Considered as one of the most talented actresses in the industry, Rani Mukherji has made a name of herself with her hard-hitting performances in Bollywood. Her husky voice and feisty nature has surely won a place in our hearts. As the actress turns 36 today we remember her contribution to cinema.
Rani Mukherji was born to Ram Mukerji – a former film director and Krishna Mukerji – former playback singer. Her family and extended family largely belonged to the film industry. Her elder brother Raja, was a film producer and director.
Her aunt Debashree Roy, is a Bengali film actress while Rani is the cousin of
Bollywood superstar Kajol. She is also the cousin of director Ayan Mukherjee.
Rani was not interested in acting in her younger days. She did her schooling from Maneckji Cooper School and obtained a graduate degree in Home Science from SNDT Women's University. She is also a trained Odissi dancer.
When it comes to romance, Rani Mukherji surely had her share of relationships and heartaches. During the initial phase of her career, the actress was said to have had a close relationship with Govinda, who she met on the sets of ‘Hadh Kardi Ape’. However, this did not go down well with the actor’s wife Sunita and eventually they ended things.
Rani was also believed to have been dating Abhishek Bachchan during the filming of ‘Yuva’. But, its belived that the two shared very different interests and were not completely compatible.
Currently, Rani is said to be in a serious relationship with filmmaker Aditya Chopra. Though neither of them have openly admitted to the romance, Rani has been spending a lot of time with the Chopra family and they are expected to tie the knot soon.
Rani’s first onscreen appearance was at the age of 14, when she played a supporting role in her father's Bengali film ‘Biyer Phool’ (1992). In 1994, she received an offer to play the lead role in Salim Khan’s ‘Aa Gale Lag Jaa’. However she turned it down as her father did not approve of her getting into films at such a young age.
In 1997, Rani Mukherji finally made her proper Bollywood debut in ‘Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat’. Though the film did not do well, Rani’s performance garnered much praise and she received special recognition at the Anuual Screen Awards. After this, she returned to college but later took up acting as a full-time career.
The following year, Rani Mukherji starred opposite Aamir Khan in ‘Ghulam’, which performed moderately. However, the film’s song ‘Aati Kya Khandala’ was a big hit.
That same year, she appeared in Karan Johar’s love triangle ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ along with Shah Rukh Khan and cousin Kajol. The film became a huge blockbuster, earning over Rs 1.03 billion . It bagged eight Filmfare awards including the Best Supporting Actress for Rani.
Post this Rani acted in ‘Mehendi’ (1998) and ‘Hello Brother’ (1999) along with brothers Salman and Arbaaz Khan. But, both bombed at the box office. After this, Rani was determined to focus on more meatier roles, which distinguished from the stereotypical Indian heroine.
In 2000, she appeared in ‘Badal and ‘Bichoo’, both opposite Bobby Deol. However, both films received a poor response. That same year she acted in Kamal Haasan’s ‘Hey Ram’, which also starred Shah Rukh Khan and Hema Malini. Though the film performed poorly, it was critically appreciated and selected as India’s official entry to the Oscars.
In 2001, Rani Mukherji had three disappointing releases: her first film was ‘Chori Chori Chupke Chupke’, along with Preity Zinta and Salman Khan. Based on surrogacy the, film did well commercially. But, Rani’s role was said to be fairly miniscule compared to Preity’s, which was meatier.
She then starred in Goldie Behl’s ‘Bas Itna Sa Khwaab Hai’ opposite Abhishek Bachchan and ‘Nayak: The Real Hero’ along with Anil Kapoor, Amrish Puri and Paresh Rawal. However, both films failed to get her much acclaim.
Rani began 2002 with Yash Raj Films’ ‘Mujhse Dosti Karoge!’ along with Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor. Though the film was heavily promoted it failed to do well in India but had a decent run overseas.
She then appeared in romantic drama ‘Saathiya’ opposite Vivek Oberoi, a remake of the Tamil box office hit ‘Alaipayuthey’. Directed by Shaad Ali, the film was received well and earned Rani a Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress and a Best Actress nomination.
The following year, Rani played the lead role in ‘Chalte Chalte’, which was initially to be played by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. The film, which also starred Shah Rukh Khan, dealt with the misunderstanding between a married couple. The film did well at the Box Office and was a hit abroad.
Rani then starred in Milan Luthria’s rom-com ‘Chori Chori’ along with Ajay Devgn. Post this, she was seen in Sudhir Mishra’s suspense film ‘Calcutta Mail’, based on the 1998 Telugu film ‘Choodalani Vundi’. Her final release of the year was J.P. Dutta’s ‘LOC Kargil’, which was based on the Kargil war between India and Pakistan. However, none of these films performed well.
Year 2004 saw three big releases from Rani Mukherji. She first appeared in Mani Ratnam's 'Yuva' along with Abhishek Bachchan, Ajay Devgn. Rani won the Filmfare award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of a Bengali housewife.
Next, she acted in Kunal Kohli's romantic comedy 'Hum Tum' opposite Saif Ali Khan, which earned her a Best Actress award.
Her last release of 2004 was Yash Chopra's love story 'Veer-Zaara' where she played a Pakistani lawyer. The film Which also starred Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta became the highest grossing film of the year and was screened at the Berli Film Festival.
In 2005, Rani Mukherji showcased her true acting talent when she essayed the role of a deaf and blind girl in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's ‘Black’, which had Amitabh Bachchan playing her teacher. The film won several awards including two National Awards and eleven Filmfare Awards.
Later that year she starred in 'Bunty Aur Babli' where she played the titular character Vimmi Babli Saluja, a con woman. Her performance opposite Abhishek Bachchan earned Rani her second Filmfare Best Actress nomination.
Post her good run at the box office, Rani acted in Amol Palekar's 'Paheli' opposite Shah Rukh Khan. Though the film didn't perform too well in the country, it did well overseas and was selected as India's official entry to the 78th Academy Awards.
Her final film of that year was period flick, 'Mangal Pandey: The Rising', where she played the role of a prostitute who later becomes the love interest of the protagonist played by Aamir Khan.
Rani later declined the offer to star in Meera Nair's 'Namesake' and instead chose Karan Johar's romantic drama 'Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna' along with Abhishek Bachchan, Preity Zinta, Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Kirron Kher. The film revolved around infidelity and extra-marital affairs, becoming a huge commercial success.
She then acted in 'Baabul' along with Salman Khan, John Abraham, Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini. However the film tanked at the box office.
Rani began 2007 with Yash Raj Films' 'Ta Ra Rum Pum' opposite Saif Ali Khan. The film that had Rani playing a mother for the first time onscreen was a commercial failure. She then starred in Pradeep Sarkar's 'Laaga Chunari Mein Daag - Journey Of A Woman' opposite Abhishek Bachchan, also starring Konkana Sen Sharma, Jaya Bachchan and Anupam Kher. Though the film opened well, it bombed at the box office.
That same year Rani essayed the role of a prostitute in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Saawariya' which marked the debut of Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor. Though Rani's performance was well appreciated, the film was a box office failure. However, Rani received a Filmfare Best Supporting Actress nomination.
Following this, Rani was keen to experiment with her roles and try something less serious. She played a fairy like angel in Kunal Kohli's 'Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic' along with Saif Ali Khan and Rishi Kapoor. But, her role did not garner much positive response.
In an attempt to salvage her career, she underwent a makeover and took on Yash Raj Films' 'Dil Bole Haddipa!', where she played a Punjabi village girl opposite Shahid Kapoor. She also went on to wear a bikini in the movie. Though the film was majorly hyped before its release, it too failed at the box office.
In 2011, Rani was back with a bang as she played the role of Meera Gaity, a determined television journalist in investigative thriller 'No One Killed Jessica', based on the true life murder of Jessica Lal. Though her performance earned her a third Filmfare for Best Supporting actress, certain critics labeled her performance as superficial.
The following year, Rani played the role of Meenakshi Deshpande in Sachin Kundalkar's 'Aiyyaa' with South actor Prithiviraj. The film received mixed to negative reviews, but Rani's performance was praised.
That same year she acted in Reema Kagti's 'Talaash: The Answer Lies Within, co-starring Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan. The film opened to positive reviews and was termed a moderate success.
2013 saw Rani take on the role of a journalist yet again in a segment of the short films of Bombay Talkies titled 'Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh'. The film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival.
Rani, who is not seen on screen very often nowadays, is currently filming for Pradeep Sarkar's 'Mardaani' where she will essay the role of a policewoman.
Here's wishing the actress a Happy birthday once again.