Rani Mukerji returns to the marquee with Talaash, and one of her earliest co-stars Aamir Khan.
The actress goes back in time, and tells Patcy N how both actors have changed since 1998's Ghulam, their first film together.
This is your third film with Aamir after Ghulam and Mangal Pandey. How much has he changed over the years?
I had crush on Aamir in school, after I watched Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. So when I actually did a film with him (Ghulam), I was very nervous. In most of the romantic scenes, I would look at his shoes because I couldn't look into his eyes -- I thought I would fall in love with him!
Now, he has become such a close friend that things have changed. Now, I can look into his eyes.
The only thing that has changed is that I was a newcomer then and today, I have 17 years (of experience) behind me. With years, the comfort level has increased.
'I have always treated myself as a student in front of two actors -- Aamir and Shah Rukh Khan'
Aamir gives a lot of inputs during the film's shooting. How do you take it?
I have always treated myself as a student in front of two actors -- Aamir and Shah Rukh Khan. It could be because I started my career with them.
When I work with them, I have a different attitude. I still look up to them and learn from them. So when they suggest something, it's important to take their suggestion because it's for my good.
Plus, there is always room for discussion.
'I have a soft corner for Salman, Shah Rukh and Aamir'
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
You have worked with all four Khans -- SRK, Aamir, Salman and Saif. Who you closest to?
In that case, I have worked with Amjad Khan's son Shadab Khan (Raja Ke Aayegi Baarat) and Faraaz Khan (Mehndi). I have worked with many Khans.
I have a soft corner for Salman, Shah Rukh and Aamir because I worked with them at a very impressionable age -- around 17 or 18 years.
How was the bonding with Kareena in Talaash?
Kareena and I worked together last in 2000's Mujhse Dosti Karoge. In the past 12 years, we have a lot of love and respect for each other though we have not worked with each other again or socialised together.
In this film, we don't have any scenes with each other so there wasn't much bonding.
'My work and dance was appreciated in Aaiyya'
Within a year, you had a hit (No One Killed Jessica) and a flop (Aaiyya).
I want all my films to be successful. I wouldn't want to be a part of any project that I think would flop. I want appreciation from my audience.
In Aaiyya's case, people did not come to the theatres, so it was a very sad situation for me.
I can't do anything about the story because the stories that appeal to me may not appeal to you. I liked Aaiyya's story but the audience didn't. But my work and dance was appreciated.
'I choose films that don't bore me'
'I would like to work with Sanjay Leela Bhansali'
Which director do you miss working with?
I would like to work with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, I had great time working with him (in Black and Saawariya). He makes good films.
Do you think Talaash will be remembered only for Aamir, and you will be sidelined?
I did Ghulam with Aamir, and still people remember as the Khandala girl. So wait for the release of Talaash and then decide.