One of Bollywood`s most sought-after actresses, Rani Mukerji has pulled off the portrayal of the college bombshell Tina in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and the tough Senior Inspector Shivani Shivaji Roy in Mardaani with equal ease. Apart from being a phenomenal actress, Rani is also actively involved with a number of social causes, education and children rights being her most passionate causes.
The award-winning actress is known for her portrayal of strong women in most of her movies and has impressed the audience and critics on several occasions, winning the Filmfare Award seven times up until 2018.Personal Life
Daughter of director Ram Mukherjee and singer Krishna Mukherjee, Rani is an alumna of Maneckji Cooper High School, Juhu, following which went on study Home Science at SNDT Women` University.
The actress was linked with a number of actors but nothing was ever confirmed. For years, there were talks about her relationship with YRF`s head honcho Aditya Chopra but the actress refused to comment on it. Years after the rumours first surfaced, Rani and Aditya got married in a private ceremony in Italy on the 21st of April, 2014. A year after their wedding, the two became parents to their first child together, Adira, who was born on the 9th of December, 2015.Debut & Initial Years
A trained Odissi dancer, Rani was, in fact, not too keen on taking up acting as a career since she hailed from a filmy background and wanted to do something different. However, fate had its own plans and she ended up playing a small role in her father`s 1996 directorial venture the Bengali romantic comedy Biyer Phool
. Before appearing in Biyer Phool, Salim Khan had offered Rani the lead role in the 1994 romantic drama Aa Gale Lag Jaa, which she declined because her father did not approve of her taking up acting as a full-time career. But when she was offered Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat
in 1997, she took up the role upon her mother`insistence, which is when her acting career took off.
She played the role of a rape victim who has to marry her violator for justice in Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat. Although her performance garnered her immense praise, the movie bombed at the box office. She then planned to go back to studying, however, decided otherwise and was next cast opposite Aamir Khan in Vikram Bhatt`s crime action drama Ghulam (1998). While she did not have such a substantial role in the movie, the song `Aati Kya Khandala?` went on to become a rage and the movie marked Rani`s first commercially successful movie.
It was Karan Johar
`s directorial debut Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
(1998) that was a turning point in Rani Mukerji`s career. She played the role of the college bombshell Tina Malhotra in the movie, her performance in which won her the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress. Post the success of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Rani was flooded with offers and was seen in a string of average grossers such as Hello Brother, Badal, Hadh Kar Di Aapne, Bichhoo, Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega, and Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaaye.Breakthrough & Beyond
After a string of unsuccessful movies, Rani`s breakthrough performance came with Shaad Ali`s directorial debut, the 2002 romantic drama Saathiya
. Cast opposite Vivek Oberoi, Rani`s performance won her widespread recognition and critical acclaim so much so that she went on to win the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress.
The following year, in 2003, Rani replaced Aishwarya Rai in Aziz Mirza`s romantic drama Chalte Chalte
and starred opposite Shah Rukh Khan
. Her portrayal of Priya won her a Filmfare Award nomination for Best Actress. The movie was declared a hit and was also the fourth highest-grossing movie in the world in 2003. She was then seen in movies such as Yuva, Hum Tum, and Veer-Zaara
(2004), all of which won her either Filmfare Awards or nominations.
Her most memorable performance on-screen continues to be that of a visually and speech-impaired girl Michelle McNally in Sanjay Leela Bhansali
(2005). In order to prepare for her role, Rani, who had initially turned down the role because she found it way too challenging, visited the Helen Keller Institute in Mumbai. Citing Black to be one of her toughest and challenging performances, Rani was immensely praised for her work, in India as well as worldwide. The movie went on to win two National Film Awards and 11 Filmfare Awards and was also listed as the fifth best of the year by TIME Magazine. Rani`s performance found itself a spot in Filmfare`s Top 80 Iconic Performances in Hindi Cinema.
Amidst all the controversy around the subject of her next film Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna
(2006), the movie went on to garner positive reviews from critics and was also a commercially successful movie. Rani essayed the role of Maya Talwar, a selfless woman who, although wasn`t in love with her husband, tried everything to keep the marriage going, extremely convincingly and went on to receive several nominations that year and various award functions. After a long, successive run at the box-office with some pathbreaking roles, Rani`s career saw a downhill with her appearing in Ta Ra Rum Pum, Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic, and Dil Bole Hadippa!.
Proving why she is one of Bollywood best actresses, Rani played the role of Meera Gaity, a robust journalist, in the biographical crime thriller No One Killed Jessica
(2011), which is based on the Jessica Lal murder case. Her stellar performance in the movie won her the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress. After playing the role of a quiet and lost mother and wife in Reema Kagti` psychological thriller Talaash: The Answer Lies Within
(2012), Rani played the role of a daring and strong cop Shivani Shivaji Roy in Pradeep Sarkar`s crime thriller Mardaani
in 2014.Recent Projects
After a four-year-long sabbatical from the film industry, Rani Mukerji returned to the big screen with the 2018 drama Hichki
, which features her in the role of Naina Mathur, a teacher who suffers from the Tourette syndrome. Her 2019 release includes Mardaani 2
, directed by Gopi Puthran. She then featured in Bunty Aur Babli 2 (2022) and Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway