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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fight to be more Bengali, Vidya Balan versus Rani Mukerji

Fight to be more Bengali, Vidya Balan versus Rani Mukerji: Imagine Vidya Balan staying up till 3 in the night and singing “Aar koto raat eka thakbo… Chokh mele dekhbo naa tomake…”That’s from Rani’s Believe It Or Not collection about her No One Killed Jessica co-star.

One is a Bengali by chance. The other a Bengali by choice. Between them on Monday evening, Rani Mukerji and Vidya Balan were more like two Bengalis coming home to Calcutta than two big Bollywood stars coming to the city to promote their film.

The last time Rani and Vidya were seen together in Calcutta was in August, in the front row of designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s debut show in the city at Taj Bengal. On Monday, the venue was the same and both were again wearing Sabyasachi but this time the spotlight was firmly on the two women.

They had flown in from Mumbai earlier in the morning. And the moment they set foot in Calcutta, Vidya had squealed out loud at the airport. A concerned Rani turned around and asked her what had happened. “I am in my city!” Vidya replied. “Pagol meye!” Rani concluded.

A few hours later Rani was in the mood to make most of that mad streak. “I am telling you Vidya was a Bengali in her last birth... she loves to speak Bengali, she loves to eat Bengali food and she loves Bengali men,” Rani announced even as a stunned Vidya didn’t know how to react.

And then came the killer line. “Vidya would love to get married to a Bengali man who has a long surname ending with ‘jee’, like Chatterjee or Mukherjee,” Rani quipped, before adding: “She would love to be a Mrs Mukherjee.”

The impromptu Bengali jamming between the two Bolly beauties didn’t end there. Recovering from this sudden onslaught, Vidya started singing the Autograph chartbuster — “Aamake aamar moto thakte dao... aami nijeke nijer moto guchhiye niyechhi...”

Rani was not done. “See, her Bengali pronunciation sounds like a Bengali.” Vidya was ready with the repartee this time — “Karon aami mon theke Bangali!”

If Vidya’s Bengali was sounding just right — after spending two months in the city shooting for Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani — Rani’s Bengali was sounding very Lokhandwala. “Don’t make me speak more Bengali... I am getting exposed,” the Miss Mukerji herself pleaded.

Raj Kumar Gupta, director of No One Killed Jessica, confirmed that even on the sets of the film, which is inspired by the Jessica Lal murder case, it was one big, mad Bengali party. With Sabyasachi designing for both the actresses in the film, “everyone was jabbering in Bengali all the time”.

What’s more, they even shot a few crucial scenes of the film here in Calcutta — Maidan to New Market, Ballygunge to Dum Dum. “Sabrina Lal’s (Jessica’s sister, played by Vidya) journey brings her to Calcutta and it was important that we actually came to Calcutta to shoot that portion,” Raj Kumar revealed.

Cut to Monday morning, and it was Rani who was taking a trip down Calcutta memory lane. The actress had gone straight from the airport to Elgin Road for a bhanr of tea.

“It’s a place where my maa and mashi used to take me from the very beginning for bhanrer cha,” Rani told Metro. “I really enjoy it. There are so many things I would love to do here in Calcutta but I always come with so much work in hand that it never happens.”

But what binds Vidya to Calcutta? “Rani is always curious about my Bengali connection... ‘what is this connection I want to understand’, she asks me,” Vidya said. “Wish I could understand it myself....”

So has she become more Bangali than Rani? “That I don’t know, that I don’t know,” Vidya laughed out loud with a twinkle in her eye. “But all I can say is that Tomate aamate dekha hoyechhilo, jaani naa kobe kothay... That’s what I feel about Calcutta.”

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