Rani Mukerji’s association with Yash Raj Films is doing her more harm than good. Industry insiders analyse what she needs to do to get her groove back.

Gone are the days when Rani Mukerji used to rule the box-office. Her last five films - Baabul, Ta Ra Rum Pum, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, Saawariya and Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic - failed to recover their cost.

So what exactly went wrong with Rani's career? One cannot deny that she is an extremely talented actress with fantastic screen presence. But, it was her selection of films that resulted in her downfall. The buzz in the film industry is that Rani only wants to work for her boyfriend Aditya Chopra's banner, Yash Raj Films (YRF).

Kunal Kohli, who was once upon a time Rani's favourite director (they worked together in Mujhse Dosti Karoge, Hum Tum and Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic), does not deny this but prefers not to elaborate. He says, “How can I answer why Rani wants to do only YRF films?”

A few months ago, good sense seemed to have dawned when Rani decided to discontinue her association with YRF. Sources reveal that she was furious with the fact that YRF does not publicise their films. Rumour had it that Rani wanted to rebuild her career even if it meant completely cutting all ties with YRF.

There were also reports that the shooting of Rani's cricket film with newcomer director Anurag Singh in which she stars with Shahid Kapur was stalled and she was ghost directing the film. But true to YRF style, the production house sent press releases denying any discord. But the truth is that Rani was indeed unhappy with Anurag's work and had refused to shoot for that film any further. She only agreed to resume working because of her love for Aditya Chopra. Now YRF claims that the film will restart in January 2009. We will wait to see if that indeed happens.
We tried to speak to director Pradeep Sarkar, who had directed Rani in Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, and Ketan Mehta who had worked with the actress in Mangal Pandey: The Rising. They heard us out and then evaded the topic and said, “I am in a meeting. I can't talk about this.”
Trade analyst Taran Adarsh said, “Currently Katrina Kaif, Kareena Kapoor and Deepika Padukone are at the top. Priyanka Chopra is going from strength to strength. So, automatically Rani has been phasedout.”

“Many people say that because Rani is limiting herself to YRF, other filmmakers may not be approaching her. But her recent spate of flops is the key reason for her not ruling the roost anymore,” added Adarsh.

Another trade analyst Amod Mehra said, “If you put all your eggs in one basket (read YRF) and the basket leaks, then your career as an actor is bound to go for a toss. That's what happened with Rani. Moreover, some of the YRF films have given her a behenji image. She has also turned down offers from several filmmakers.”

The current status on Rani's front is that other banners have altogether stopped offering her films. She is now 30 years old which leaves her with very little time to get back in control especially in an industry which is known to be heartless to actresses who are not young. Where will Rani go from here? Will she manage to take stock of the competition, which is only getting tougher by the day?

Rani has acted in a string of films with all the Khans - SRK, Aamir, Salman and Saif. Now that she is down and almost out will they rescue her?

This is the time for drastic action… and fast.

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