Rani Mukerji’s 35th: Reminiscing Moments When The Queen Stole Our Hearts

Sultry actress Rani Mukerji turns 35 today and on this occasion we trace her ten most memorable of performances.

Yet another birthday in Bollywood! Sultry actress Rani Mukerji turns 35 today and on this occasion we trace her ten most memorable of performances.

Rani too descends from a family that has been into films for very long; Hindi or Bengali, Rani’s kin have been involved in various spheres of filmmaking.

10. Rani was already an actress recognized for her work but Karan Johar’s ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ established Rani as an actress of worth. In this film, Rani played the role of a bubbly teenager who is the heartthrob of the entire college. As the decade of the 90s edged to a close, this performance by Rani marked her advent into the line of successful actresses.

9. In ‘Dil Bole Hadippa’ Rani made a move that had been much less tried in the Bollywood scenario; she dressed as a boy! While some criticized her for the transformation of an attractive lady into a rugged male, others say kudos to her offbeat act and attitude. Another of Rani’s performances that was out of the box and followed a light note for most part was her enactment of con-woman Babli in ‘Bunti Aur Babli’.

8. ‘Hum Tum’ was a film that brought out the versatility in Rani’s acting. From being a tomboyish and spirited young girl to a docile widow, Rani played her part to the best. Starring opposite Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukerji portrayed the transition of time and circumstance rather well.

7. In the film ‘Paheli’ by Amol Palekar, Rani plays the protagonist. A woman torn between fact and love, she is posed with a mighty question of right and wrong; her husband versus a ghost! Rani has given a great performance of a newly-wed young Rajasthani bride who like many others faced separation from her husband for long periods of time. The gloom of parting and the rejoicing of finding adulation from a loving ghost…

6. In Yash Chopra’s ‘Veer Zaara’  Rani Mukerji played a Pakistani advocate with a positive outlook. Her character was that of a kind-hearted lawyer who hates to see injustice being meted out. In a role close to Cupid’s, the relationship between Rani and the characters in the film is intense. It is all about bridging the gaps that have formed through years of baseless violence, hatred and animosity.

5. Starring opposite Vivek Oberoi, Rani Mukerji gave a very critically and publicly acclaimed performance in ‘Saathiya’. Her role was of this young M.B.B.S. student who had taken an early plunge into marital life. Her role was about standing by decisions she had taken. Her portrayal of “Suhani” won her accolades the world over.

4. Rani has played a prostitute with a heart of gold in two movies: ‘Saawariya’ and ‘Mangal Pandey- The Rising’. Her characters included being nubile but innocent at the same time. This was the reflection of the “humanness” of sex workers…

3. ‘No One Killed Jessica’ is a movie based on an unfortunate real life incident. In this film Rani took up the role of journalist, who in her own words, is “a man”! Even with the sensitive nature of the role and the additional responsibility of this strong character being responsible to take the story forward, Rani managed it beautifully and gave a worthy performance.

2. In ‘Hey Ram’ Rani Mukerji played “Aparna Ram” whose husband (Kamal Haasan) is among many who did not approve of Gandhiji’s tactics and set out to assassinate him. Rani portrayed emotions ranging from love, happiness and illness rather effortlessly. This film also went on to be our official entry to the Oscars.

1. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Black’ was based loosely on the life of Helen Keller and is the story of grit and potential. Being impaired in various ways, the character played by Rani was undoubtedly very difficult to accomplish and that there has been tremendous effort behind its execution. To this date, this performance is remembered fondly as what stimulated a teary (Only because they were moved by what they saw on screen!) audience and is no doubt the best performance by Rani so far…

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Samyukta Shastri

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