MUMBAI: Her daughter's birth gave her immense joy. And her father's death left her with "extreme pain". Bollywood actress Rani Mukerji says she channelises all her emotions and energy into her work.
Rani, who is married to filmmaker Aditya Chopra, gave birth to their daughter Adira in December 2015. Has motherhood changed her?
"Yes, with a child we undergo a huge transformation," Rani told IANS in an interview.
"I felt what true love is. That happens with motherhood... Till I had my child, I did not realise how I can love someone more than myself. At the same time, a few months ago I lost my father. So I know what extreme pain feels like," the actress said, paused and added: "As an actress, I channelise all my emotions and energy into my work. I feel the vacuum of my father, but instead of crying and brooding over it, I channelise the emotions."
Rani's comeback vehicle "Hichki", in which she plays a person suffering Tourette Syndrome a neurological disorder, has won her praise. She is enthused about working more in films and she is glad her daughter has started understanding this.
"She is a very playful child and stays without me when I am working. She is a happy baby. She has begun to understand that I go for work... And I wanted to teach her for a certain time I will go out for work... She should have the security that I will come back," said the 40-year-old.
From playing a London-returned style diva Tina in "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai" to a deaf, blind and mute Michelle McNally in "Black", from the outspoken strong-headed Meera in "No One Killed Jessica" to police officer Shivani Shivaji Roy in "Mardaani" - Rani has proved her versatility and acting talent with many films in the last 22 years.
She says as long as an actor looks relevant to the character he or she portrays on-screen, age "really doesn't matter".
"I think it is very important for an actor to look the part. Today, when Aamir Khan plays a father in 'Dangal', as the character he looked convincing. When he did 'Dhoom', he completely transformed himself and we did not question his age.
"The beauty of an actor comes from their transformation for every film. It stays true for a male and female actor. When I play a character, I should look so real to it that the audience will not question my age... I should look the part, whether or not I suit the age of the role I am playing in the film," Rani said.
In "Hichki", Rani plays teacher Naina Mathur. It is about how she struggles to fit into a regular school with its professors and students.
For Rani, the challenge in this role was not to portray the effects of the syndrome, but to isolate her mind from the external elements.
"As actors, we face the challenge to isolate ourselves from everything that is happening around us... That is our job. During the shooting of 'Hichki' in the Mumbai summer, it was so hot outside. But that should not reflect in my performance."
Asked about how school education impacts a child's mind, Rani said: "Well, a school gives every child equal opportunity of learning things academically. Personality development and education are two different things. Looking at a child's behaviour, one cannot talk about his/her upbringing.
"I think children are intelligent enough to embrace what they want, and don't (embrace) what they do not want."