IFFI 2023: Rani Mukerji proves she is queen of hearts

Bollywood beauty is today’s woman who loves playing strong women characters
Bollywood actress Rani Mukerji at the In Conversation session during the 54th IFFI on Sunday.
Bollywood actress Rani Mukerji at the In Conversation session during the 54th IFFI on Sunday.Photo: Rohan Fernandes

Bollywood actress Rani Mukerji carries her smile with aplomb and that's the best accessory she wears. And not to forget her raspy voice that had the audience hooked to every word she said on Sunday morning at the In Conversation session during the ongoing 54th International Film Festival of India.

The actress was In Conversation with Indian film critic and journalist, Baradwaj Rangan at the session titled, ‘Delivering Compelling Performances’, held at the Kala Academy in Panjim.

Bollywood actress Rani Mukerji at the In Conversation session during the 54th IFFI on Sunday.
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When it comes to celebrities, one does not always know what to expect. And, that’s what happened at Kala Academy as the audience keenly watched Rani Mukerji walk on to the stage. It was as if she hadn’t aged a day since ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai,’ which was shot in the year 1998!

Adorned in an elegant ethnic outfit, timeless beauty is only one of the many things that Rani brought along to IFFI. “Just be yourself, and you will be special,” she began, as she advised aspiring actors.

Rani's message to new actors is "just be yourself."
Rani's message to new actors is "just be yourself." Photo: Rohan Fernandes

Not everybody knows when to let go of their youth, but as for Rani, ageing gracefully is a concept that she has not only accepted and practiced, but she also urges other actors to do so when saying ‘yes’ to a role.

Although she is all for breaking the barrier of ageism, Rani believes that in order to be accepted by the audience, one must not only look the part, but be realistic about the age that they are asked to play.

Bollywood actress Rani Mukerji at the In Conversation session during the 54th IFFI on Sunday.
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“I have tried to not give importance to the age factor of the character that I’m playing, but rather focused on doing justice to the role that I played. The trick is not to live in delusion and believe that you are always going to be young. It is okay to be young at heart, but accepting your age and accepting roles that make logical sense and suit your age is also important for the audience to accept you,” said Rani, who is positive that she will work even up to the age of 80.

It is okay to be young at heart, but accepting your age and accepting roles that make logical sense and suit your age is also important for the audience to accept you

Rani Mukerji

When it comes to compelling roles, diversity in characters is one thing that she looks out for. Although initially skeptical, acting is something that came to Rani very naturally. 

She also spoke about how her films, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna and Hum Tum were pathbreakers of that era. “Sometimes you might not always get the audience that you want, but it is important to always stand by strong films and Indian cinema that will be remembered to have been ahead of its time,” she said.

Rani is all for women empowerment.
Rani is all for women empowerment. Photo: Rohan Fernandes

Although people may think that Rani is conservative, she revealed how she is all for women empowerment and is what we can call a, ‘today’s woman,’ who loves playing strong women’s characters and has also very consciously always tried to portray Indian women as strong and powerful figures, especially for the rest of the world to see.

“Versatility is very important to me, it shows one the different facets of different people,” she explained, adding how every story is about its characters.

Bollywood actress Rani Mukerji at the In Conversation session during the 54th IFFI on Sunday.
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Through her film, Dil Bole Hadippa, where her character demanded that she stick a beard to her face every morning, she developed a new-found respect for men that not only grow beards, but groom them regularly.

And through her film Black where her character had lost her eyesight and hearing, Rani learnt to be grateful for the basic things in life that we often take for granted. And, just like her name suggests, once again, Rani proved to be the queen of hearts at IFFI.

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