She is back to the big screen after a gap of four years and going forward Rani Mukerji's aim is to tell stories that have a strong emotional connect and resonate with people of all ages. The actor believes artistes should keep reinventing themselves to stay relevant. "I think it is very important to be with the times. Your audience changes every 10 years. It is very important that your films are being watched by all ages and people should be able to relate and connect with you.
"The only way to do that is to speak their language and be in their zone. As an actor, it is my duty to innovate. The day I stop doing that, I will lose my audience," she said.
Rani believes it is important for her to choose characters that honour her over two-decade-long relationship with viewers.
"It is important for me to select characters which challenge me as an actor and are interesting for my viewers to watch. Going forward, I want a mix bag of emotions because even in a romantic story you can come up with great characters. My intent is to bring about stories of hope. They should be positive, uplifting and relatable and they can be in any genre," she said.
The actor, whose one of the most memorable characters was of a blind and mute student in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Black", is now playing the role of an aspiring teacher with Tourette syndrome in Hichki.
Acknowledging this transition, Rani says both the roles appealed to her as they are about people who turn their weakness into strength.
"Somehow these kind of stories have always resonated with me because they come with extreme emotions. This film is about human spirit and the challenges that underprivileged children go through in society. The important message in our film is that there should be no discrimination when it comes to education or anywhere," she said.
The film is based on the real-life story of author Brad Cohen, who was surprised to know that the Hindi adaptation of his book will have a female protagonist.
"Manish Sharma, when he was given the onus of producing the film, was of the opinion that the film will be more interesting with a female protagonist. But this film is sensitive enough and special enough that it need not have a gender bias. It could have been played by either of the genders," she said.
The film, directed by Sidharth P Malhotra, will hit the screens this Friday, and the Rani says she feels blessed that "there is excitement to watch" her on the screen and hopes that "it multiplies".
(With PTI Inputs)