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Rani Mukherjee

Rani Mukerji (born 21 March 1978) is an Indian film actress.
She has established a successful career in Hindi language films of Bollywood and has been described in the media as one of the most popular celebrities in India. Mukerji has received seven Filmfare Awards from fourteen nominations, and her film roles have been cited as a significant departure from the traditional portrayal of women in mainstream Hindi cinema.

Born to the Mukherjee-Samarth family, where her parents and relatives were members of the Indian film industry, Mukerji did not aspire to a career in film. While in school, she experimented with acting by playing a supporting role in her father's Bengali-language film Biyer Phool (1992). While studying Home Science at SNDT Women's University, Mukerji accepted a leading role in the 1997 social drama Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat on the insistence of her mother. The following year, she began a full-time career in film and gained widespread public recognition for a supporting role in the blockbuster romance Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Following this initial success in her career, Mukerji's films fared poorly at the box-office for the next three years. Her career prospects improved when Yash Raj Films cast her as the star of the critically acclaimed relationship drama Saathiya (2002).

By the year 2004, Mukerji had established herself as a leading actress of Bollywood with a primary role in the romantic comedy Hum Tum and supporting roles in the dramas Yuva and Veer-Zaara. She received further success for portraying a deaf, blind and mute woman in the highly-acclaimed 2005 drama Black and an unfaithful wife in the 2006 box-office hit Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. Mukerji's popularity declined from 2007 onwards, when she collaborated with Yash Raj Films on several commercially unsuccessful films. Critics attributed this to her her poor choice of roles and her "monotonous pairing" with the same set of actors. The 2011 semi-biographical thriller No One Killed Jessica proved Mukerji's first commercial success in three years, and she followed it with a critically acclaimed performance in the 2012 supernatural thriller Talaash: The Answer Lies Within.

In addition to acting in films, Mukerji has been actively involved with several humanitarian causes and is vocal about issues faced by women and children. She has participated in concert tours, performed on stage for televised award ceremonies, and featured as a talent judge for the 2009 reality show Dance Premier League. Despite constant speculation, she remains guarded about her personal life and is sometimes labelled a recluse by members of the media.

Mukerji was born on 21 March 1978 to Bengali Brahmin parents in Mumbai. Her father, Ram Mukherjee (born to the Mukherjee-Samarth family) is a former film director and one of the founders of Filmalaya Studios. Her mother, Krishna Mukherjee, is a former playback singer. Her elder brother, Raja Mukherjee, is a film producer and director. Her maternal aunt, Debashree Roy, is a Bengali film actress and her paternal cousin, Kajol, is a Hindi film actress and her contemporary. Another paternal cousin, Ayan Mukerji is a scriptwriter and film director. Despite her parents and most of her relatives being members of the Indian film industry, Mukerji was disinterested to pursue a career in film. She said, "[T]there were already too many actresses at home and I wanted to be someone different".

Mukerji was schooled at Maneckji Cooper High School in Juhu, and graduated from SNDT Women's University in the field of Home Science. She is a trained Odissi dancer and began learning the dance form while in the tenth grade. As part of an annual tradition, the Mukherjee family celebrates the festival of Durga Puja at the suburban neighbourhood of Santacruz every year. Mukerji, a practising Hindu, takes part in the festivities with her entire family.

At the age of fourteen, Mukerji experimented with acting by portraying a supporting role in her father's Bengali language film Biyer Phool (1992). The film starred Prosenjit and Indrani Haldar in lead roles and narrates the story of two sisters; Mukerji played the younger sibling of Haldar's character. In 1994, director Salim Khan approached her to play the lead female role in his directorial, Aa Gale Lag Jaa. Her father disapproved of a full-time career in film at such a young age and hence, she turned down the offer. When Khan approached her with another film offer (to play the protagonist of the social drama Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat), Mukerji accepted the role due to her mother's insistence that she pursue acting on an experimental basis. Before she began work on the film, Mukerji trained at Roshan Taneja's acting institute. 
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