May 9, 2002 
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Rani Mukherji
Reinventing Rani
Checklist reads: fresh blood, new ideas

She had an unimpressive start in Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat . She has battled with comparisons with cousin Kajol.

Talent and expression can rarely be hidden under a bushel, and Rani Mukherji has made a mark for herself as one of the most dependable actresses. devoid of tantrums and controversies.

Today she is cast by filmmakers like Karan Johar (
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham) and Kamal Haasan (Hey! Ram) and actors like Anil Kapoor (Nayak - The Hero).

She shares a wonderful rapport with all the three Khans -- Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir. If that weren't enough, she has just completed Mujhse Dosti Karoge with Hrithik Roshan and Saathiya with Vivek Oberoi.

There's more in store, says Lata Khubchandani:

Rani Mukherji
What can you tell us about your next release, Milan Luthria's Chori Chori?

It is a very sweet film. No one expects much from it but everyone will enjoy it. It will release on May 17.

Tell us about your role.

I play a selfless girl, very giving. Her horoscope says she will spread happiness everywhere. She is just a simple girl craving for love. She wants to marry and belong to someone who will be good to her. And then she starts lying and becomes a con artiste. The whole thing backfires on her when she falls in love with someone she shouldn't.

You seem to be working a lot with debutant directors --- Kunal Kohli (Mujhse Dosti Karoge) and Shaad Ali (Saathiya)

Well, debutant directors always come up with new ideas. They are very enthusiastic and it is easy to work with them. Today the stakes are so high that it is nice when directors bring in fresh inputs.

Everyone is trying to set a trend today. And it is nice to work and interact with young, talented directors because your ideas get a different bent. Besides, they make films realistically.

Rani Mukherji
Saathiya was great fun because it was full of youngsters. Shaad Ali is very easy to work with. The film is a remake of Mani Ratnam's hit Alai Payuthey in Tamil. It is produced by Yash Chopra.

Sure, it is nice to work with experienced directors. They don't hassled if problems crop up --- they're used to it. Then again, it's fun working with newcomers who get stressed but take that in their stride. It's a great mix.

I want to work with people who are focussed --- that produces a good product, unlike other setups where you may work very hard but others may not share your goal.

How would you describe your rapport with your costars?

Excellent. I learn all the time. I gelled very well with Kareena Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan and Uday (Chopra). We have worked hard for Mujhse Dosti Karoge. We even had a new cameraman (Gopal Shah) from an advertising background. With so many newcomers around, I feel like one myself!

How cautious have you become about choosing films?

Well, I have become cautious. There is no fixed formula. Today audience sensibilities are sharp. You can't feed them rubbish. They want to watch good films. The script has to be appealling. Even if it is larger than life, it has to be realistic. Audiences have to identify with what you are showing.

Rani Mukherji
Though your work has been consistent, some of your films have not worked.

I am here to act to entertain and make good films. I don't want to work hard for a film which does not even get released. I will cooperate with my director and help him make a good film. I get disappointed if my co-actors don't put in as much as I do.

Today I am looking for banners and costars who have the same goal as me --- to work towards making a good film with dedication. I have made mistakes in my career, but that is just the learning process.

You don't seem to have too many films in the pipeline...

No. I haven't come across anything exciting. I have been listening to scripts every day. But I am waiting for the release of Chori Chori, Saathiya and Mujhse Dosti Karoge..


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