Bollywood’s very own Khandala girl, Rani Mukherjee has turned 43. Born in Bombay on 21 March 1978 in a family that was already involved in the film industry. Her father, Ram Mukherjee was a film director and one of the founders of Filmalaya Studios, mother a former playback singer, elder brother is a film producer and director.
Her maternal aunt Debashree Roy is a very famous Bengali film actress and her paternal cousin, Bollywood star Kajol, is a Hindi film actress. So, her family has deep roots in the industry. Rani completed her primary and secondary education at Maneckji Cooper High School in Juhu and did pursue a degree in Home Science from SNDT Women’s University for her graduation.
Rani Mukherji Films and Career
Rani never wanted to be an actress and she has said that in many interviews. Since class 10th she has been learning dancing and is a trained Odissi dancer. Rani’s first call for acting came in 1994 through director Salim Khan who wanted her to play an actor in his directorial film, Aa Gale Lag Jaa Gale.
Rani rejected the offer as her father didn’t want her to do this at a young age. Later on her mother’s advice, Rani went to do experimental acting and featured in social drama Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat, and her father’s Bengali film Biyer Phool, both of which were released on the same day in October 1996.
Both the films were a failure but Rani’s performance bagged her a special recognition trophy at the annual Screen Awards ceremony. Later Rani moved on to pursue education and in the meantime, her cousin Kajol was rising to stardom which motivated Rani for a comeback.
She broke into the scenes with her first commercial success with the action film Ghulam (1998)where she was paired opposite of Aamir Khan and fans loved her in the Aati kya Khandala song. She rose to fame with the romance film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998).
More big opportunities met her as Karan Johar made his directorial debut with “Kuch Kuch Hota hai” and cast her opposite Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. Prominent journalists were impressed by Rani’s performance and wrote very high about her. Kuch Kuch Hota hai became a high success and Rani was officially a star then.
Rani Mukherji got Best Supporting Actress for the film. Later she got the lead role in two films, Mehndi (1998) and Hello Brother (1999), both the films failed to impress the audience and this was a huge setback for her. Later Rani decided to take on challenging projects and explore herself in other roles, hence she went on to do Badal and Bichhoo, two action dramas films starring Bobby Deol in both. The films didn’t do well at the box office but Rani got credit and appreciation for her role by critics.
Then Rani became part of a film that didn’t do well at the box office but went on to be selected as India’s official entry into the Oscars. It was a supporting role in Kamal Haasan’s bilingual film Hey Ram.
Rani’s next projects were romantic comedies Hadh Kar Di Aapne and Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaaye, which again weren’t a hit. Next up Rani got nominated for supporting actress at Filmfare for Salman Khan and Preity Zinta starrer romantic comedy Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega. In 2002, Rani made her debut under Yash Raj Films and part of two films, Mujhe Dosti Karogi! and Saathiya.
Saathiya did well and she got nominated for the first time for Best Actress at Filmfare, she was awarded the Critics Award for Best Actress. She later did two films with Govinda – Pyaar Diwana Hota Hai and Chalo Ishq Ladaaye, again both of them didn’t do well as Box office. 2003 was on a successful year for Rani as she became part of Shahrukh Khan’s starter “Chalte Chalte” by replacing Aishwarya Rai.
This was her career comeback film as she also received a nomination for Best Actress for the films. Rani Mukherji’s best year was coming as in 2004 she received Best Actress award for her starring role in Kunal Kohli’s Hum Tum and Best Supporting Actress win was for Mani Ratnam’s Yuva (2004) and this wasn’t enough as her biggest success was being part of the highest-grossing film of 2004, Veer-Zaara.
The film broke many records and Rani’s role was recognized by top critics. She also won the IIFA Award for Best Supporting Actress and received a nomination in the same category at Filmfare. By 2004, Rani established herself as one of the best actresses in the Hindi cinema industry and next up was international recognition as Rani delivered her career-best performance in Amitabh Bachhan starrer Black.
Rani Mukherji was almost married to Abhishek Bachchan
Rani Mukherji was the first choice of Abhishek Bachchan for wedding but after few years of dating they broke up and she wasn’t even invited at Abhishek Bachchan’s Wedding.
Rani had said on Not being invited on Abhishek Bachchan’s Wedding:
The truth is if someone chooses not to invite you to their wedding you realize where you stand with that person. You may be deluded and think you are friends but maybe that friendship was only extended as co-stars on the sets. It doesn’t matter. It became very clear to me that we were only co-stars not friends.
The film won 2 National Film Awards and 11 Filmfare Awards. Richard Corliss of Time featured it as the fifth best film of the year, Empire magazine referred to Mukerji’s performance as “astonishing”, and Filmfare included her work in their listing of Indian cinema’s “80 Most Iconic performances”. Next up she was paired with Abhishek Bachchan in Bunty Aur Babli for which she got nominated for best actress at Filmfare.
Next up Rani tasted failure in Paheli, followed by the film Mangal Pandey: The Rising, which was a hit. Rani then reunited with Karan Johar and acted in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006), the film was a super hit and she won IIFA Best Actress Award and a nomination for Filmfare Awards. 2007 to 2010 was a bad phase of her career as non of her films performed well at the box office.
However, she received lots of appreciation for her role in films like Laaga Chunari Mein Daag and Saawariya. In 2011, Rani was featured in the film No One Killed Jessica and her performance was outstanding in the film.
She reunited with Aamir Khan for the thriller Talaash: The Answer Lies Within, the film was the 8th highest earning movie of the year.
Her last 3 films Bunty Aur Babli 2, Mardani, and Mardani 2, all failed to generate revenue and impress fans, but her acting was appreciated in all three.
Rani Mukherji is married to Aditya Chopra since 2014 and has a daughter with her named Adira. Rani is also very active in social welfare, she was appointed as an ambassador by Procter & Gamble and the NGO Child Rights and You for their joint venture, Shiksha, to endorse the cause of children’s education in India.
She is part of numerous charity and social works all over India and abroad which tells her she is not just a beautiful actor but a beautiful human being. We wish her all the best for her future.