There’s no doubt that Lagaa Chunri Mein Daag, is one of the most-awaited films of this year for various reasons. One, after the huge success of Chak De India, it’s the next film from Yash Chopra’s camp. Second, this film will bring together one of the hottest on-screen pair after, Bunty Aur Babli. Not only do Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee make a great sizzling couple on screen, but the duo were also touted as the next couple in tinselville, till Abhishek tied the knot with Aishwarya Rai. Part of this film, was shot after Abhi’s wedding and it will be good to see whether the screen chemistry between them is still as strong. And third, of course, is the director himself, Pradeep Sarkar, who has earlier made the much-acclaimed Parineeta. The film has been shot in Varanasi and also stars Konkona Sen Sharma, Kunal Kapoor amongst others.
Rani Mukherjee is terribly upset with her good-friend-gone-bad Aishwarya Rai. If sources are to be believed, Aishwarya passed some not-so-appreciative remarks about Rani’s excessive make-up, on the sets of Lagaa Chunari Mein Daag in Switzerland.
Sources close to Rani inform that the actress is still miffed. Speculations are rife that her association with the Bachchan family may sever. Crewmembers from the sets of Lagaa Chunari Mein Daag inform that Jaya Bachchan also gave Rani the cold shoulder. “Rani may be maintaining a dignified silence but she is extremely hurt. Firstly, Jayaji completely ignored her on the sets. Secondly, Ash was extremely rude to her during our Switzerland schedule,” says the source.
What comes as a surprise is that Rani and Aishwarya were bosom pals till Shah Rukh Khan‘s production, Chalte Chalte came their way. The story goes that Rani used to consult Ash on matters of appearances, endorsements and films. However, she didn’t inform Ash about taking up Chalte Chalte, after the former walked out of the film. A source close to Ash informs, “Ash felt betrayed when Rani didn’t tell her about Chalte Chalte. Ash was going through a bad patch then because of her break-up with Salman. Later she got to know through a common friend that Rani has replaced her.”
Rani has been fuming over Ash’s comments and telling friends that she is going to break her silence only at the right time. A source close to Rani, on condition of anonymity, says, “She is maintaining a dignified silence only because of Amitabhji and Abhishek. She is very fond of them and doesn’t want to hurt them.”
Rani Mukherjee was not available for a comment. When quizzed about it, brother Raja Mukherji said, “I don’t know about it.”
Rani Mukherjee seldom steps out of her cocoon these days. She hardly gives any interviews, lets controversies die a slow death rather than talking about them and sidesteps unpleasant questions with a pleasant smile. But, during her recent interview, Rani chose to break a few of her own rules.
To start with, she was dressed in a business suit rather than her customary sari. And then, she was ready to talk. So, what has been keeping Bollywood‘s Babli busy? “My work and my niece,” she smiles,”But, life is lovely. And, I’m doing some good work.”
And, how does she take controversies surrounding her, especially about her “marriage” with Aditya Chopra? “India is a democratic country and I can’t set limits for others. This is something everybody has to decide for themselves. Everybody has a right to have their opinion, but they should stay within their limits. However, I don’t want to pass judgment on others… as long as they can sleep peacefully at night after doing such things in the day!” she says.
As Rani puts a full stop on the issue, it is time to move on to other questions. Like all Indians, Rani is looking forward to Independence Day. And, how does she celebrate? “I stay at home and listen to patriotic songs. I know it might sound funny, but it makes me feel very proud.”
Just because glamorous people smoke cigarettes, doesn’t make smoking glamorous. That’s the constant refrain in Rani Mukherjee‘s household these days.
We’ve heard that mom Krishna Mukherjee has been coaxing daughter Rani to quit smoking.
Although not a regular smoker, the story goes that Rani hankers for cigarettes every morning. Apparently the actress believes a smoke gives the much-needed boost to the bowel movement.
Recently, a hassled Rani was heard telling her fellow colleagues on the sets of Laaga Chunari Mein Daag about her mommy’s constant rants about the unhealthy effects of smoking.
Nevertheless, Rani chooses to ignore mamma’s advice and continues to secretly smoke in the loo. A close friend of the actress says, “Rani needs a smoke every morning. It helps her overcome irregular bowel movements. She did try to give up smoking several times but her efforts only caused her serious indigestion.”
The constant nagging has now led the actress to hide her quota of cigarettes in unsuspecting corners of her room. She is also armed with mouth fresheners and deodorants whenever she grabs a cigarette.
When we tried speaking to Krishna Mukerji about Rani’s habit, she said, “No. Rani doesn’t smoke. Who told you about this?”
Talking about trying to instill all the right habits in her daughter, Krishna has also reprimanded Rani about her eating habits. The daughter-mother duo has had frequent fights over ‘rice plates’ too in the past. If Rani had her way, she would wolf down heaps of rice for every meal. But mommy Krishna fears that the flab which comes along with rice will make Rani lose out on the plum film offers… She’s right, of course.
If sources are to be believed, thinking heads at Yashraj Films are facing ‘a moral question’. Aditya Chopra and director Pradeep Sarkar are hesitant about Rani Mukherjee‘s portrayal of a sex worker in Lagaa Chunari Mein Daag. Going by the plot, Rani hails from a respectable middle-class family living in a small town. City life lures her and eventually, falling on bad times, she turns to flesh trade for a living. The makers feel that Rani’s journey, from a middle-class woman to a sex worker (in the film), may not go down well with the audiences. In fact, a middle-class woman being portrayed as a sex-worker has always been a strict no-no.
Also, recent box-office letdowns (read Tara Rum Pum and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom) has prompted Aditya to mull over the script yet again before the film makes its way to the editing table. Says our source from the production house, “We don’t know how kindly the viewers are going to take to the fact that a woman from a middle-class family becomes a sex worker in times of crisis. Surely, we are giving it a thought. After the Jhoom Barabar Jhoom debacle we want to play it safe.”
Although a good measure of mother-daughter relationship has been thrown into the film, it doesn’t solve the problem. The plot essentially focuses on Rani’s predicament in a big bad city. Adds another source, “The basic premise highlights Rani’s plight after she leaves her home town in hope of a better life.”
The creative team behind the film already has had a few meetings. Says a crew member on condition of anonymity, “Yashraj films are always meant for family viewing. We don’t want to outrage our viewers’ sensibilities. Saying so, we can’t have any last minute changes as the film has been mostly shot. We intend to release the film in September.”
Incidentally Rani Mukherjee plays a sex worker in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Saawariya too. So, there is also that question of repetition, which Yashraj Films is not too happy about.
The team may or may not make changes in Rani’s character, but, they are definitely trying to change the look of the film. As Yashraj production has always come up with different concept in each of their films, they plan to do it this time too.
For those who were waiting to see deathly tension to erupt on the sets of Pradeep Sarkar’s Laga Chunri Mein Daag after what’s widely been labelled the wedding snub, there was disappointing news. There were absolutely no cold vibes between Rani Mukerji and Abhishek Bachchan when he returned two work after a two month break.
“How can there be?” says a close friend of both the stars. “Rani and Abhishek have done four films. They’re seen as the new Amitabh-Jaya pair. And forget that. They’re so comfortable with each other. Yes, not being invited to the wedding did hurt Rani. She always thought of the Bachchans as a part of her extended family and hoped they considered her the same. Initially, she was upset about not being invited. But the minute she met Abhishek last week after all grievances dissolved instantly.”
Rani and Abhishek are back having fun on the sets as though nothing has happened.
“Nothing about Abhishek has changed after marriage. He’s still a major prankster filled with masti. When Rani realised this, she immediately dropped her defences. The party spirit that prevails every time Abhishek is around is back. The set for Laga Chunri Mein Daag resembles a picnic spot,” says the source.
Joining the revellery are Kunal Kapoor and Konkona Sensharma. “In fact Abhishek has known both the director Pradeep Sarkar and Kunal for years. Abhishek often jokes that he wants to be as thin as Kunal,” says the source.
The buzz on the sets of Laga Chunri… is that Abhishek hasn’t changed one bit. “Marriage hasn’t made him less bratty. It would take a lot more than marriage to the most beautiful woman in India to change Abhishek,” jokes Abhishek’s buddy.
For the past few days a shadow of anxiety has been looming over the Yash Chopra house. The big boss is evading the media for fear of being asked uncomfortable questions related to his son Aditya. Speculation is rife over the lowkey director’s marriage to actress Rani Mukherjee and also about problems between father and son.
It was left to Pamela Chopra, Yash’s wife and Aditya’s mother, to clear the air. In an exclusive chat with BT, Pam said the phones at home haven’t stopped ringing, and ironically all queries are related to the father-son estrangement and Adi’s marriage. “My bhabhi called up and cried inconsolably. She told me Yash ko sambhalna. They have all started believing that there’s some problem between my husband and son. And that’s upsetting me. Let me make it clear, Adi will do anything for his father and vice versa. Their love is so strong that nothing can come between them, not even me,” said Pam confidently.
She next denied that there was a rokka ceremony performed between Aditya and actress Rani Mukherjee. “It’s absolute nonsense. At least it’s not happened at the Chopra house,” she confirmed. Rumours about Rani (a Yash Chopra camp favourite) and Adi started during the making of Veer Zara. Pam attributes these reports to the imagination of certain people. “Now the Abhiash wedding and John-Bipasha romance has died down, people need something to gossip about. And they have found this,” she said.
Pam emphasised that Aditya lives with her and Yash. And that their son’s happiness is of immense importance to them. “If he has chosen to marry Rani, we have absolutely no problem, we will welcome whoever he gets home,” she said, adding, “We are fond of Rani, she is a sweet girl, and I am also close to her mother. ” Talking of Aditya’s first wife Payal, Pam said, “Payal is very much here. She is the interior designer of the studio. And contrary to reports, Adi and Payal had a love marriage, it was not arranged by us.” Will Aditya’s Mohabbatein for his lady love come true and will he sing Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (his debut film)… only time will tell. Rani, who was shooting at Yashraj for Laaga Chunri Mein Daag, was unavailable for comment.
The reigning queen of tinselville, Rani Mukherjee has always been a suburban girl, what with the actress having lived all her life in the cozy suburbs of Mumbai. Many of her South-Mumbai friends asked her to move down-town, but Rani wouldn’t budge from the comfort zone of her lovely suburban home. Well, the Mumbai roads have drastically changed (for the worse) and so has Rani’s preference (for the better). Lately she’s been travelling town-wards so often for work and pleasure, that she’s started liking it more than she ever did. It’s a welcome break from the honking of rickshaws and the ruckus caused by street vendors. Who knows… Rani may just move into a Malabar Hill apartment soon. But we need a sky-rise high enough to house the Queen Bee of Bollywood, what say?
If anyone were to see Rani Mukherjee now, they’ll surely be stunned. While she was basking in the limelight all year through with a string of awards from all quarters, the lady has managed to knock off all the little extra weight we saw on her. Yeah, she’s back to the shapely body she sported in Chalte Chalte, and Rani’s never looked so fit and slim ever before. Compliment her on it, and she turns towards Karan Johar and says, “This man has made me do it. Tell me, when Karan tells me to slim down, what do I do? So I just trimmed down.” As far as Rani is concerned, it’s anything for friends. So what’s a little weight?