x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

It's a big year for Bollywood star Mukherjee

The Bollywood actress Rani Mukherjee has two potential blockbusters due out this year.

More so than Hollywood, career longevity for a Bollywood actress lies in her fan base.

Just as well, too, with so many films being produced, devotees could be more forgiving than film critics.

Such is the case for the 33-year-old Mumbai screen siren Rani Mukherjee, who has already clocked up more than 40 screen roles in a 16-year career.

Among those were hits - 1998's romantic Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and a critically acclaimed dramatic turn as a blind, deaf mute in 2005's Black - and misfires, including an ill-fated turn as the daughter of a drug dealer in the widely panned Bichoo, a Bollywood remake of Luc Besson's hit-man thriller Leon.

Mukherjee takes it all in her stride. In Abu Dhabi to launch the UAE's newest radio station Radio Mirchi, owned by Abu Dhabi Media, which also publishes The National, she explained her approach to choosing roles has helped her position as a fan favourite.

Last week she scooped another Filmfare award, for her role in the drama No One Killed Jessica.

"The script must touch my heart, somewhere it has to touch a chord with me in order for me to relate to the character in the film," she says.

"For me, I am an Indian girl and I want to know whether an Indian girl will relate with the character. For me, an Indian girl means those that are everywhere in the world and not only in India. I am talking about ones who have an Indian heart. When I pick a role I wonder whether they would relate to the character and that becomes very important.

Mukherjee was born to an artistic family: her father, Ram Mukherjee, is a retired director and the co-founder of Filmalaya Studios, while her mother, Krishna, was a Bollywood singer and touring artist.

It was Mukherjee's mother who persuaded her to enter the family business and take on her first role in 1997, playing a rape victim in Raja Ki Aayegi.

"It was my mother's dream and it was her persuasion that I took my first role and film," she recalls. "Then when I got into it, I got into it."

This year has a lot in store for Mukherjee, with two potential blockbusters to premiere.

The first is the psychological thriller Talash, where she stars alongside Amir Khan and Kareena Kapoor.

She is also excited about a quirky role in Aiyaa, a cultural comedy where she plays a Marathi girl who falls in love with a Tamil artist, played by the Malayalam film star Prithviraj.

"There are a lot of regional elements in the film," she says. "It's a beautiful, romantic story."


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