Rani Mukerji born on March 21, 1978, is an award winning Indian film actress who works in Bollywood movies.
Making her acting debut with Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat (1996), Mukerji had her first commercial success with Karan Johar's romance Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), her biggest hit so far, and won a Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for her performance in the film. She later starred in many films, most of which fared below expectations. She re-invented her image with Saathiya (2002), which was commercially and critically successful.
In 2004, her performances in the hit Hum Tum and the critically acclaimed Yuva earned her the Best Actress and the Best Supporting Actress awards at the Filmfare, making her the first actress to win two major awards in the same year. She received unanimous praise for her role as a deaf-blind girl in the film Black (2005), as well as many awards for her memorable performance, establishing herself as a leading actress in Bollywood.
Early life and background
Mukerji comes from a film-oriented family of Bengali origin. Her father Ram Mukherjee is a retired director and one of the founders of Filmalaya Studios while her mother Krishna was a playback singer. Her brother Raja Mukherjee is a film producer, now turned director. Her maternal aunt, Debashree Roy, is a national award-winning Bengali film actress and her cousin, Kajol, is a popular Bollywood actress.
Mukerji is a trained Odissi dancer, and began learning the dance in the tenth grade. Mukerji studied at Maneckji Cooper High School in Juhu, and later enrolled at Mithibai College in Mumbai.
Prior work and breakthrough, 1996-2002
After doing a short cameo appearance for the first time in her father's Bengali film Biyer Phool (1992), Mukerji made her acting debut four years later, as the protagonist of Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat (1996). Her performance as a rape victim in the film was well received, but when the film failed at the box office, she returned to college to complete her education.
Mukerji as Tina Malhotra in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998). Pictured with Shahrukh Khan.Mukerji returned to films in 1998. Her first release that year was Ghulam, opposite Aamir Khan; the film did well at the box office. Karan Johar's directorial debut, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, co-starring Shahrukh Khan and Kajol, followed for her that year. The movie was a blockbuster, and she received her first Filmfare Award in the Best Supporting Actress category.
She followed her career by signing on several projects. Unfortunately, most of them did not do well at the box office. Although Badal was one of the highest grossing films of 2000, she still didn't succeed to establish her status in the industry at that point of time.
In 2001, Mukerji starred in Abbas Mustan's romantic drama Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, co-starring Salman Khan and Preity Zinta. The film was released after a one-year delay, and was one of the first Bollywood movies to handle the issue of surrogate childbirth. Mukerji's role was that of Priya Malhotra, a woman who is unable to conceive after a miscarriage, thus hires a surrogate mother. Rediff.com wrote, "Rani Mukherji is handicapped with a role that doesn't give her much scope besides weeping and sobbing. To her credit, she manages to hold her own even while playing a stereotypical sacrificing bhartiya nari."
In 2002, Mukerji played the lead role in Kunal Kohli's romance Mujhse Dosti Karoge!, co-starring alongside Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor. Although the movie did not do well in India, it generated great business overseas, and marked her entry into India's biggest production house: Yash Raj Films. Later that year, Mukerji starred in Shaad Ali's critically acclaimed Saathiya opposite Vivek Oberoi. The film was a moderate success and became one of the highest grossing movies of the year. Essaying the role of Suhani Sharma, a medical student who deals with the tensions and discontent of married life, she won a Filmfare Critics Award for Best Performance, and among several other nominations, received her first Best Actress nomination at the Filmfare. Manish Gajjar from BBC noted, "...Rani Mukerjee...plays the character of a middle class girl with great conviction."
She is currently rumored to be having an affair with Aditya Chopra. This is said to be the reason behind Rani being offered many good roles under his production banner, Yash Raj films.
Gossip columnists have linked Mukerji to many industry figures, but she has strongly denied every single rumour of romance. Several gossip columns have also claimed that she is regularly in feud with some of the Bollywood actors and actresses, but Mukerji has denied this.
Mukerji changed the English transliteration of her surname from Mukherjee to Mukerji several years ago. At the time, it was reported that she did this for numerological reasons. In 2006, Mukerji stated that numerology was not a concern; her name had been put down as Mukerji on her passport, and she wanted to be consistent.
Mukerji has three homes in Mumbai, including her childhood home. She bought a bungalow in Juhu for herself and her parents in mid-2005. The house went through a two year renovation with the interiors done by Twinkle Khanna and Sussanne Roshan.