I suggest girls try their hand at cricket: Rani Mukerji (Interview)

By Robin Bansal, IANS
Friday, September 18, 2009

NEW DELHI - She was not a cricket fanatic but after preparing for her role in the just released Dil Bole Hadippa!, Rani Mukerji has become a huge fan of the game. She not only wishes to go and watch it in the stadium, but also suggests that more girls should try their hand at the sport.

“It’s a great sport to play… people say it’s a gentleman’s game but it is a ladies’ game too because it is a lot of fun. I would in fact tell a lot of girls to try their hand in cricket,” Rani told IANS.

“I would also love to go and see a game now in the stadium because watching it there is much more exciting than watching it on TV. Now that I know the game, it’s become pretty interesting for me to watch. Now I know there are so many ways to get out in the game other than what I knew of just a run out or a catch out.

I wasn’t into cricket at all. I would rarely watch a match if it was a very interesting one as I wasn’t really educated in the game. When you don’t know much about the game, you can’t enjoy it, Rani said.

She dons the garb of a Sikh in the romantic comedy to highlight a woman’s aspirations for cricket. Playing the part involved “rigorous training sessions” for Rani.

“I trained for six months in cricket and tried to learn it to the best of my ability because it was important for my character to know the game very well. I didn’t even know how to hold the bat correctly. So for me, to start from there to hit the shot was satisfying.

I wanted to start shooting for the film after I had trained for the game. I took training from a lady called Anjali who has been a cricketer for the Indian women’s team and has played in the world cup also, she said.

Produced and distributed by Yash Raj Films, Dil Bole Hadippa! has been directed by debutant Anurag Singh. The movie was premiered at the 34th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) recently.

It also stars Shahid Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Dalip Tahil and item girls Rakhi Sawant and Sherlyn Chopra.

The 31-year-old Rani also underwent a strict weight training and yoga regime to tone up her body for the character in tandem with her cricket lessons.

I started losing weight because I wanted to look like a cricketer in the movie - very athletic and very thin. I really worked hard to change the structure of my body. I did a lot of yoga and weight training.

“It took me around eight months to tone up my body and after that I took weight training to tone specific part of my body. So it took me about a year in total to prepare myself, she explained.

Rani was last seen in cameos in Luck By Chance (2009) and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008), after a full-length role in Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic (2008).

Asked what was keeping the actress busy all this while, she said: The only thing that was keeping me busy was this film and the rest of the time I was spending with my niece Mysha. That’s been my life pretty much since last year.

Rani’s future projects include a voiceover for animated movie Koochie Koochie Hota Hai.

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