'You have to do films and parts that you can pull off at your age,' Rani Mukerji says of her 25 years in Hindi films.

As her film Bunty Aur Babli 2 hits theatres, Rani Mukerji discusses working with Saif Ali Khan and working in the film industry for 25 years.
Bunty Aur Babli 2

The innovation in Rani Mukerji's second innings has been abundant. The actor who reigned the Hindi cinema business in the aughts has recently appeared in films like Hichki and Mardaani but is gearing set to reprise his role as fan-favorite Babli in Bunty Aur Babli 2, which hit theatres on Friday. The actress claims she's having a good time in "this zone" since her daughter Adira enjoys watching her dance. Rani is married to filmmaker Aditya Chopra, with whom she has one kid.

Mukerji discusses her ever-growing drive for excellence as she approaches her 25th year in the industry, her connection with Saif Ali Khan, and what she's been doing to stay relevant at the age of 43 when female actors are subjected to the concept of "shelf life."

What was it like returning to the Bunty Aur Babli zone after films like Hickhi and Mardaani 2?

It's fantastic because I enjoy singing, dancing, and portraying these dazzling characters. But, certainly, my film choices have been unusual for a long, and Bunty Aur Babli allows me to go fully crazy with my styling and appearance. I returned to the masti zone and a part that I had played previously. I'm continuing the role of Vimmi; her kid has grown up, and you'll see how well she gets along with him. She has such a vibrant personality and a beautiful enthusiasm for life. Her confidence and flamboyance make me envious at times.

Since the time of Hum Tum, seeing you and Saif Ali Khan share screen time has always been amazing.

As artists, we have true love and respect for each other, and we've also been friends for a long time. We've been completely honest with each other about the types of actors we are. We work as a team when we work together. We are not in competition with one another; instead, with each scene, we improve each other, and that is our magic. We don't have egos when it comes to each other as performers. We want to get the best out of one another.

As performers, we have an intrinsic desire to compete. They will be competitive with themselves if they are not competitive with others. Also, I believe that everyone secretly wishes to be the best, and when it comes to competing with oneself, it is all about being better than the previous time.

We're both a 'Jodi,' which means that when two actors work together, there must be love, admiration, and respect for one another, just as there should be in a marriage, for the relationship to progress. Similarly, when playing a couple on screen, the more at ease you are with each other and in each other's presence, the greater your on-screen chemistry will be.

Aditya Chopra exhibited incredible bravery by delaying the release of his films till theatres reopened. What are your thoughts on his decision, given that you are not just an actor but also the wife of a producer?

I salute Aadi from the bottom of my heart because, if I ignore the fact that I am his wife and consider him as a producer, my admiration for him has grown tenfold. In the previous two years, his handling of difficult situations has demonstrated why he is a leader. He has demonstrated incredible bravery by postponing his movie in order to honor theatres. It gives me great hope. As an actor, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been a part of a picture where the producer was willing to wait for a theatrical release. His bravery, power, and self-assurance have demonstrated the type of filmmaker he is and the values system from which he hails.

Bunty Aur Babli 2 is a total family entertainer; I haven't said this about any of my other recent films, but with this one, I'd say you can see it with your kids because everyone will like it.

After 25 years in the industry, how do you maintain your enthusiasm for movies?

It's been a long time, but let's not shout it too loudly for everyone to hear. Working in the profession has been extraordinarily fortunate for someone who didn't even want to be an actress. My fans have made a significant contribution to my experience in the movies by accepting me in various parts at various ages and in various situations.

I believe you must believe in yourself, as well as act in films and roles that are appropriate for your age. If I try to be a college girl now, I am confident that the audience will not accept me. If you want to keep working as an actress, your choice of characters and roles is critical, especially if you are a woman. That's what I do: I attempt to figure out what kind of environment my audience would prefer to see me in. In a film like Mardani or Hichki, age isn't really a factor; anyone may play a cop or a teacher at any age. In Bunty Aur Babli 2, I play a mother, and I am a mother myself. I've always felt compelled to play characters in which people can identify with me.