Mukherjee born on March 21, 1978, is an award winning 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-blind girl in the film Black (2005), as well as many
awards for her memorable performance, establishing herself as a leading
actress in Bollywood.
Early 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
Mukerji as Tina Malhotra in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998). Pictured with
Shahrukh Khan.Mukerji returned to films in 1998. Her first release that
year was Ghulam, opposite Aamir Khan; the film did well at the box
office. 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. The film was a
moderate success and became one of the highest grossing movies of the
year. Essaying the role of Suhani Sharma, a medical student who deals
with the tensions and discontent of married life, 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."
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
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
“ 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 Pakistani 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.
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 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
Mumbai. 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 Hollywood 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.
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
semi-hit. 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.
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 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.
Mukerji is a trained Odissi dancer, 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.
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 transliteration 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 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.
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 Varanasi 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.
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.
In February 2005, Mukerji performed at the HELP! Telethon Concert to
help raise money for the victims of Tsunami in company with other
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'
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 which is a major setback in India.
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 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
She appeared along with various other Bollywood actors at the Closing
Ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, as part of a
performance showcasing Indian culture, on behalf of the 2010
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
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