Rani Muk­erji says com­ing back to the sets af­ter a gap of two years made her re­alise that this is where she be­longs

HT Cafe - - Front Page - Prashant Singh n prashant.singh@htlive.com

Rani Muk­erji has been away from the big screen for a while. The ac­tor mar­ried film-maker Aditya Cho­pra in 2014, and af­ter she de­liv­ered her baby girl, Adira, in 2015, she has stayed away from the film world to play a real mother. Now, as the ac­tor gears up for the re­lease of first film since Mar­daani was re­leased in 2014, we catch up with her to talk about Adira, moth­er­hood, and more. At a re­cent event, you spoke about work­ing moth­ers. Also, you told us how it can be a great ex­am­ple for Adira to see her mum as a work­ing woman. I thought the ques­tion was a bit strange [at the event]. I was asked, ‘Do you feel guilty about leav­ing your child at home and go­ing to work?’ So, I replied, ‘Do men feel guilty when they leave their chil­dren and wives at home?’ That ques­tion is al­ways posed to a woman and not to a man. Why? Just be­cause the woman car­ries the baby and gives birth, is it [the child] only her re­spon­si­bil­ity? To­day, most homes have be­come nu­clear and peo­ple want to leave the joint fam­ily setup, so it’s im­por­tant for both the part­ners to work. It’s not like you shouldn’t have chil­dren just be­cause you have to work. Why is it still such a touchy topic even to­day? If stay­ing at home and rais­ing a child makes you happy, then that’s great. But there are women who like to work and, at the same time, want to raise their child too. You can’t ask a woman why she wants to work. In to­day’s day and age, I don’t think there should be any prob­lem [with this]. I had my mother and a great nurse to look af­ter my child. One has to do that, and I would love to make that sac­ri­fice [to give up on my ca­reer] if I was re­quired to, but this is my choice. I have spo­ken with so many women who say that they had to go back to work af­ter three months [of de­liv­ery], as they had no choice. Do you feel ac­tresses have been an easy tar­get? Yes, I feel they are an easy tar­get for this ques­tion. Peo­ple feel that we should stop lov­ing our craft just be­cause we are mar­ried. But if you love your work, ir­re­spec­tive of be­ing a man or a woman, you love your work for your en­tire life. For me, it is a nat­u­ral ex­ten­sion. I had my baby and took a two-year gap, but just be­ing on the set made me re­alise that this was where I be­long and I can’t be away from this. I might take a break, but this is who I am. Your in­di­vid­u­al­ity must re­main in­tact. It must not leave you just be­cause you have done some­thing new in your life. Has Adira started un­der­stand­ing the work that you do? No, but Adira does recog­nise me when she sees my pic­ture on the phone or in the pa­pers. Oth­er­wise, she is too young to un­der­stand th­ese things. How­ever, she re­mem­bers when some­one takes pic­tures with me. Once a se­cu­rity guard took a photo with me, so she told every­one, ‘Po­lice ne mamma ke saath photo liya’. I have no idea what she thinks of th­ese things. But she has un­der­stood the con­cept of pic­tures. Af­ter two years of be­com­ing a mum, has ev­ery­thing fallen into place for you by now? I am ex­pe­ri­enc­ing moth­er­hood for the first time. Maybe, I will plan more the sec­ond time around. I guess the first time, we are ner­vous and anx­ious about ev­ery­thing around the baby. When Adira was born, I be­lieved I had to be with my child ev­ery sec­ond and that she has to have my time. I wanted to be part of all the mile­stones that she achieves. There is a stage when your child has not reg­is­tered your voice or your face, and at that time, you can still bal­ance work and time with car­ing for a child. Now, it is get­ting more dif­fi­cult for me, since Adira wants me there [all the time]. And the at­tach­ment grows too. So, I have to plan it bet­ter now. I thought that when she grows up, things will be eas­ier for me, but it’s not (smiles).

Your hus­band is also a busy man. How do you two di­vide time for Adira? There have been times when I had to at­tend cer­tain com­mit­ments. For ex­am­ple, when my dad passed away, I was busy with his last rites. So, Adi had to be with the baby. Even on my dad’s chau­tha, Adi wasn’t with me, as he had to be at home with Adira. She needs one of us to be with her. He bal­ances it and also takes Sun­days off. On Sun­days, he takes her for a walk and comes back when it is time for her to sleep.

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