'Now that I have a new family, I cannot leave my old family behind.'
IMAGE: Rani Mukerji in Hichki.
Rani Mukerji went through the usual anxiety of a mother when she started Hichki after Adira's birth. But she's confident that her daughter will be proud of her working parents one day.
The actor said it was her film-maker husband Aditya Chopra who wanted her to get back to the sets.
"I had this anxiety about leaving my daughter at home because it was going to be a new environment for her. She is not going to see me for a few hours, which she is used to. It is a dilemma that every working mother goes through where you face this anxiety," Rani told Press Trust of India.
"The child will soon get used to it. I am sure Adira will understand that both her parents leave home for work. It will be normal and something she will be proud of," she says.
IMAGE: Rani with her daughter Adira. Photograph: Pradeep Bandekar
In India, many working women leave their jobs after they embrace motherhood, but Rani believes things are changing now as fathers are getting more involved in the upbringing of their children.
"People are still not ready to accept it. It is a hesitation that they need to overcome. Obviously, a child is more attached to the mother. But now, fathers are also getting involved," she says.
Indian society, she says, needs to do away with the stigma attached to men contributing in household chores and child rearing.
"When we expect that men should go out and work, those men should also be encouraged to participate in housework. But they are discouraged from doing it. It is a mental block that we need to overcome," she says.
Her husband, who runs Yash Raj Films -- one of Bollywood's biggest movie studios -- was instrumental in her return.
"As a director-producer, he understands that I also have a responsibility towards the people who have given me so much love and adoration. Now that I have a new family, I cannot leave my old family behind. I have to stay in touch with my fans," says Rani.
"It is a part of me which I cannot separate from," she adds.
2017 saw a lot of debate about feminism in the motion picture business abroad and in India.
"It should start at home," says Rani. "The day every woman starts to make a difference in the house, a change will come in the country."
"You can't bring about change by just talking about feminism. If a wife decides not to put up with her husband's injustice, things will start to change."