Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - Hindustan Times (Jaipur) - City - - Front Page - Prashant Singh

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

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