I am finally getting recognition: Rani Mukherjee

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS

imageMumbai, Feb 22 (IANS) Rani Mukherjee is happy at the way "Black" has shaped up and got her recognition as an actress.

"I'm glad people are finally recognizing me," says the actress praised for her portrayal of a deaf and blind girl in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film.

"Now the media is acknowledging my hard work. I'm being rewarded in a very big way," Rani told IANS in an interview.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: I've never seen you more content!

A: I'm so glad I'm part of "Black". Frankly when I saw myself on screen I couldn't believe it was me! I'd be transformed the minute I'd get into Michelle's clothes and lens.

A lot of films are well made. But "Black" teaches us a very important lesson of life. I think we artistes tend to take faculties like hearing and seeing for granted. But what about someone who doesn't have these basic functions?

When I heard the script I was bowled over by the layers in it. Once I was into it I really enjoyed working with Sanjay. It's very important for me to jell with the person I'm working with. I don't want to work with people who have a problem with life.

Q: Directors don't get any better than Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

A: I feel sorry for directors who rest on their laurels. Let others call you a genius. You should never think so for yourself. It's god and the audience who make an artiste special. What, I think, is truly remarkable about Sanjay is how observant he is on the sets. While joking and fooling around he keeps looking at you and incorporates your behaviour in the shots. He makes his actors so comfortable and special you've to give your best shot.

Q: 2004 and now 2005 have been decisive for you?

A: I'm glad people are finally recognising me. For too long people who loved me felt dejected when at every awards function I'd give awards. Now I'm finally getting them. Now the media is acknowledging my hard work. I'm being rewarded in a very big way. More than me it's my family that is excited.

Q: Do you think playing such a role so early in your career has handicapped you?

A: It would be very unfair to compare "Black" with any other film. I can't do a role of a handicapped person. It'd look like a carryover of "Black". Every film is a new experience for me. I respect my work too much to act superior about other films. "Black" is a kind of film that comes once in a lifetime. Even Sanjay can't make it again. Maybe my comfort level with other directors isn't as high as it is with Sanjay. But I enjoy doing everything on camera.

Yes, "Black" has put a lot of responsibility on my career. But I can't be serious about my future. I take what comes to me. Even "Black" was made under very light and enjoyable circumstances.

Q: The other actresses feel mighty threatened by what you've done in "Black".

A: To be very honest, I don't look at the competition. For me my family is the most important thing after my work. After shooting I return straight to them. I don't plot and plan my career.

I've learnt to be conscientious about my work from my father. It has served me well. I never planned to be in "Black". I didn't enter Sanjay's dream and ask him to sign me. He must have seen my body of work.

Likewise my other directors. Yash Chopra and Aditya signed me for "Saathiya" at a time when my career wasn't getting anywhere. If they hadn't come forward I'd not have moved forward. It's entirely up to the directors to bring out your abilities.

Q: Are you happier than ever before?

A: Absolutely! There're so many people who believed in me. Javed Akhtar saab says when people praise me he feels they're praising him! And what about Diya Mirza? Three years ago when at an awards function she said she looked up to me everyone laughed at her. Cynics said I wasn't even in the running.

Today I feel at least I haven't let Diya down. I feel directors like Karan Johar, Aditya Chopra and Sanjay Bhansali cast according to suitability. If they think of me I must be special. Likewise if a director thinks I don't suit a role I immediately accept. Don't forget I'm a director's daughter.