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Rani Mukerji ( ) born on 21 March 1978, is an 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 and blind girl in the film Black (2005), as well as many awards for her performance, establishing herself as a leading actress in Bollywood.Sen, Raja (29 December 2004). Best Actress 2004. Rediff.com. Retrieved on 30 August 2006

Kulkarni, Ronjita (23 December 2005). Ten best Bollywood actresses of 2005. Rediff.com. Retrieved on 24 February 2007

Sen, Raja (25 August 2006). Powerlist: Top Bollywood Actresses. Rediff.com. Retrieved on 24 February 2007

Sen, Raja (18 December 2007). The most powerful actresses of 2007. Rediff.com. Retrieved on 25 December 2007

Early life and background

Mukerji comes from a film-oriented family of Bengalimarker 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 and another cousin, Ayan Mukerji is the writer and director of Wake Up Sid.

Mukerji is a trained Odissi dancer, and began learning the dance in the tenth grade. Mukerji studied at Maneckji Cooper High School in Juhumarker, and later enrolled at Mithibai College in Mumbaimarker.

Acting career

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 returned to films in 1998. Her first release that year was Ghulam, opposite Aamir Khan; the film did well at the box office. The song Aati Kya Khandala made Mukerji popular among the masses, earning her the nickname of Khandala Girl. 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. Essaying the role of Suhani Sharma, a medical student who deals with the tensions and discontent of being married at a young age, 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."

Success, 2003-06

Mukerji's first 2003 release was Aziz Mirza's drama Chalte Chalte opposite Shahrukh Khan. The film saw her play a similar role to that of Saathiya, and she received her second nomination for Filmfare Best Actress Award.Among another three releases that year, Mukerji starred in Chori Chori, where she portrayed her first comic role. Although the film did not do well at the box office, Mukerji's comic timing was praised.

In 2004, her performance as a Bengali housewife in Mani Ratnam's Yuva won Mukerji her second Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award. Though the film failed to do well, her performance was critically acclaimed with one critic writing, "the role demanded an actress of substance and Rani more than lives up to the expectations". She followed through by playing the leading role in the romantic comedy Hum Tum, which became one of the biggest hits of the year. The film, based on the 1989 film When Harry Met Sally..., was directed by Kunal Kohli. Mukerji's portrayal of Rhea Sharma, a woman of today's generation, won her several awards, including her first Filmfare Best Actress Award. BBC wrote about her performance," Rani is fast becoming one of the more dependable and versatile actresses of her generation."

Her last release of the year was Yash Chopra's love saga Veer-Zaara, co-starring alongside Shahrukh Khan and Preity Zinta. The film, which emerged as the top grossing movie of the year in India and abroad, tells the love story of an Indian officer, Veer Pratap Singh, played by Khan, and a Pakistanimarker woman, Zaara, played by Zinta. Mukerji played the supporting role of Saamiya Siddiqui, a Pakistani lawyer who takes it upon herself to find the truth about Veer Pratap Singh.
In 2005, Mukerji starred in four high-profile films: Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Black, Shaad Ali's Bunty Aur Babli, Amol Palekar's Paheli and Ketan Mehta's The Rising. She was primarily noted for her performance in Black. When Bhansali first came to Mukerji with the offer, she turned it down and stated that she was not confident enough to play a deaf-blind girl. Once the director put faith in her, she agreed to do it and intensely studied sign language with professionals at the Helen Keller Institute in Mumbaimarker. Mukerji received much critical acclaim for her performance and collected numerous trophies in the category of Best Actress at various award ceremonies. IndiaFM noted, "There's no denying that Rani delivers her best performance to date. With no dialogues in her lap, the actress conveys through expressions solely and what a terrific impact she makes. Here's a performance that should act as a reference guide for all aspiring actors". Her next release, Bunty Aur Babli, surfaced as one of the biggest hits of the year. The film, though successful at the box office, opened to mixed reviews, and so did Mukerji's performance, with one critic writing, "Rani has done a great job most of the time, though she does tend to go a little over the top in the crying scenes. Nevertheless, Mukerji received Best Actress nominations from the IIFA Awards and Filmfare Awards.

Mukerji was offered the lead role in Mira Nair's Hollywoodmarker film, The Namesake (2007) but owing to clashing dates with Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, she could not commit to the project. Her first release in 2006 was Karan Johar's drama Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, which consisted of a multi-starrer that included Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Preity Zinta and Kirron Kher. The film opened to mixed reviews but emerged as the most successful movie ever overseas. The film tells the story of two unhappily married couples in New York, which results in an extramarital affair. Mukerji played the role of Maya Talwar, a woman layered with self-doubt and question about the relationship between her and her husband, played by [Abhishek] Bachchan; her performance was well received. Rajeev Masand from CNN-IBN concluded, "Rani looks a million bucks and she dives under the skin of her character to make that part one that we will remember for a long time." She received several nominations for Best Actress, and won her third IIFA Best Actress Award for the third consecutive year. Mukerji's next release was B.R. Chopra's Baabul. The movie did not do well at the box office in India, though proved to be a hit overseas. Her role as a widow met with mixed reviews.

Recent work, 2007-Present

Mukerji's first 2007 release, Ta Ra Rum Pum, where she played a pianist turned housewife and a mother for the first time on celluloid, was a flop. Her performance was generally well received, with one critic noting, "Rani enacts the role of the mother/wife proficiently." Her last two releases of the year, Pradeep Sarkar's drama Laaga Chunari Mein Daag and Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Saawariya, were critical and commercial failures in India.

Mukerji's role in Kunal Kohli's Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic, which released on 27 June 2008, received positive reviews from critics; however, the film failed to do well at the box office. Her most recent release, Dil Bole Hadippa, opened on 18 September 2009 under the Yash Raj Films banner, and did average business with Mukerji starring as a Punjabi villager who dreams of playing first class cricket, no matter what it takes. The movie co-stars Shahid Kapoor and Anupam Kher.

Personal life

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 tranliteration 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 Mumbaimarker, including her childhood home. She bought a bungalow in Juhumarker 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.

Controversies

In June 2005, Mukerji was widely criticized following the publication of an interview with British newspaper Desi Xpress. Mukerji was asked to name her idol and she replied, "Adolf Hitler". However, in an interview with Times Now a year later, she denied ever mentioning Hitler's name.

In November 2006, Mukerji was shooting for the film Laaga Chunari Mein Daag in Varanasimarker when avid fans crowded the set. Security personnel beat the crowd back. A media storm followed as various groups insisted that Mukerji should have stopped the security guards. Mukerji later issued an apology.

Other work

In March 2004, Mukerji visited the sandy dunes of Rajasthanmarker to boost the morale of the jawans. It was for a show where entertainers and stars visit Indian troops in far-flung regions to encourage them along with the NDTV team.

In February 2005, Mukerji performed at the HELP! Telethon Concert to help raise money for the victims of Tsunami in company with other Bollywood stars.

She was highly involved in the Temptations 2005 show in New Delhi. The actress helped to raise funds for the National Centre For Promotional of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), a leading disabled rights' group.

Mukerji donated her prize money, her half-share of 50 lakh rupees from her 2007 appearance on Kaun Banega Crorepati with Preity Zinta, to the Holy Family Hospital. She said that this institution looks after children with heart problems.

Mukerji is a stage performer and has participated in two world tours. Her first world tour was in the year 1999 with Aamir Khan, Aishwarya Rai, Akshaye Khanna and Twinkle Khanna. It was called the Magnificent Five.

Five years later, Temptations 2004 came along. It was the most successful Bollywood concert in its time. Mukerji performed alongside Shahrukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta, Arjun Rampal and Priyanka Chopra in nineteen stage shows across the globe.

In 2005, Mukerji was a guest of honour at a state dinner to greet General Pervez Musharraf in company of the Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh. Mukerji was the only Bollywood actress on the elite guest list.

She appeared along with various other Bollywood actors at the Closing Ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbournemarker, as part of a performance showcasing Indian culture, on behalf of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

In the media

Rani Mukerji was on the top slot of Filmfare's 'Top Ten Bollywood Actresses' list for two years in a row (2004-2005). She was also placed number one on Rediff's 'Top Bollywood Female Stars' Rankings for three consecutive years (2004-2006), while in 2007, she was ranked at number five.

In February 2006, Filmfare Magazine placed her eighth amongst the "Ten Most Powerful Names of Bollywood", an achievement she repeated from the previous year, where she was ranked at number ten as the only woman on the list. In 2007, she was ranked higher at number five.

On Women's International Day 2007, Mukerji came in the fourth position on the All-Time Best Bollywood Actresses Ever Listing.

She was placed at number #36 by UK magazine Eastern Eye as one of "Asia's Sexiest Women" (Sept/2006). Mukerji is frequently featured in various lists by Rediff.com, among them, Bollywood's Most Beautiful Actresses, Bollywood's Best Dressed Women and Women of Many Faces.

Mukerji has made three appearances in Karan Johar's talk show Koffee with Karan. She appeared with Kareena Kapoor, Shahrukh Khan and Kajol, and Madhuri Dixit as a surprise guest. Recently, she made her first appearance on a reality show, along with its contestants on Star Voice of India. The finalists performed to a medley of famous songs from her films.

Filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1996 Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat Mala  
1998 Ghulam Alisha  
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai Tina Malhotra Winner, Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award
Mehndi Pooja  
1999 Mann   Special appearance in song Kaali Naagin Ke
Hello Brother Rani  
2000 Badal Rani  
Hey Ram Aparna Ram Tamil film
Simultaneously made in Hindi as Hey Ram
Hadh Kar Di Aapne Anjali Khanna  
Bichhoo Kiran Bali  
Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega Pooja Oberoi Nominated, Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award
Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaaye Priya Sharma  
2001 Chori Chori Chupke Chupke Priya Malhotra  
Bas Itna Sa Khwaab Hai Pooja Shrivastav  
Nayak: The Real Hero Manjari  
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham Naina Kapoor Cameo
2002 Pyaar Diwana Hota Hai Payal Khuranna  
Mujhse Dosti Karoge! Pooja Sahani  
Saathiya Dr. Suhani Sharma/Saigol Winner, Filmfare Critics Award for Best Performance & Nominated, Filmfare Best Actress Award
Chalo Ishq Ladaaye Sapna  
2003 Chalte Chalte Priya Chopra Nominated, Filmfare Best Actress Award
Chori Chori Khushi Malhotra  
Calcutta Mail Reema/Bulbul  
Kal Ho Naa Ho   Special appearance in song Mahi Ve
LOC Kargil Hema  
2004 Yuva Sashi Biswas Winner, Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award
Hum Tum Rhea Prakash Winner, Filmfare Best Actress Award
Veer-Zaara Saamiya Siddiqui Nominated, Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award
2005 Black Michelle McNally Double-Winner, Filmfare Best Actress Award & Filmfare Critics Award for Best Performance
Bunty Aur Babli Vimmi Saluja (Babli) Nominated, Filmfare Best Actress Award
Paheli Lachchi Bhanwarlal
Mangal Pandey: The Rising Heera
2006 Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna Maya Talwar Nominated, Filmfare Best Actress Award
Baabul Malvika "Milli" Talwar/Kapoor  
2007 Ta Ra Rum Pum Radhika Shekar Rai Banerjee (Shona)
Laaga Chunari Mein Daag Vibhavari Sahay (Badki)/Natasha Nominated, Filmfare Best Actress Award
Saawariya Gulabji Nominated, Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award
Om Shanti Om Herself Special appearance in song Deewangi Deewangi
2008 Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic Geeta
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi Special appearance in song Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte
2009 Luck by Chance Herself Special appearance
Dil Bole Hadippa! Veera Kaur/Veer Pratap Singh
2010 Koochie Koochie Hota Hai Tina Pre-production


See also



References



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