Kajol Mukherjee, better known by her mononymous screen name, Kajol is an Indian actress and philanthropist who predominantly works in Bollywood films. The actress who made her acting debut with the 1992 romantic-drama Bekhudi
has established herself as one of the most versatile actresses in the industry. Her stellar performances in movies like Baazigar
(1993), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
(1995), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
(1998), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
(2001) and My Name is Khan
(2010) won her several accolades and awards including six Filmfare Awards. For her outstanding contribution to the Indian cinema, the government of India honored her with the coveted Padma Shri in 2011.
Apart from acting, the actress is also known for her social works; she particularly works for the betterment of underprivileged children and widows. For her charity works, the actress has won Karmaveer Puraskar in 2008. She has also appeared as a talent judge on a reality show named Rock-N-Roll-Family. She also holds a managerial position at Devgn Entertainment and Software Ltd.
Born on 5th August 1974, Kajol is the elder daughter of yesteryear Bollywood actress, Tanuja
, and filmmaker Shomu Mukherjee
. Kajol had a typical Bengali family upbringing and she grew up in Mumbai along with her younger sister Tanishaa Mukerji
, who is also an actress in Bollywood. Nutan
, the popular yesteryear actress is Kajol`s maternal aunt and actors Mohnish Bahl
and Rani Mukerji
are her cousins.
Kajol did her schooling at St. Joseph Convent boarding School in Panchgani. During school, the actress participated in various extra-curricular activities such as dancing and it was also in school that she developed a penchant for reading fiction. She got her first break in Bollywood at the age of 16 when she was roped in Rahul Rawail
`s Bekhudi. After completing the shooting of the film, the actress returned to school but eventually dropped out to pursue a full-time acting career.
While filming for the film Gundaraj in 1994, the actress started her co-star in the movie, Ajay Devgn
and the two subsequently tied the knot on 24th February 1999 in a traditional Maharashtrian style wedding ceremony. The couple has two children, a daughter named Nysa who was born in 2003 and a son named Yug who was born in 2010.
It is a quite ironic that an actress of Kajol`s caliber had a very disappointing start to her career. Her debut movie Bekhudi directed by Rahul Rawail that released in 1992 was a commercial and critical flop. However, Kajol was noted for her performance in the movie and she was signed by Abbas-Mustan for their next venture, Baazigar that released in 1993. The movie co-starring Shah Rukh Khan and Shilpa Shetty
was a major hit. The film was the first of her many collaborations with King Khan in the later years.
In 1994, Kajol appeared in Udhaar ki Zindagi, which was a remake of the Telugu film titled Seetharamaiah Gari Manavaralu. The film failed at the box-office but Kajol`s performance in the movie was much appreciated by the critics and it won her the Bengal Film Journalists` Association (BFJA) Best actress award. Her next movie of the year, Yeh Dillagi
opposite Akshay Kumar
and Saif Ali Khan
brought her more success in the form of a nomination for Best Actress at the Filmfare Awards.
The year 1995 was one of the most successful years in Kajol`s career. She appeared in one of the most iconic romantic Bollywood movies of the modern era, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge opposite the King of romance, Shah Rukh Khan
. The film directed by Aditya Chopra grossed 1.3 billion INR worldwide and was critically acclaimed. Kajol`s role as Simran Singh, a young NRI living in London was appreciated by both critics and the audience. The role won her maiden Filmfare Awards for Best Actress. Her other notable release of the year was Rakesh Roshan
`s Karan Arjun where she had a small role as the love interest of Shah Rukh Khan. The film emerged as the second highest-grossing film of the year.
After her 1996 movie, Bambai Ka Babu directed by Vikram Bhatt
failed miserably at the box-office, the actress appeared in the commercially and critically hit Gupt: The Hidden Truth
. The movie directed by Rajiv Rai
released in 1997 and it had Kajol playing her maiden negative role as an obsessive lover and a psychopath serial killer. For her stellar performance in the movie, she won the Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role. In the same year, she made her Tamil film debut with Rajiv Menon
`s Minsara Kanavu opposite Prabhudeva
and Arvind Swamy
. The film was later dubbed in Hindi as Sapnay but unlike the original version, the Hindi movie was a flop. Kajol`s last release of the year was Indra Kumar
`s Ishq co-starring Aamir Khan
, Ajay Devgn and Juhi Chawla. The movie opened to positive reviews and emerged as a major commercial hit.
Kajol`s first release of the year in 1998 was Sohail Khan
`s romantic-comedy, Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya alongside Salman Khan. The film not only emerged as one of the top-grossing films of the year but also garnered a lot of positive critical comments. In her next movie, Dushman directed by Tanuja Chandra
, Kajol played the role of a young woman who avenges her younger sister`s murder. Although the movie did not perform well at the box-office, Kajol`s performance was appreciated by the critics and it got her first Screen Awards for Best Actress. Her next, couple of releases viz. Pyaar Toh Hona Hi Tha, which was the remake of the Hollywood hit movie, French Kiss and Karan Johar`s directorial debut Kuch Kuch Hota Hai were super hits. The latter co-starring Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukherjee grossed more than 100 crores INR worldwide.
With the dawn of the new millennium, the actress starred in a family drama Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham that had an ensemble cast including Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor
Khan, Hrithik Roshan
, Amitabh Bachchan
and Jaya Bachchan
. The movie was a blockbuster hit and was critically acclaimed. Kajol`s role as Anjali Sharma, a young Punjabi girl from Chandni Chowk area was much appreciated by the critics with The Hindu, a national daily stating "Kajol steals the thunder from under very high noses indeed. With her precise timing and subtle lingering expression, she is a delight all the way." Following the success of the movie, Kajol took a sabbatical and returned to acting in 2006 with Kunal Kohli
opposite Aamir Khan. The movie emerged to be a box-office success.
Following the success of Fanna, the actress worked intermittently through the decade and she next appeared in her husband, Ajay Devgn`s directorial debut, U Me Aur Hum
in 2008. Upon release, the film was a moderate hit at the box-office but Kajol`s performance as a woman suffering from Alzheimer`s disease was much appreciated by the critics. Her next release was in 2010; she starred in Karan Johar`s My Name Is Khan starring Shah Rukh Khan. The film based on the discrimination faced by the American Muslims post the 9/11 terrorist attacks got positive reviews as well as emerged as one of the highest grossing movies of the year. For her performance in the movie, Kajol won her fifth Filmfare Awards for Best Actress.
In her second release of 2010, the actress appeared in Siddharth Malhotra`s We Are Family, which was the official adaptation of the Hollywood movie, Stepmom. The movie got mixed critical response and was an average earner. The actor once again took a break and returned to acting after five years in 2015 movie Dilwale.
The movie directed by Rohit Shetty
also featured Shah Rukh Khan, Varun Dhawan
, and Kriti Sanon
. The movie was a huge commercial hit and Kajol for her role as Meera Malik, the daughter of a Mafia don won her a nomination at the Filmfare Awards. Her other releases include Velai Illa Pattathari 2
(2017), Helicopter Eela
(2018) and Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior