Rani Mukerji born on 21 March 1978, is an Indian film actress who works in Hindi 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 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. 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 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. Mukerji has since established herself as a leading actress of Hindi cinema. 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. 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 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 did not succeed to establish her status in the industry at that point of time. Among other films of that period, Kamal Haasan's Hey Ram was a critical success.
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 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.
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 with Preity 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. 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 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 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.