Rani Mukerji has always had a strong connect with the audiences and the actor believes people find her relatable because she never brings her real- life persona on screen. In her new film Hichki, which is her first after the birth of her daughter Adira, Rani plays the role of a woman who does not let her speech disability come in the way of achieving her dream of becoming a teacher.
"Whenever I play a character in a film, I try to remove Rani Mukerji and emotionally connect with the part. If a person sitting in a cinema hall can forget who you really are and believes you are the character, that's the real victory for an actor," Rani said.
"I want people to forget that they are watching a Rani Mukerji film and get invested in the character," she added.
In the film, Rani plays a woman with Tourette syndrome, a condition that forces an individual to make involuntary repetitive movements or sounds.
"For somebody to take their weakness and turn it into strength... It holds a positive message. I truly believe that all of us have a weakness that we know but we try to camouflage it as we have to put up a hard exterior in front of the world. If one can make their weakness their strength, the world can become a good place," she said.
Rani is not new to playing challenging roles. She played a deaf and blind woman in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Black.
The actor said one has to be careful with such roles as there is always a probability to look like a caricature. "It is with all my films. I take special care because it may become a caricature. There is always a thin line. I have been taking feedback on this film from day one. After every shot, I ensured that if I do the tick, it should appear natural. I would constantly check with Siddharth (director). It was important to look authentic," she said.
The movie, produced by Yash Raj Films, also highlights the topic of literacy and Rani said the right to education cannot be gender specific.
"Education is the right of every human being, irrespective of the gender. In India, a state like Kerala has the highest percentage of literacy, we should take that as an example. Once there is a change in the attitude, it can make a huge difference. Both men and women are working today and education should not be gender specific," she said.
Directed by Siddharth P Malhotra and produced by Maneesh Sharma, "Hichki" will release across India on February 23, next year.
(With PTI Inputs)