In 1997, when the top-grossing Bollywood films were a mix of fluffy romantic comedies and maudlin love triangles, a barely 20-year-old Rani Mukerji made her Hindi film debut playing a rape victim who is asked to marry her tormentor and faces innumerable challenges in her quest for dignity.
Remembering that and the other films where she played a strong female character, a newly married Mukerji told India Insight she likes to strike a balance between what she calls substantial roles and those written only for entertaining fans. Her latest film “Mardaani,” (“Masculine”) produced by her producer husband, sees Mukerji in the role of a tough police officer out to bust a child-trafficking ring.
“I have always tried to portray strong women in all the films that I have done because I do feel that when people see movies they get very moved and they do feel inspired,” she said about the roles that she prefers.
That said, Mukerji does not agree that Bollywood or films in general should take responsibility for what messages people take from films.
“In the creative field you will make different kinds of movies. So with this film we are expecting that women will get motivated to probably bring out the mardaani in them. At the same when somebody is making an out-and-out comedy, an out-and-out masala film, you don’t know what a person might take from it. So how can you be responsible for each and every citizen who comes and watches a film?” she said in response to criticism of the film industry after recent cases of violence against women.