IFFI 2023: Rani Talks About Prevalent Ageism in Films & More
Published On: 30 Nov 2023 Updated On: 30 Nov 2023
Rani Mukherjee, the Bollywood beauty has impressed the hearts of millions of people with her characters being in a huge spectrum, whenever she appeared on the big screen. It is said that she might be the only Bollywood actor to have a franchise of her own (Mardaani) which she effortlessly carries on her shoulders. Throughout her career, Rani Mukherjee has played different roles in different age groups, and never let herself be stuck into the so-called young roles of the film industry. She talked about the pervasive ageism that is long established in the entertainment industry and she never let that be a matter of concern for her while delivering her thoughts on a masterclass on ‘Delivering Compelling Performances’ at the 54th International Film Festival of India held at the Kala Academy in Panjim.
Rani Mukherjee says that the skill and the performance of an actor should not be evaluated on the basis of their age. Because the Indian Film Industry is an open cinema, the audience expects to watch young people on the screen each time as this is what compels the youth to go out and watch a cinema. It is equally important for an actor to not stay in the world of their own thinking and believing that they are going to be young forever. It is crucial that they accept their physical age and accept the roles that are suitable for their age, of course, while staying young at the heart. Another thing is that the audience must learn to accept the actors in those characters as well. Adding to the same, she said, “It has always been a conscious decision of mine to be able to give my audience something that will be palpable for them”.
When she was asked in conversation with Indian film critic and journalist, Baradwaj Ranganabout about how she effortlessly managed to stay the same over 27 years of her acting career and on top of that, managed to take up roles that were not necessarily suited for her age, she told them that it was how her audiences and fans accepted and loved her so far and that in fact that they were the one who helped Rani set herself free from the barrier of ageism. She further added that she is not going to quit till she reaches 80.
The gorgeous Bollywood beauty was last seen playing the role of a mother of two children in the movie Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway. Rani Mukherjee, 45 years old, again calls out the existing ageism in the industry where female actors are pressured to take upon certain roles or create a boundary after they have reached a certain age mark. Rani admits that taking up mother roles was nothing new or something to ponder upon in her career. She said how in her twenties she took the role of a mom in the movie ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ and even in the movie ‘Tara Rum Pum’ where she played the character of a mother of two. She highlighted and claimed the fact that she did not divert her attention toward the age factor but rather focused on giving justice to the character she has to play so the viewers pay attention to the character played by her and believe in it rather than the actor Rani Mukherjee herself.
The only thing Rani Mukherjee believed is that there must be a proper and valid justification provided about that role if the actor is made to play a certain age. To provide an example of what was mentioned, she said that if one day she is required to act as a college student, she can obviously play the role but along with that she also has to show that she is a mother in her forties who has probably decided to back to the college. This way, she wants to provide logical reasoning as to why an actor plays that particular role and what is the actor’s age in that specific part. She has previously played the role of a 60-year-old in the climax of the movie Hichki.
Speaking of that role, Rani talks about how it was challenging to take a role older than their age, which she did and succeeded in that. Similarly, it is equally challenging taking up younger roles than their actual age as it always gets ridiculed because the audience would not like the same actor to try and convince them that they are young. It is a significant thing for actors to accept who they are, how they are aging, how they are, and how they have to look good for the audience by taking good care of themselves. She continued by saying that the main focus of her life is to stay the same as she looked 20 years ago. She wants to proceed with maintaining a good lifestyle cause the audience who pay money and come to watch the film, expect to see good-looking faces as well. They do not wish to see worn-out or tired faces. This is why, Rani takes intervals and does her work. She hopes that the audiences who stayed by her side and helped her in the past 27 years continue to help in the same way for the next 27 years as well.
She motivated the young aspiring actors by saying to be themselves and they will shine like a diamond in the rock. In the eye of the public, Rani may come off as conservative but she revealed how she is all for women’s empowerment and she is called ‘today’s woman’ who is largely trying to portray strong and powerful women characters in Indian cinema, especially for the world to witness. Through ‘Dil Bole Hadippa,’ a movie where Rani’s character is supposed to stick a beard on her face every morning, she starts to develop a respect for men who not only grow a beard but also groom them regularly. Whereas, with the film ‘Black’ where Rani’s character lost her ability to hear and her eyesight, she learned to be grateful for the basic things in life that are often overlooked.
Just like her name implies, Rani, once again captured the hearts of millions with her words like a queen at IFFI 2023.
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