“You can’t run away from love” – Rani Mukherjee

The chirpy Rani Mukherjee isn’t her usual self. She is down with a bout of flu and her voice cracks as she speaks. Yet the petite actress agrees to a freewheeling interview. She is most candid about all the controversies that have swirling around her for a while now.

Q: Are you excited about your forthcoming film Bas Itna Sa Khwab Hai?

A: Obviously.

Q: Your pairing with the junior Bachchan looks a little odd. Doesn’t it?

A:  The audience is quite used to watching tall heroes romancing on-screen with a petite heroine, for instance, Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan. I think we look great together. Abhishek and I got along famously. It was terrific working with him.

Q: Weren’t you in awe of him?

A: Ideally you should be asking him this question. I’m senior to him. Actually he should be in awe of me.

Q: Was turning town a film offer from an icon like Mani Ratnam a wise move?

A: It was sheer bad luck that I couldn’t accommodate his film. I just didn’t have the required dates. It would have been a good experience working with him but unfortunately it didn’t happen. Well, there’s always a next time!

Q: Is it true that both your parents quoted an exorbitant price to him, which infuriated Mani Ratnam no end?

A: I want to know who goes around spreading such baseless rumours! Look, I do admit that my parents handle the money part of my profession but ultimately it’s me who decides on the films I want to do. I’ve already explained what went wrong between Mani Ratnam and me. Besides, I’m busy doing a lot of other films that leaves me with very little time to accommodate other filmmakers.

Q: Haven’t you lost a lot of weight?

A: I have shed a lot of weight. But, believe me I’m neither exercising nor dieting. I guess, it’s all happened because I’ve been working round the clock.

Q: Does it upset you when your vital statistics are given more importance than your acting capabilities?

A: No it doesn’t affect me. If I’m not mistaken, a magazine had even referred to me as haathi mere saathi. It’s a free country, and everyone has a right to express himself.

Q: Is that how you also react to your alleged affair with Govinda?

A: Affair? Wasn’t I supposed to be married to him? I wish people would stop talking about us. Chi Chi and I are very good friends. What people say or make of it does not affect our friendship. Even my family is unaffected because they know where I am and what I’m up to at any given point in time. Besides I love the media because it has been very nice to me. I’d never ruin my relationships with anyone be it the media or my co-stars.

Q: Are you happy with the way your career is shaping up?

A: Yeah! I’m growing everyday. Working with different directors and co-stars, travelling to various places and interacting with diverse people helps in widening my thinking and broadening my horizons.

Q: How important is appreciation to you?

A: I’m human, so compliments definitely make me happy. Criticism is equally essential because it keeps me on my toes.

Q: Healthy criticism helps in making you a better performer and human being. Which of the two takes precedence?

A: Both! In your personal life it’s important to be a good human being. Professionally, being a good human being helps but eventually it’s your performance on screen that counts. One is happy in life only when both your career and personal life are running smoothly.

Q: What’s your understanding of love?

A: Love should bring happiness not sorrow, to the couple. Also there should be a level of maturity between them.

Q: Have you ever fallen in love?

A: You can’t run away from love. At a particular age one does fall in love. Of course I’ve been in love. It’s the best thing in the world. However, you have to be sensible enough to realize that a couple of other things also accompany love — responsibility for one

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