WHEN RANI WAS LITTLE KRISHNA
As a child, Rani Mukerji would play a variety of roles — from Krishna to a butterfly — at Durga Puja celebrations. On the occasion of Durga Puja, we do an exclusive photo shoot and chat with her about the festival, her career, and more.
What are your earliest memories of Durga Puja? When I was three and lived in a close-knit family, Durga Puja was a family affair. I used to perform on stage; all the kids from my family had to perform on stage. For Bengalis, it’s a must. I became a butterfly, and [another time] Lord Krishna… and also participated in so many of [Rabindranath] Tagore’s dance [dramas] at that age. The other early memory I have is of serving food; whoever came for the Mukerji family Puja was served bhog. The days nearing Durga Puja used to be like a family picnic. My parents also met for the first time during a Durga Puja and fell in love.
Do you miss the innocence? Yes, of course. Earlier, the charm was different… I remember I was playing baby Krishna once and started feeling itchy on the stage and scratched myself (laughs).
How much do you involve yourself in Durga Puja preparations now? I don’t, because from the time I started doing films, I couldn’t tell the producers, ‘Mujhe paanch din chutti do Durga Puja ke liye.’ So for the past 20 years, since I started doing films, sometimes I’d be out of India; sometimes, I’d be busy shooting [in India]. It has been 20 years in Bollywood for you. How has the journey been? It’s a lot of learning, because I hadn’t wanted to be an actor. So, to be completing 20 years, you can just imagine how much I must’ve learnt. I got an opportunity to work with Shah Rukh, Salman, and Aamir in my first three films. The kind of hard work I saw them do was very inspiring.
I used to perform on stage; all the kids from my family had to perform on stage. For Bengalis, it’s a must RANI MUKERJI, ACTOR