman of late.
From all evidence, she appears to have become an exclusive Yashraj heroine and her career is being re-scripted by Aditya Chopra... who coincidence or not, has split from his wife Payal Malhotra.
The Aditya-Rani liaison is the hottest topic of discussion today, in studio corridors, beauty salons and ritzy star abodes. That the director and she are ‘good friends’ has never been denied by the 28-year-old actress.
Aditya's marriage with his childhood friend Payal Malhotra — from a traditional Punjabi business family — hit the rocks. Aditya moved out of his parents' house in Juhu-Vile Parle
In the wake of her three super hat-trick performances in Hum Tum, Black and Bunty aur Babli, Rani Mukherji had achieved what most actresses dream of. She had startled Aishwarya Rai out of the top rung of the heroine ladder..and it seemed there was no stopping her from acquiring strength and perfecting her performances.
Her fan following was and is still tremendous but..a big but. Where is she heading? Is she reserving her dates essentially for the Yashraj banner. Not a bad thing that. Snag: the days of exclusive-to-one-studio practice no longer wash in a business that is becoming fiercely competitive.
All of her earlier directors no longer rush to her with scripts. Also by some quirk of logic, she is in Yashraj banner's Ta Ra Rum Pum directed by Sidharth Anand, instead of repeating her success with director Shaad Ali in the same banner's Jhoom Barabar Jhoom. Shaad Ali had given her excellent roles in Saathiya and Bunty aur Babli.
Trade talk is that since the actress was being linked with Shaad Ali, she was shifted to Ta Rum Pum Pum. The actress refused to comment on this twist of the plot..in fact, she stopped commenting on any matter under the sun to the press which had so lovingly lionised her till that point.
Rani Mukherji became elusive to being downright rude to the media and it was conjectured that the lay-off from the press was in the style perfected by the Yashraj scion, genius producer-director-writer Aditya Chopra.
No one can deny that Adi, as he is called by his friends, has become an important factor in the actress' life and career. Some insiders aver that they are "friendly" and leave it that. The events in his own life, however, have given rise to other sorts of whispers, which are no longer hush-hush.
Aditya's marriage with his childhood friend Payal Malhotra – from a traditional Punjabi business family – hit the rocks. Aditya moved out of his parents' house in Juhu-Vile Parle to stay at the Grand Maratha Sheraton Hotel till the clouds cleared. Now they have, it seems. Payal who had flown off to Singapore, for a few months, has returned to Mumbai.
A settlement, upwards of some Rs 20 crore, has been fixed, besides a five-bedroom penthouse in Juhu, close to the Prithvi theatre complex. Payal, an expert interior designer who was instrumental, in the upbeat look of the Yashraj studio in Oshiwara, has chosen to stay independently..instead of giving up her career.