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Biography
Rani Mukerji (Bengali: রাণী মুখার্জী) born on 21 March 1978, is an Indian film actress who works in Bollywood  movies.

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 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 the commercially and critically successful Saathiya (2002), for which she received numerous awards and nominations.

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, dumb and blind girl in the film Black (2005), as well as many awards for her performance, establishing herself as a leading actress in Bollywood.

Early life and background


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 and another cousin, Ayan Mukerji is the writer and director of Wake Up Sid.

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.

Acting career


Prior 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 commercially. Nevertheless, she received a Special Jury recognition at the Star Screen Awards. However, when the film failed at the box office, she returned to college to complete her education.
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 Ghulam, opposite Aamir Khan; the film did well at the box office. The song Aati Kya Khandala made Mukerji popular among the masses, earning her the nickname of Khandala Girl. 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. 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 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."

Success, 2003-06

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 praised.

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. BBCwrote about her performance," 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 inBlack (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'sBunty 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 inMumbai. 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.

Recent work, 2007-Present

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 where she played the role of a woman who is forced to take up prostitution due to family problems and Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Saawariya where she again essayed the role of a prostitute, were critical and commercial failures in India.

Mukerji's role in Kunal Kohli's Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic, which released on 27 June 2008, received positive reviews from critics; however, the film failed to do well at the box office. Her most recent release, Dil Bole Hadippa was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, opened on 18 September 2009 under the Yash Raj Films banner and performed averagely at the box office. Mukerji starred as a feisty Punjabi village girl who dreams of playing first class cricket, no matter what it takes. Her performance in the film was generally well-received by critics. The movie co-stars Shahid Kapoor and Anupam Kher. Mukerji is currently shooting for No One Killed Jessica which is being produced by UTV Motion Pictures and directed by Rajkumar Gupta who had previously directed the critically-acclaimed film Aamir, the film is believed to be based on the controversial Jessica Lal murder case.

Personal life

Mukerji changed the English tranliteration 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.

Controversies

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.

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.

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.

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.

Mukerji donated her prize money, her half-share of 50 lakh rupees from her 2007 appearance on Kaun Banega Crorepati withPreity Zinta, to the Holy Family Hospital. She said that this institution looks after children with heart problems.

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.

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 guest list.

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 Commonwealth Games.

In the media


Rani Mukerji occupied 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 five. 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, the only woman on the list. In 2007, she was ranked at number five. On Women's International Day 2007, Mukerji came in fourth position on the All-Time Best Bollywood Actresses EverListing.

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. Rani made her entry in to the small screen with the dance reality show Dance Premier League in 2009.