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Rani Mukerji

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Rani Mukerji

Mukerji at the 2009 TIFF special screening of her film Dil Bole Hadippa!
Born Rani Mukherjee
21 March 1978 (1978-03-21) (age 33)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Other names Rani Mukherji
Rani Mukerjee
Occupation Film actress
Years active 1997–present

Rani Mukerji (Bengali: রাণী মুখার্জী; born Rani Mukherjee on 21 March 1978)[1] is an Indian film actress who works in Hindi movies. In the course of her film career, she has received six Filmfare Awards, among twelve nominations.[2]

Making her acting debut with Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat (1997), Mukerji had her first commercial success with Karan Johar‘s romance Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), her biggest commercial success so far, and won a Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for her performance in the film. She later starred in several films, most of which fared below expectations, but in 2002 she re-invented her image with the critically acclaimed drama Saathiya, for which she received numerous awards and nominations, including her first Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress.[3]

In 2004, her performances in the hit Hum Tum and the critically acclaimed Yuva earned her the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress awards at the 50th Filmfare Awards, making her the first actress to win two major awards in the same year. She later received unanimous praise for her portrayal of a blind, deaf and mute woman in Black (2005), for which she garnered numerous major awards, including two more Filmfare Awards: Best Actress and Best Actress – Critics.[4] She went on to play leading roles in the comedy Bunty Aur Babli (2005) and the adult drama Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006), both of which were commercial successes and fetched Mukerji Best Actress nominations at the Filmfare Awards ceremony.[5] Mukerji thus established herself as a leading actress of Hindi cinema.[6][7] She then featured in a series of commercially unsuccessful films including Baabul (2006), Ta Ra Rum Pum (2007), Laaga Chunari Mein Daag (2007) and Dil Bole Hadippa! (2009), before re-inventing herself with Raj Kumar Gupta‘s semi-biographic thriller No One Killed Jessica (2011).[8]



Early life and background

Main article: Mukherjee-Samarth family

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[9] 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 Orissi dancer,[10] 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.

Acting career

Early work and breakthrough (1997-2002)

After doing a short cameo appearance for the first time in her father’s Bengali film Biyer Phool (1992), Mukerji made her acting debut five years later, as the protagonist of Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat (1997). Her performance as a rape victim in the film was well-received, but the film failed to do well at the box office. Nevertheless, she received a Special Jury recognition at the Star Screen Awards. However, the film’s commercial failure made her return to college to complete her education.[11]

Mukerji as Tina Malhotra in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), her biggest commercial success to date. Pictured with Shahrukh Khan.

Mukerji had a successful comeback in 1998 with Vikram Bhatt‘s Ghulam, opposite Aamir Khan. The film did moderately well at the box office, while the song “Aati Kya Khandala” made her popular among the masses.[12][13] Karan Johar‘s directorial debut, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, starring Shahrukh Khan and Kajol, followed for her that year. She played the supporting role of Tina Malhotra, a sophisticated girl in love with Khan. Of her performance, wrote, “Rani Mukherjee is a pleasant surprise – totally comfortable, clearly having suspended all disbelief”.[14] The movie was a blockbuster, with an adjusted worldwide gross of ₹182 crore (US$36.91 million),[15] and Mukerji went on to receive her first Filmfare Award in the Best Supporting Actress category. She later played lead roles in films like Mehndi (1998) and Hello Brother (1999), alongside Salman Khan.[16] None of these films were critically or commercially successful.[17]

Mukerji’s first release of 2000 was Raj Kanwar‘s action drama Badal opposite Bobby Deol. The film emerged as one of the highest-grossing films of the year,[18] but met with negative reviews from critics. She then essayed a brief role in Kamal Haasan‘s Hey Ram as Hassan’s first wife, Aparna Ram.[19] The controversial film, based on Mahatma Gandhi‘s assassination was a critical success and was chosen as India’s official entry to the Oscars that year.[20] Mukerji followed with a leading role in Bichhoo, inspired by Luc Besson‘s Leon, opposite Bobby Deol, as the foul-mouthed, coarse daughter of a drug dealer.[21] The film, as well as her performance received negative reviews from critics.[22] She also starred alongside Govinda, for the first time, in the comedy Hadh Kar Di Aapne.

Later that year, she teamed up with Salman Khan for two films, Raj Kanwar‘s Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega and Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaaye. While the former was inspired by the Sandra Bullock starrer While You Were Sleeping (1995), the later was a remake of Frank Coraci‘s The Wedding Singer (1998).[23][24] She was appreciated for her performance in Har Dil Jo Pyaar Karega and received her second Filmfare nomination in the Supporting Actress category.[25]

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.[26] Mukerji’s role was that of Priya Malhotra, a woman who is unable to conceive after a miscarriage and thus, hires a surrogate mother. 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.”[27] She next played the love-interests of Abhishek Bachchan and Anil Kapoor respectively, in two predominantly male-centric films: Bas Itna Sa Khwaab Hai and Nayak: The Real Hero. Upon release, both films under-performed at the box-office.[28]

Success (2002-06)

Mukerji after winning the IIFA Best Actress Awardin 2004 for Hum Tum

In 2002, Mukerji essayed the lead role of Pooja Sahani in Kunal Kohli‘s romance Mujhse Dosti Karoge!, alongside Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor. The film marked the first of her many collaborations with one of India’s largest production companies: Yash Raj Films.[29] Although the movie flopped in India,[30] it performed well overseas.[31] 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 Actress, and among several other nominations, received her first Best Actress nomination at the Filmfare. Udita Jhunjhunwala from Mid-Day noted, “Her expressions and acting are understated in a role that fits her like a glove.”[32] That year, she acted opposite Govinda once again in two commercially unsuccessful films, Pyaar Diwana Hota Hai and Chalo Ishq Ladaaye.

Mukerji’s first release of 2003 was Aziz Mirza‘s drama Chalte Chalte opposite Shahrukh Khan.[33] The film saw her play a role which was considered similar to the one she played in Saathiya, and her portrayal earned her a second nomination for Best Actress at the Filmfare awards. She next featured in Milan Luthria‘s Chori Chori opposite Ajay Devgan, Sudhir Mishra‘s Calcutta Mail alongside Anil Kapoor and Manisha Koirala and J.P. Dutta‘s multi-starrer war film LOC Kargil.[34] All three of them were critical as well as commercial failures.[35]

In 2004, she acted in Mani Ratnam‘s composite film Yuva alongside Ajay Devgan, Abhishek Bachchan, Vivek Oberoi, Kareena Kapoor and Esha Deol. The film, which narrated the story of three younsters from different stratums of society, saw Mukerji play a Bengali housewife opposite Bachchan. Though the film failed to do well at the box office,[36] the film, as well as her performance was critically acclaimed. She followed through by playing the leading role in Yash Raj Filmsromantic comedy Hum Tum, directed by Kunal Kohli, which became one of the biggest hits of the year.[36] The film starred Mukerji along with Saif Ali Khan and followed the lives of their characters at different stages of their lives. Mukerji’s portrayal of Rhea Sharma, an independent woman, won her several Best Actress awards, including her first Filmfare Award for Best Actress. BBC observed, “Rani is fast becoming one of the more dependable and versatile actresses of her generation.”[37]

Her last release of the year was Yash Chopra‘s love saga Veer-Zaara, in which she co-starred alongside Shahrukh Khan and Preity Zinta. The film, which emerged as the top-grossing movie of the year in India and abroad,[31][36] tells the love story of the title characters, Veer Pratap Singh, played by Khan, and a Pakistani woman, Zaara Hayaat Khan, 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. The film, which was screened at the Berlin Film Festival met with positive reviews.[38] A review carried by Rediff noted, “…Rani walks away with the best lines and a performance full of grit.”[39]

Mukerji in her critically acclaimed performance as the blind, deaf and mute Michelle McNally in Black (2005), which earned her the Filmfare Best Actress Award for the second consecutive year.

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[4] and stated that she was not confident enough to play a deaf-blind person.[4] Once Bhansali reinforced his faith in her, she agreed to do it and went on to study intensely sign language with professionals at the Helen Keller Institute in Mumbai.[40] Black was a major critical success, and Mukerji received universal acclaim for her performance. 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”.[41] She eventually won the Best Actress and the Best Actress – Critics at the Filmfare Awards ceremony. Her next release, Bunty Aur Babli, surfaced as one of the biggest hits of the year.[42] She played the character of Vimmi “Babli” Saluja, a con woman, opposite Abhishek Bachchan. The film, though successful at the box office, opened to mixed reviews, and so did Mukerji’s performance, with The Times of India 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.[43] Nevertheless, Mukerji received another nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress for her work.

Her third release that year, Paheli, opposite Shahrukh Khan, was screened at the Sundance Film Festival and was chosen as India’s official entry to the Oscars for the 79th Academy Awards.[44][45] The film was critically acclaimed, as was Mukerji’s performance, with Raja Sen writing, “Rani is undeniably one of the best actresses we have out there, and this is another perfectly played part.”[46] Her final release of the year, The Rising, saw her play a prostitute, Heera, the love interest of the protagonist Mangal Pandey, played by Aamir Khan.[47] Derek Elley of Variety mentioned that she made “the most of her feisty nautch-girl,” inpite of having “a small role for a star of her caliber.”[48]

In 2006 she starred in Karan Johar‘s drama Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, featuring 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.[31] The film tells the story of two unhappily married couples in New York, which later 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 with Rajeev Masand from CNN-IBN concluding, “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.”[49] She received several nominations for the role, including her fifth Filmfare – Best Actress nomination, and won the IIFA Best Actress Award for the third consecutive year.

Mukerji’s next release was B.R. Chopra‘s tearjerker Baabul alongside Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan and John Abraham. The movie did not do well at the box-office in India,[50] but proved to be a hit overseas.[31] Her portrayal of Malvika, a young widow, met with mixed reviews from critics.[51]

Professional setbacks and recent work (2007-present)

From 2007 to 2010, Mukerji featured primarily in films produced by Yash Raj Films (with the exception of Saawariya).[52] Her first release was Siddharth Anand‘s melodrama Ta Ra Rum Pum, where she played Radhika Rai Banerjee, a pianist turned housewife opposite Saif Ali Khan. The film performed decently at the box-office,[53] while her performance was generally well-received. Adarsh wrote, “Rani enacts the role of the mother/wife proficiently.”[54] Her next release of the year was Pradeep Sarkar‘s drama Laaga Chunari Mein Daag alongside Jaya Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Konkana Sen Sharma and Kunal Kapoor. The film met with mixed reviews, while Mukerji was criticised for repeatedly playing roles that require her to cry often.[55] Her performance of a prostitute, however, fetched her yet another Best Actress nomination at the Filmfare ceremony. Her final release of the year was Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s tragedy Saawariya, where she essayed a smaller part of a sex-worker. The film, which featured debutants Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor in lead roles, was a critical and commercial failure,[53] but Mukerji’s performance earned her a fifth Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress nomination.

In 2008, Mukerji was paired with Saif Ali Khan again for Kunal Kohli‘s Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic. The fantasy film had Mukerji play an angel who comes to Earth to help four troubled kids. The film, which flopped at the box office, met with generally positive reviews from critics.[56][57] Her following release, Dil Bole Hadippa (2009) was selected to be screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. The project, co-starring Shahid Kapoor, under-performed at the box office though Mukerji’s portrayal of a feisty Punjabi village girl who dreams of playing cricket was generally well-received by critics.[58]

In 2011, Mukerji starred in UTV Motion PicturesNo One Killed Jessica (2011), a film based on the Jessica Lal murder case. Upon release, Mukerji’s portrayal of journalist Meera Gaity received mostly positive reviews. The Times of India wrote, “Rani’s character being fictional and glamourized seems superficial to an extent but she packs in the punch required for her dynamic character.”[59] While other critics praised her performance, with Daily News and Analysis describing it as “one of her best performances till date,”[60] several critics were less positive, including Anupama Chopra of NDTV, who called her role, “the fatal, false note in No One Killed Jessica,” arguing that “The character is written superficially and Rani’s portrayal of her is equally banal. It’s all about externals. She argues a lot and proudly labels herself a bitch but her hair stays perfectly in place and in the end, she even gets to do a super-hero-like slow motion walk.”[61]

As of November 2011, her upcoming films include Reema Kagti‘s suspense thriller Talaash co-starring Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor and Anurag Kashyap‘s Aiyaa opposite Prithviraj.[62][63]

Personal life

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.[64] 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.[citation needed]

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.[65]


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“.[66] However, in an interview with Times Now a year later, she denied ever mentioning Hitler’s name.[66]

In November 2006, Mukerji was shooting for the film Laaga Chunari Mein Daag in Varanasi when avid fans crowded the set. Security personnel beat the crowd back.[67] A media storm followed as various groups insisted that Mukerji should have stopped the security guards. Mukerji later issued an apology.[67]

Other work

In March 2004, Mukerji visited the sandy dunes of Rajasthan 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.[68] 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.[69] 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.[70] 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.[71]

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.[72] 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.[73]

In 2009, Mukerji made made her television debut as judge with the dance reality show Dance Premier League. She explained her stint with television, saying that it made her “more accessible” to the audience and helped her “gain visibility when [she was] not doing too many films.”[74] In 2011, she reprised her role as Meera Gaity on the TV series C.I.D. in a guest appearance to promote No One Killed Jessica.[75]

In the media

Mukerji at the Sabse Favourite Kaun Awards

Rani Mukerji occupied the top slot of Filmfare’s ‘Top Ten Bollywood Actresses’ list for two years in a row (2004–2005).[76] 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.[6] In February 2006, Filmfare Magazine placed her eighth amongst the “Ten Most Powerful Names of Bollywood”,[77] an achievement she repeated from the previous year, where she was ranked at number ten, the only woman on the list.[78] In 2007, she was ranked at number five.[79] On Women’s International Day 2007, Mukerji came in fourth position on the All-Time Best Bollywood Actresses Ever listing.[80]

She was placed at number #36 by UK magazine Eastern Eye as one of “Asia’s Sexiest Women” (Sept/2006).[81] Mukerji is frequently featured in various lists by, among them, Bollywood’s Most Beautiful Actresses,[82] Bollywood’s Best Dressed Women[83] and Women of Many Faces.[84]

Mukerji has made four appearances in Karan Johar‘s talk show Koffee with Karan. She appeared with Kareena Kapoor, Shahrukh Khan and Kajol, Madhuri Dixit as a surprise guest and with Vidya Balan promoting their film No One Killed Jessica (2011) Rani made her entry in to the small screen with the dance reality show Dance Premier League in 2009.


See also: List of awards and nominations received by Rani Mukerji


Year Film Role Notes
1997 Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat Mala
1998 Ghulam Alisha
1998 Kuch Kuch Hota Hai Tina Malhotra Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress
1998 Mehndi Pooja
1999 Mann Special appearance in the song “Kaali Naagin Ke”
1999 Hello Brother Rani
2000 Badal Rani
2000 Hey Ram Aparna Ram
2000 Hadh Kar Di Aapne Anjali Khanna
2000 Bichhoo Kiran Bali
2000 Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega Pooja Oberoi Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress
2000 Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaaye Priya Sharma
2001 Chori Chori Chupke Chupke Priya Malhotra
2001 Bas Itna Sa Khwaab Hai Pooja Shrivastav
2001 Nayak: The Real Hero Manjari
2001 Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… Naina Kapoor Cameo
2002 Pyaar Diwana Hota Hai Payal Khuranna
2002 Mujhse Dosti Karoge! Pooja Sahani
2002 Saathiya Dr. Suhani Sharma/Sehgal Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress
2002 Chalo Ishq Ladaaye Sapna
2003 Chalte Chalte Priya Chopra Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress
2003 Chori Chori Khushi Malhotra
2003 Calcutta Mail Reema/Bulbul
2003 Kal Ho Naa Ho Special appearance in the song “Mahi Ve”
2003 LOC Kargil Hema
2004 Yuva Sashi Biswas Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress
2004 Hum Tum Rhea Prakash Filmfare Award for Best Actress
2004 Veer-Zaara Saamiya Siddiqui Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress
2005 Black Michelle McNally Filmfare Award for Best Actress
Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress
2005 Bunty Aur Babli Vimmi Saluja (Babli) Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress
2005 Paheli Lachchi Bhanwarlal
2005 Mangal Pandey: The Rising Heera
2006 Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna Maya Talwar Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress
2006 Baabul Malvika “Milli” Talwar/Kapoor
2007 Ta Ra Rum Pum Radhika Shekar Rai
Banerjee (Shona)
2007 Laaga Chunari Mein Daag Vibhavari Sahay (Badki)/
Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress
2007 Saawariya Gulabji Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress
2007 Om Shanti Om Herself Special appearance in the song “Deewangi Deewangi”
2008 Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic Geeta
2008 Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi Special appearance in the song “Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte
2009 Luck by Chance Herself
2009 Dil Bole Hadippa! Veera Kaur/Veer Pratap Singh
2011 No One Killed Jessica Meera Gaity
2012 Talaash Filming[85]
2012 Koochie Koochie Hota Hain Tina (voice) Post-production
2012 Aiyaa Filming


Year Show Role Channel
2009 Dance Premier League Judge Sony TV
2011 CID Guest Role: Meera Gaity Sony TV

See also

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