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This article was first published 11 years ago

Rani Mukerji: I get attracted to smells, like body odour

Last updated on: September 22, 2012 14:56 IST

Image: Rani Mukerji
Sonil Dedhia in Mumbai

Looking fresh and pretty in an orange dress, Rani Mukerji sips some coffee and nibbles a biscuit before she starts the round of interviews for her upcoming film Aiyya.

Directed by first-time director Sachin Kundalkar, the film is a quirky and unusual love story about a Maharashtrian girl who falls in love with a Tamil guy because he smells good!

Rani talked easily to Sonil Dedhia about the film, learning belly dancing and lavani, and explained why tall, dark and handsome men are still preferred.

It's just been a year-and-a-half since your last film released, and Aiyya is already being termed your comeback film...

As an actor, I have always been working. No One Killed Jessica released in January last year.

Since the last day of my shooting for that film I knew that within two months, I had to start preparing for my role in Talaash. On the last day of the shoot of No One Killed Jessica, I also signed Aiyyaa.

Now both my films (Aiyyaa and Talaash) are ready for release. In one year getting ready for two films is not a very long time.

A girl in this industry is always questioned but a man is not questioned even if he gives a gap of two to three years. 

'The word 'Aiyyaa' has really gone into my system'

Image: Rani Mukerji

It took a lot of convincing from producer Anurag Kashyap to get you to agree to the film.

The script has always been the dominating factor for me. I had said yes to Anurag in principle but I was waiting for them to come up with a good script.

He introduced me to Sachin (Kundalkar, the director) and told me that he had done three Marathi films and showed me his short film. With that I decided I would like to work with the director. 

When was the last time that you had an Aiyyaa moment in your life?

I think my Aiyyaa moment was throughout the shooting of the film.

Whenever I found something interesting, maybe a dialogue or a scene, I would jump out of my seat and say 'Aiyyaa'.

The word 'Aiyyaa' has really gone into my system. (Laughs).

'I really loved the script'

Image: Rani Mukerji

The character you play falls for a man because of his smell. Personally, would you woo a man just because he smells good?

For me, it's about liking a person's personality.

When Sachin came and narrated me the script he told me that a girl falls in love with a guy because of his smell, which really caught my attention, and I really loved it.

Personally, I am someone who gets attracted to smells, especially body odour. My character in the film, Meenaxi Deshpande, has a heightened sense of smell and she is all for good smells.

'I never thought I would be an actress'

Image: Rani Mukerji

Have you ever wooed a guy in real life?

I didn't have that much time as I was in a girl's college. We did do a lot of masti and had lots of fun.

I never thought I would be an actress; it was on my mother's insistence that I became one.

Do you feel that the theory, that tall, dark and handsome men are attractive, still holds true?

I think it does. In India, there are more tall, dark and handsome guys than tall, fair and handsome ones.

We had people like Joy Mukherjee and Shammi Kapoor who were fair and handsome guys.

On the other hand tall, dark and handsome guys have always epitomised our heroes. Mithun Chakraborty personified that image and so has Amitabh Bachchan.

'Prithviraj behaved like a newcomer on the set'

Image: Rani Mukerji

This is Prithviraj's first Hindi film. How was your experience of working with him?

Prithviraj is a very intelligent and immensely hard working actor. He is unassuming despite being a superstar.

He is a superstar in Malayalam cinema and in spite of that he came with a mindset that he is going to forget the 80 films that he has done down south and is going to approach this film as his first film.

He behaved like a newcomer on the set. The endearing quality about him is that he became a part of the unit very quickly. 

Is it true that you googled Prithviraj when you came to know that he was cast opposite you?

Yes, I actually did that. I had never seen any of his films so Sachin told me to find out more about him.

I happened to see one of his interviews where he was wearing casual clothes and chappals, which left an impression on my mind.

'Now my focus is completely on acting'

Image: Rani Mukerji

Was it better to have a newcomer opposite you as it focused more attention on you?

The film is all about a Marathi girl who falls for a south Indian man.

Every girl whose parents are trying to get her married off will identify with my character in the film.

Even I, to some extent, identify with this character.

In a recent interview the director of the film Sachin Kundalkar said that you should write a script...

It is Sachin's opinion. I cannot deny what he said.

I am glad that a writer and director like him has given me such a big compliment.

But right now my focus is completely on acting.

'All these years in my career I have never danced in anybody's studio'

Image: Rani Mukerji

You are doing three item numbers. Are you making up for all the serious films you have done recently?

The music is the real hero of the film. The three songs are not actually item numbers. 

Item numbers are songs that are thrown into the narrative. In our case we already had the situations in the script.

All the three songs that you will see in the film are very much in sync with the film.

Amit Trivedi and Amitabh Bhattacharya had to just give us some great numbers, which they did. 

I had never done belly dancing before but I learnt it for this film. You will also see me doing a lavani.

The song Dreamum Wakepum has really caught on.

I went totally mad when I heard it for the first time. Sachin, Amitabh and I were at Amit's studio and we were looking for the right words.

The music was completely foot tapping and it was so good that I actually started doing an impromptu dance.

All these years in my career I have never danced in anybody's studio.