Rani Mukherjee (also known as Rani Mukerji, born March 21, 1978 in Bengal, India) is a six-time Filmfare Award-winning Indian film actress and one of the most popular Bollywood actress at present. Since her first break on celluloid in 1996, she has appeared in nearly 40 films. Today, Rani is regarded as one of the biggest names in Bollywood.
Mukherjee comes from a film-oriented family of Bengali origin: Her father Ram Mukherjee is a retired director and her mother Krishna formerly worked as a playback singer. Her brother Raja Mukherjee is also a film producer. Her maternal aunt, Debashree Roy, was a popular Bengali actress and her cousin Kajol is another successful Bollywood actress. Sharbani Mukherjee is her cousin.
She graduated from Maneckjee Cooper High School in Juhu. Soon afterwards, Rani received a few film offers and thus, set her foot on the Indian film-industry capital, Mumbai. From there onwards, she pursued a high-profile career in acting and became part of the world’s largest film-industry.
She began her film career with the Bengali film Biyer Phool. Her first Hindi film was Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat (1996), which did not do well at the box office. However, her next two releases – Ghulam and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) – were hits. For the latter she received her first Filmfare Award in the Best Supporting Actress category.
Mukherjee was in great demand after sudden stardom and signed contracts to work in many promising projects. Unfortunately, most of the movies didn’t work to her advantage. In 2002, she starred in Saathiya which was critically and commercially successful.
In 2003, she starred in Chalte Chalte opposite Shah Rukh Khan; the film was a semi-hit and people took her performance a lot more seriously. Moving on, 2004 was the most significant year in her career. Her performances in Yuva and the commercially successful Hum Tum earned her even more awards – the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for the former, and the Filmfare Best Actress Award for the latter. Her performance as a Pakistani lawyer in Veer-Zaara was also acclaimed and earned her many award nominations.
In 2005, Mukherjee starred in four high-profile films. Bunty Aur Babli and The Rising were among the biggest grossers of the year. She received critical acclaim for every film, especially her performance in Black. These successes established Mukherjee as one of the industry’s most bankable stars.
Mukherjee had two releases in 2006: Karan Johar’s Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, which was one of the most successful movies of the year and B. R. Chopra’s Baabul, which performed average at the box office, despite receiving mixed reviews from critics.
The actress has been an active stage performer and participated in numerous world tours. Temptations 2004 was her most successful concert, in which she performed alongside Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta, Arjun Rampal and Priyanka Chopra. She also 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, to be held in Delhi. For her one-and-a-half-minute dance act alongside Saif Ali Khan, she was reportedly paid 1.5 crore rupees, the equivalent of about 300,000 U.S. dollars.
Gossip columnists have linked Mukherjee to many industry figures, but she has strongly denied every single rumor of romance. Gossip columns have also claimed that she is feuding with one or another Bollywood actor or actress, but she strongly denies these rumors as well.
Mukherjee seems to lead a hard-working life, totally focused on her career. She appears in the news only for appearances at movie premieres, special events, film festivals, award ceremonies, film promotion-related proceedings, or charity work. Home is important to her: in 2006, the actress bought a new house for herself in Juhu, the interior design for which was done by Twinkle Khanna.
She is very close to her niece, Mayesha whom she lovingly calls ‘Mishti’ (which means “sweet” in Bengali).
In June 2005, Mukherjee was widely criticized following the publication of an interview with British newspaper Desi Xpress. Mukherjee was asked to name her idol and she replied, “Adolf Hitler”. However, in an interview with TimesNow a year later, she denied ever mentioning Hitler’s name.
In November 2006, Mukherjee was shooting a film in Varanasi when avid fans crowded the set. Security personnel beat the crowd back with sticks. A media storm followed as various groups insisted that Mukherjee should have stopped the security guards. Mukherjee later issued a guarded apology.
Besides acting in films, Mukherjee contributes to charitable causes: The Temptations 2005 show in New Delhi helped to raise funds for the National Centre For Promotional of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), a leading disabled rights’ group. Shahrukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra were also amongst the many who contributed to this cause.
In 2006, Mukherjee celebrated her birthday with the students of The Helen Keller Institute for the Deaf and Blind, whom she had befriended while doing research for her role as a blind and deaf girl in Black. She has also given credit for her award-winning performance in that movie to the students.
Awards & Honours
- 2006, Rediff Movie Awards Best Actress, Black
- 2006, Star Screen Award Best Actress, Black
- 2006, Stardust Star of the Year Award – Female, Black
- 2006, Filmfare Best Actress Award, Black
- 2006, Filmfare Critics Award for Best Performance, Black
- 2006, Zee Cine Award Best Actor- Female, Black
- 2006, IIFA Best Actress Award for Black
- 2005, Filmfare Best Actress Award, Hum Tum
- 2005, Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award, Yuva
- 2005, Zee Cine Award Best Actor- Female, Hum Tum
- 2005, 1st GIFA Awards Best Actress, Hum Tum
- 2005, Star Screen Award Best Actress, Hum Tum
- 2005, Star Screen Award Best Supporting Actress, Yuva
- 2005, Cinegoers Awards Best Actress, Hum Tum
- 2005, Cinegoers Awards Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Veer-Zaara
- 2005, IIFA Best Actress Award for Hum Tum
- 2005, IIFA Best Supporting Actress Award for Veer-Zaara
- 2005, Bollywood Awards Best Actress, Hum Tum
- 2005, Bollywood Awards Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Yuva
- 2003, Star Screen Awards Special Jury Award, Saathiya
- 2003, Filmfare, Critics Award Best Performance, Saathiya
- 2003, Sansui Awards Best Performance of the Year, Saathiya
- 2003, Bollywood Awards Most Sensational Actress, Saathiya
- 2003, Rajiv Gandhi Award
- 1999, Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
- 1999, Zee Cine Awards, Lux Face of the Year, Ghulam & Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
- 1999, Zee Cine Award Best Actor in a Supporting Role- Female for Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
She has received five nominations for Best Actress at the Filmfare Awards, and has won twice. She has been nominated as Best Supporting Actress four times, twice in one year, making her win twice also. She is the first and only actor to win both the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress trophies in a single year (2005) at the Filmfare.
- 2007, Star’s Sabsey Favourite Heroine, KANK
- 2007, Star Screen Award Jodi No. 1 (Rani & Shahrukh Khan) for KANK
- 2006, 2nd Edition Pogo Voice Awards Most Amazing Actress, Bunty Aur Babli
- 2006, Star Screen Award Jodi No. 1 (Rani & Abhishek Bachchan) for Bunty Aur Babli
- 2006, 2nd Apsara Awards Best Actress, Black
- 2006, Star’s Sabsey Favourite Heroine, Black
- 2006, Idea Zee Awards Celebrity Model of the Year
- 2006, BBC Film Cafe Best Actress, Black
- 2005, Sports World Awards Best Actress, Hum Tum
- 2005, Sports World Awards Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Veer-Zaara
- 2005, Sports World Jodi of the Year (Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukerji) for Hum Tum
- 2005, Bollywood Fashion Awards Celebrity Style Female Award
- 2005, The Lycra® MTV Style Awards Most Stylish in Films
- 2005, Anandolok Puroshkar Awards Best Actress, Hum Tum
- 2005, Lion Awards Achievement in Cinema
- 2003, Anandolok Puroshkar Awards Best Actress, Saathiya
- 2004, BBC Film Cafe Best Actress, Chalte Chalte
- 2001, Aashirwaad Awards Best Actress, Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega