Rani Mukerji has always wowed audiences with her brilliant acting but critics and audiences rate her performance in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black to be her best to date. Her impeccable, sensitive acting as a specially-abled girl Michelle McNally, who strikes a beautiful and soulful bond with her teacher, has been hailed as one of the best acting performances ever by an actor/actress in the history of Hindi cinema. On the 16th release anniversary of Black, Rani reveals that she was apprehensive to say yes to Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s masterpiece Black for this reason.
Rani says, “I think at first I was very reluctant to do the film when Sanjay offered me the role. Not because I had any doubts about the film or the character as such because working with Bhansali is a dream for any actor. I had already been a huge fan of his after watching Devdas. So, for me to get an opportunity to work with Bhansali was huge. However, as an actor, I wasn’t very confident that I would be able to pull off the role that Sanjay was offering me. I discussed this with Sanjay and asked him – Sanjay are you sure you are asking me to do this role, I think it is a very difficult part, something which I have not even envisaged ever in my life!”
She adds, “I was quite intimidated actually at first but it was entirely Sanjay’s belief in me as an actor and Sanjay’s belief in himself as a director that helped us make Black. When he told me that he believed I will be able to pull off the character and that he will be there with me at every step of the way guiding me through the role, through the character and give me as much help as is I need to basically study the character of Michelle McNally, through the real people who are speech, sight and hearing impaired, I felt confident.”
Rani is thankful to the visionary director for being by her side through and through. She says, “Sanjay fulfilled his promise because I actually went through intense training and learning the sign language and interacting with all the impaired people for 6 months and that’s how I was able to then get into the character of Michelle.” Both the audiences and critics showered heaps of praise on Black and on Rani. The versatile actress was deeply touched by the legend Dilip Kumar’s kind words for her.
She says, “The fact that when Mr Dilip Kumar had watched the film, he had written a letter of appreciation for my work and for me, I think that was one of the highest compliments I received as an actor from an actor of legendary repute like Dilip Kumar. Getting blessings and a pat on my back from a thespian like him is no less than an honour. My father has worked with him so I have literally grown up hearing numerous tales about his work and professionalism. I have been a huge fan of his work from childhood. We as a family have always looked up to him as an elder in the family so obviously a letter of appreciation for my work written from him is something I will always cherish.”
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