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Rani Mukerji: I will work till I’m 80

Updated on: 05 December,2023 05:35 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Upala KBR |

After highlighting Bollywood’s ageism on Koffee with Karan, Rani asserts that actors and filmmakers shouldn’t chase youth; credits audiences for accepting her in age-appropriate roles

Rani Mukerji: I will work till I’m 80

Rani Mukerji

What’s age got to do with acting? That’s the point Rani Mukerji highlighted in the recent episode of Koffee with Karan 8, as she briefly touched on the topic of ageism in Bollywood, even good-naturedly reprimanding filmmaker-host Karan Johar for not making mature love stories. While Hindi cinema has fortunately evolved from the days when female actors would be written off in their late 30s, it still has a long way to go when battling ageism. Leading the much-needed change are powerhouse performers like Mukerji, Kajol, Tabu, Vidya Balan and many more.

Mukerji, who shouldered a hit in Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway this year, says actors should not try to stop the clock and instead embrace their age. “It is important for artistes to not be delusional and believe that they’ll always be young. You can be young at heart, but to accept your age and roles that suit your age is also important for the audience to accept you,” she says. She believes the onus is on both filmmakers and actors to make movies that tell stories of different age groups. “I can play a college student today, but it needs to be a script about a mother going back to college much later in life, to justify that part.”

In her 27-year run in the industry, Mukerji has explored a spectrum of roles —from a college student in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), to a woman finding love outside of marriage in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006), and now, a mother to two in Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway. She credits the audience for enabling her to take on these varied parts without inhibition. “My audience has loved me over the years. They have helped me break the ageism barrier, and I promise I will work till I’m 80. An actor shouldn’t be judged by their age. When I fronted Hichki [2018], I played a 60-year-old in the last scene. So, there are challenges that an actor takes up to look older. But when an actor takes up the challenge to look younger, it’s ridiculed because you don’t want him/her to tell the audience, ‘I am young’. It is important to 
accept who you are, how you’re ageing, look after yourself and look good for the audience.”

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