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Bollywood’s Rani Mukerji wants women to protect themselves amid devastating rape crisis


Rani Mukerji is hoping new Bollywood film Mardaani 2 sparks a huge change in India, amid a devastating rape crisis.

In the sequel – which is released in cinemas on 13 December, the 41-year-old reprises her role as police officer Shivani – who attempts to hunt down a young serial killer, targeting young women, brutally raping and murdering them.

The movie comes after similar crimes have been devastating India, with reports of young girls being raped making worldwide news on a weekly basis.

And, speaking to Metro.co.uk about the film, Rani hopes that it will encourage women to protect themselves from attackers, by learning ‘self-defence’.

‘The most important change I would like to see is that women use their platforms to talk about what we can do, and how we can learn certain self-defence tricks to be able to protect them from difficult situations,’ she told us.

‘We need to accept that we are facing this reality today, which is horrendous and scary, but it’s the reality today so we have to deal with it, and face it with a lot of courage.

Rani is starring in Mardaani 2 (Picture: Yash Raj Films)

‘I think that’s the change I’m looking for.

‘There are people in power who can learn something, and become part of the discussion, that would be mean so much to me as an actor. At the end of the day I’m a woman, and these things do bother me. How do you talk to the nation and tell them to be aware?’

Rani has come under fire for similar comments in the past, following a round-table discussion with her fellow Bollywood actresses.

During the chat, she again suggested young girls should learn self-defence as a method of protection, with Deepika Padukone arguing that it shouldn’t even ‘get to that stage.

Rani hopes the film opens up a discussion on rape (Picture: Yash Raj Films)

Fans were unhappy with Rani’s words, explaining that women shouldn’t be the ones to change.

But the Kuch Kuch Hota Hai actress is adamant that women should not be ‘caught’ in that situation, and hopes to show females that they also have ‘power’ in scary situations.

‘Shivani’s character is the true embodiment of women empowerment,’ she continued. ‘When women and girls see her, they get empowered.

‘When you’re talking about victims, you always think a woman is a victim, but women have the power as well.

Rani insisted men will also feel empowered while watching Mardaani 2 (Picture: Yash Raj Films)

‘We have to start the conversation with every woman so that she’s not caught in a situation like that.’

And she also insists that men will also feel empowered while watching Mardaani 2 – which shows a strong female hunting down a violent rapist, reiterating that not all men are capable of the horrific crimes portrayed.

‘Men will take the same message,’ she said. ‘I don’t think, as a community, that all men are the perpetrators of the crime.

‘There are a lot of men who stand for women’s rights and empowerment, a lot of men who are disgusted when crimes like this happen, so I’m sure men will also appreciate the talk about empowering themselves.

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‘Men will equally be very proud of the fact that women are being empowered.’

And she is thrilled the film is starting a conversation that should have been sparked a long, long time ago.

‘[The reaction] has been very, very positive. People are reacting to it very emotionally. It’s sparking a conversation, which is really powerful,’ she added.

‘This is the conversation we should be having.’

Mardaani 2 is released in cinemas on 13 December.



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