When Rani Mukerji didn't think she could be a 'heroine': I'm short with wheatish complexion

Mar 21, 2023 07:15 AM IST

Rani Mukerji, who turns 45 on March 21, had once said that she didn't feel she could be an actor. She thought her physical attributes would stand in the way.

Rani Mukerji, who turns 45 on March 21, made her acting debut in 1996, but it took her until 1998 when she broke out in the mainstream. She was directed by her father Ram Mukherjee in the Bengali film Biyer Phool and made her Hindi debut with Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat. In 1998, her performances in both Ghulam and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai established her as one of the top female actors of the time, especially after she won the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress for the latter. But when she started out, Rani did not believe she was the type to become a heroine like her idols Sridevi and Rekha. Also read: Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor pose with Rani Mukerji ahead of her birthday: 'Rani ke do Anmol Ratan'

Rani Mukerji in a still from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.
Rani Mukerji in a still from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.

It was her mother's idea to join the film industry. The actor's voice was initially dubbed over in Ghulam. Furthermore she felt her petite stature might be a hindrance in getting future roles. But eventually, the actor got the support of her colleagues like Aamir Khan and even Kamal Haasan who advised her to keep moving forward in her acting career nevertheless.

In a 2021 interview with India Today, Rani had shared, "I never thought I fit into the heroine category in the typical sense. I am actually the opposite of a heroine. I am quite short in height, my voice is not heroine-friendly, the complexion of my skin is wheatish. I think when I started, I never believed I could be an actor. I grew up watching Sridevi, Juhi, Madhuri and Rekha ji, who were these screen goddesses and I never imagined myself up there with them."

She added, "As my journey began, I spoke to many stalwarts with whom I had the opportunity to work. One of them was Mr Kamal Haasan and actors like him told me that you can’t measure your success by the height of your physical standing, but by the heights of how much you can grow professionally. So I sort of broke all those stereotypical conventions that an actress was put into in my initial days of Bollywood journey."

Rani's latest film is Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway, directed by Ashima Chibber. In the drama, inspired by true events, the actor plays a mother in a foreign country who has to fight for the custody of her young children when the government takes them away from her.

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