Rani Mukerji reacts to Norwegian ambassador slamming Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway: How can it be fiction if Indian govt was involved?

Mar 30, 2023 12:45 AM IST

Actor Rani Mukerji reacts to all the claims made by the Norwegian ambassador with regard to her latest film Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway that is based on a true story.

Recently, Norwegian Ambassador to India, Hans Jacob Frydenlund stirred up a controversy by claiming that the Rani-Mukerji starrer Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway is a ‘fictional representation’ of a true case, with factual inaccuracies. Now, the lead actor has hit back at the allegations, saying the intent was not to villainise any particular country.

Rani Mukerji plays the role of Debika Chatterjee in film, Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway
Rani Mukerji plays the role of Debika Chatterjee in film, Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway

“Everybody is entitled to have their own opinion. This film was not really made to offend anybody. It was a story of a mother that needed to be told to and seen by a lot of people. People need to be aware of stories like this that are happening in the world,” Mukerji tells us, adding, “It is a true story, and the intention of the film was very different from what was being projected in the opinion that was given. It was about a mother’s journey”.

Ashima Chibber’s film is based on Sagarika Chakraborty’s story, whose kids were taken away from her by the Norway’s Child Welfare Services citing improper parenting, chronicling how she stood up against the government to get her kids back.

A while ago, Frydenlund took to social media to call out the film for the alleged inaccuracies, saying, “It incorrectly depicts Norway’s belief in family life and our respect for different cultures”. He followed it with an op-ed piece, writing, “It is important for me to present the official Norwegian perspective and correct factual inaccuracies, that this film unfortunately portrays…I hope this film will be seen for what it is and I trust in the viewers to understand that this is a fictional representation”. He called cultural differences as the primary factor of the case as false.

Mukerji asserts that the film was not about villainising any country or any particular place. “The film clearly shows how it’s never the main people who are doing it, but people who are taking advantage of a system. But everybody is touchy about their own country and will try to defend. But more than that, it’s about watching the film and the story that actually happened,” she notes.

The mother of one also addresses the claim that it is a fictional account, stressing, “For somebody like me, who’s s an Indian citizen, what would I understand with my Indian government being involved with this? It can’t be a fictional story because my government helped getting the children united with the mother. So, by one person saying something, it’s not really going to affect the larger picture of the film that we wanted to make and the story that we wanted to put out.”

Given that the film has not just done well not only in India, but also in Norway, the 45-year-old adds, “It only goes to show that it’s not a film that’s really talking negatively about any country. It’s talking about this particular system that needs to be looked upon in a little more emotionally and sensitive manner.”

Even after over a decade, Sagarika has revealed that she’s still waiting for an apology from the Norwegian government for putting her through the traumatic experience. And Mukerji hopes that film will push for it.

“The film is celebrating Sagarika because where do you find this kind of a true-hero story? She showed courage, determination and didn’t give up,” says the actor, highlighting that another reason why audiences need to acknowledge this film is “because not many people thought it could do anything [in theatres] because of the fashionable word ‘OTT content’. But we believed in the film that it’s a theatrical watch, and will start a conversation. That’s why it being a theatrical success was very important for us.”

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