B’day girl Rani Mukerji delighted with global appreciation to her realistic performance in ‘Mrs Chatterjee vs. Norway’ — by Chaitanya  Padukone     

When versatile star-lead actress Rani Mukerji celebrated her Birthday yesterday evening with (only a select section of the paparazzi) on home-grounds at YRF Studios ( Mumbai) it was positively  different from previous years. This time she evidently got her B’Day gift in the form of her ardent fans and theatre-audience appreciative-responses. News-reports were flowing  in, of the global appreciation ( including Norwegian citizens and NRIs)  of  her intense, realistic performance in just-released movie Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway. Where Rani has effectively portrayed the intense emotions a frustrated, yet gutsy, daring, rebel mother fighting bravely to re-gain the custody of her children taken away by the foreign Govt. authorities.  Not just Pan-India, even NRIs and foreign audiences are highly appreciating Rani’s realistic performance on screen. Complimenting Rani, I had told her in my previous recent meeting with her at YRF studios, that  her intense performance as Mrs Debika Chatterjee was a brilliant fusion of  rebel ‘Mother Norway’ and emotional ‘Mother India’ and  would definitely be nominated for the National Film Awards and Filmfare Awards and she is most likely to win the Awards. She gracefully smiled and thanked me.

B’day girl Rani Mukerji (1) Hon’ble Norwegian Ambassador to India Hans Jacob Frydenlund who has  now reacted to the movie has been calling it ‘factually incorrect.’ Sharing a screenshot of  article-piece for a leading Indian daily morning newspaper , Hans tweeted, “It incorrectly depicts Norway’s belief in family life and our respect for different cultures. Child welfare is a matter of great responsibility, never motivated by payments or profit. #Norwaycares.” In the article written by  Hans he has stated that given Rani Mukerji’s awesome acting ability, it is tough to be unmoved by it, and movie-goers may walk out of the theatres, thinking of Norway as an uncaring country”. Criticising the movie makers for a negative portrayal of Norway, Hans said that the cultures of the two countries might be different but human instincts are the same. “A mother’s love in Norway is no different from a mother’s love in India,” stated the Norwegian Ambassador to India adding that it is important for him to put forward the Norwegian perspective.  Hans stated that the film has ‘factual inaccuracies’ and the story is a ‘fictional representation of the case’ and that he needs to put forth the ‘Norwegian perspective’.He said that in the film, cultural differences (between India and Norway) have been shown as the primary factor in the case, which is ‘completely false’. He also ‘categorically’ denied that ‘feeding with hands and sleeping on the same bed would be the reason for placing in alternative care’.  Giving his own example, Hans stated, “as a father of three, I have beautiful memories of the time my children were growing up, of feeding them with my hands, of reading bedtime stories to them as they cuddled and slept in the same bed with us

Rani Mukerji crying in Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway.avif

However Sagarika Chakraborty, whose life (and book The Journey Of A Mother) inspired Rani Mukerji’s Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway, posted a statement condemning the Norwegian ambassador after he alleged that the film has many factual inaccuracies. Sagarika said in her response, “I condemn the false statement by the Norwegian ambassador in the papers today. He spoke about my case without even having any decency to ask me.” Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway follows the story of an Indian immigrant couple whose two children are removed from the family by the Norwegian Child Welfare Services, allegedly due to cultural differences. Sagarika further said, “When the whole world can see the beautiful bond between my children and me, the Norwegian government continues to spread lies against me “Till today, they have not apologized for the racism of their care workers. They destroyed my life and my reputation, traumatised my children and supported my husband when he was cruel to me and they call themselves a feminist country.” Talking about the response to the film, Sagarika added, “In Oslo (Norway) and other provinces of Norway and worldwide people are very eager to watch this film and all the tickets are sold out. People are coming from Norway and other countries and they all want to meet me. At last but not the least, the Indian Government had helped me a lot and will also help other families in the future. Jai Hind.”

The film’s co-producer Nikkhil Advani also shared a statement on the matter. “‘Atithi Devo Bhava!’( Guests are like God)  is a cultural mandate in India. Every Indian is taught that by our elders. Last evening, we hosted the Norwegian Ambassador and volunteered to show him our film ‘Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway’.””Post the screening, I sat quietly watching him admonish two strong women who have chosen to tell this very important story. I was quiet because just like Sagarika Chakraborty, they don’t need me to fight for them and “culturally” we do not insult our guests,” the co-producer Advani concluded.

Rani Mukerji with sr film journalist Chaitanya PadukoneRakesh Dave with Rani Mukaeji (2) Rakesh Dave with Rani Mukaeji (1)