Photographs: Jayanta Shaw/Reuters Lata Khubchandani, careers360
Rani, of the amber-coloured eyes, has grown from a childlike girl to an actress with a wider perception of cinema.
Rani Mukerji started her film career with Raja Ki Ayegi Baraat in 1997 and went on to bag hits like Ghulam and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai the following year.
She has bagged Filmfare awards for her performance in films like Black, Saathiya, Hum Tum and Yuva.
Over the years, the actress displayed her versatility through films like Bunty Aur Babli, Black and No One killed Jessica.
Here, the actress talks about her school days, acting experiences and offers tips to cinema aspirants.
What kind of a student were you in school and college?
Born and brought up in Mumbai, I studied in Maneckji Cooper school and was a good student, very obedient.
My teachers used to love me. So I definitely must have been doing something right because I was always in their good books!
'Every star wants to become better for his fans'
What were your favourite subjects?
History and English literature.
Which teacher do you remember the most and why?
Mrs. Dadarkar, who taught me English and History and Mrs. Vakil, who taught me Geography. I loved them because once they taught me I didn't feel the need to refer to my books, the topics were just embedded in my brain.
When did you decide that acting was what you wanted to do?
Pretty recently. I got into films because of my mother's persuasion but after I started making films at some point I realised that this is what I wanted to do.
What was the moment that made you realise?
It was when I understood that being an actor is a much bigger responsibility. You become part of peoples' households, they love you, and want you to become a bigger star and every star wants to become better for his fans. This relationship made me understand that what I was doing was better than I had supposed.
'Today acting's a respected profession'
Photographs: Rediff Archives
How did you get your break?
It just fell into my lap, it was the film Raja Ki Ayegi Baraat by Salim uncle (Khan).
What advice would you give to acting aspirants?
Today, entering films is more like a career opportunity; you can study acting, just like editing and writing, Many become assistant directors and learn hands-on. Today, youngsters can choose. Earlier it was done due to influence or via theatre. Today it's a respected profession, parents don't look down upon it.
Which profession is better -- one that you love or one that pays better?
One that you love because when you work at something you love you want to better yourself but if you work for the pay cheque then you stagnate and you'll never find out how much you can excel at your job.
What did you do with your first paycheck?
I don't know; it went to my parents.
Joys of your profession?
The biggest joy I get is from my fans around the world, the relationship you build with your fans.
Do you have to be born an actor or can you learn?
You can learn; that's why you improve as you go along.