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    Rani isn't looking for big names to co-star with

    [Interview by Viral Bhayani]
    Wednesday, June 02, 2004
    She is one of India's best looking actresses but refuses to take credit for it.

    Also, it is a good comfort level with her co-stars that she looks for in her films and not necessarily big names.

    "I think it is more about the comfort level that you have when you work with certain stars. It does not really matter if the hero has had hits or not," Rani Mukherjee told IANS in an interview.

    Whatever her formula for success, she is one of Bollywood''''s most bankable heroines. Last week saw the release of "Yuva" and this week she is seen in the youthful Yash Chopra film "Hum Tum" opposite Saif Ali Khan.

    Tell us about your character Rhea Prakash in "Hum Tum"?

    She is like any girl of my age. She is modern yet she is Indian at heart and her values are in place. The entire story starts when she is 21 and ends when she is 28.

    She is carefree but not frivolous. Relationships matter to her but that's not going to distract her from her career goals. Although Karan and Rhea seem to be diametrically opposite, their relationship strengthens into friendship, and one's character is complemented by the other.

    Rhea is the woman of today, strong and independent, but with a sensitivity and warmth that endear her to everyone. Although she initially seems to be the cliché that Karan feels all women are, the nuances of her character start to convince him that perhaps not all women are the same.

    I think many girls will relate with this film as it is the story of their life or perhaps that of their friends.

    How was the experience working with Saif?

    It was a lot of fun as rarely do we get movies on just two characters. If these two characters don't work then the film too doesn't work. So we had to really work hard to get our chemistry right and make sure that the two of us vibe well together.

    We had to really rehearse well and get the timing right. It was an adventure as for every scene we were trying to do something different.

    This happens to be your first film with Saif. How comfortable were you with him?

    Saif's mom is Bengali, so each time he would ask me to teach him things in my language so that he could go to his mom and tell her those things. So we had a great Bengali connection.

    Mani Ratnam himself said your character in "Yuva" is the strongest?

    It's difficult to believe that someone as accomplished as him can be so normal. The best thing about him is that he shoots the most complex scenes very casually. I play a middle class girl whose husband beats her and at the same time is crazy about her. She is not weak as a person who can go through trauma has to be a very strong person.

    It is quite amazing how different one can look. Like in the case of "Yuva" and "Hum Tum" - two absolutely different looks. How do you manage to look so different?

    People fail to credit the people behind it. When an actress looks good, it is a team effort and not just the actress. It is all thanks to the cameraman, the makeup man and even the director. Sometimes, when the director does not have the time, the actress looks bad on screen. I feel lucky to work with the best makeup persons and cameramen.

    Will you work with just big names like Shah Rukh Khan and Yash Raj Films?

    No, nothing of that sort. When I started my career I acted with a newcomer called Shadab Khan. I worked with Hrithik Roshan and Abhishek Bachchan when they were just newcomers. As for Shah Rukh and Aamir Khan they were my seniors as they had already acted in many other movies while I was a newcomer in front of them.

    I think it is more about the comfort level that you have when you work with certain stars. It does not really matter if the hero has had hits or not.

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