‘Mrs. Chatterjee vs. Norway’ classic ‘B’day Gift’ for super-actress Rani Mukerji—whose intense performance reminds Karan Johar of legendary Dilip Kumar’s scene from ‘Mashaal’ — by Chaitanya Padukone
As an eminent senior film journalist-columnist I have known Rani Mukherjee right from her debut movie ‘Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat’. So when on Friday, at YRF Yash Raj Studios (YRF) where they held the media-conference of her latest Hindi movie ‘Mrs Chatterjee vs. Norway’ (releasing on March 17) she came across to greet me and we chatted for a few minutes. Having seen the trailer even I was highly impressed with Rani’s range of intense dramatic skills in the central role of frustrated yet brave, daring mother fighting against the system to regain the custody of her kids . Complimenting Rani I told her 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. She gracefully smiled and thanked me. Then I reminded her that since March 21st is her Birthday, this movie-release would be like a birthday-gift for her, three days in advance.
During the media-briefing her mentor Karan Johar ( who had confidently cast Rani in ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai ) highly appreciated her intense sensitive performance. KJo ( Karan that is ) shared that Rani’s intense scene, in Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway, as the frustrated yet brave mother frantically pleading, as she falls and is dragging her feet on the floor trying to get near the authorities not to take away her kids away from her reminded him of iconic Dilip Kumar’s intense gut-wrenching scene in movie Mashaal (1984). . Where Dilip-saab is shown on the road frantically pleading (‘Ae bhai koi hai’? ) loudly with drivers of multiple by-passing cars and vehicles ( they all ignore him) to help him urgently take his critically sick wife to the nearest hospital. This was a huge compliment for Rani Mukerji, coming from ‘showman’ Karan Johar..
After acting in numerous romantic leads ( remember her iconic song ‘Aati Kya Khandala’ with Aamir Khan ? ) someone who loves to step out of her ‘comfort-zone’ versatile Rani has always loved to play challenging contrast roles. Undoubtedly, Rani Mukerji is one of the most versatile actresses in Indian cinema. From portraying the visually and hearing impaired Michelle in Black, to donning a police vardi in Mardaani, as a cute con-woman in ‘Bunty Aur Babli, the specially-abled-stammering teacher in Hichki, as the distressed wife-mother in ‘Talaash’ , as a lawyer-advocate in Veer Zaara, as a news-reporter in ‘No One Killed Jessica’ and as the sensuous sex-worker in ‘Saawariya’ the actress has dared to step into a contrasting screen-avataars.
The zestful Rani now returns to cinema-theatres with this unconventional emotional-thriller movie Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway, in yet another different avatar. Directed by talented Ashima Chibber, Rani Mukerji plays the central lead character as an Indian mother whose children are physically snatched away from her in Norway ( a well-developed foreign country in Northern Europe) The intense dramatic emotional thriller based on a real-life heart-rending story shot mostly in the central European country of Estonia is produced by Emmay Entertainment (co-founder Nikkhil Advani) and will be released on Friday March 17. The extrovert-natured Rani attended a promotional event for the film where she met with Sagarika Chakaraborty, for the first time. Sagarika is the mother on whose life the film is inspired from. Both Rani and Sagarika became very emotional and were moved to tears as they embraced each other. who has mostly starred in husband Aditya Chopra‘s productions in the last few years, said she is not limited to only working with Yash Raj Films and is open to working with others as well. Furthermore, she shared that Aditya was quite moved by her performance in the film and told her ‘well done’ on her performance and gave her a warm side-hug. Rani informed the media that she had never met the real-life mother Sagarika, until Friday. She said she had fully absorbed the character of the mother and given it her own interpretation while being inspired by her own real-life mother ( Mrs Krishna Mukherjee) and intense briefing by her movie director Ashima Chhiber. . In real-life, Aditya and Rani were married in 2014 and have a beautiful, smart eight-year old daughter Adira Chopra.
At the event, Rani also spoke about working with other production houses and shared Aditya’s reaction after seeing the film. She said, “As a producer my husband works with so many new actresses, why should I not work with other producers? All I need is a good script – be it YRF or otherwise. Adi was pleasantly shocked seeing the film ‘Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway . He was deeply moved and I don’t think I have seen him so moved in any film”
She added, “Last time Adi was so moved is when Yash uncle passed away. He is a parent today, so it hit him. He was very sweet and gave me a side hug as if I am his child. He said well done and I said, thank you. It was a moment because Adi praises me behind my back. I think he could not stop himself and he was moved by the film.”
Last month, the Netflix docu-series had the first exclusive interview with Aditya Chopra after several decades. The reclusive producer opened up to director Smriti Mundhra about the history and legacy of Yash Raj Films which was founded by his legendary father, showman filmmaker Yash Chopra.