Rani Mukerji: What’re you doing, babe?

Even as we wrinkle our snooty noses with disgust at her OTT wiggling in Aiyyaa, we sigh at her class act in Talaash. But what is the one-time queen marquee doing with her life?

Remember how she wowed us even in her tacky clothes and makeup and really regressive dialogue in Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat, and charmed us in Ghulam when she giggled singing an answer to Aamir Khan’s question Aati kya Khandala. She may not have to gone to Khandala, but Rani Mukerji went on to become the Number One heroine in Bollywood, beating everyone to the top spot. And then came the downslide.

Rumouredly, Rani started her still-under-wraps romance with the then-married Aditya Chopra of Yash Raj Films; and along with the love and…err…affection came the filtering, we hear. On her beloved’s advice, or so it is said, she started refusing films and becoming extra-picky about the work she did. Though her already pretty nifty dancing skills were honed – courtesy BFF Vaibhavi Merchant, perhaps? – she seemed to choose really bad projects to be associated with, never mind that to each she gave her all, especially during promotions. Unfortunately, with clunkers like Laaga Chunari Mein Daag and Dil Bole Hadippa to her credit, she kinda faded off the league of extraordinary actors. Then came No One Killed Jessica, and she was re-established as perhaps not a star – since she had a rival in Vidya Balan – but as the fine actor that she is. And it was followed by a disaster in Aiyyaa, where she showed off her belly dancing moves but not her fan following’s loyalty. It thudded at the BO. Talaash did something to redeem Ms M’s rep, but what happens next, is what we all want to know.

As far as we can tell, Rani only has a possible Begum Sumroo with Tigmanshu Dhulia – they have been talking, she will agree – and an unlikely appearance, according to the gossip press, in Dhoom:3, only because it is a YRF production. Will the actor finally admit to her very personal bond with Adi Chopra and go the band-baaja-baraat route? Or will she grit her teeth, pull up her thespian socks and get back into the race for pole position? And at this stage, with so many younger, tougher and more ambitious, aggressive, avid young women around, will Rani be able to reclaim her crown…or even a smaller one? We can’t wait to find out!