Monday, 29 November 2010

Diva Spotlight: Rani Mukerji

Born 21st March 1978, Rani grew up in a family well connected with the Hindi film industry. It was no surprise when she decided to join the line with her first film 'Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat' in 1997. The film tanked at the box office - but one thing was certain, this actress had balls. The young diva took a year-long break and returned with Aamir Khan in Vikram Bhatt's action film 'Ghulam' - the film was a success. 4 months later she was seen in Karan Johar's 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' with two of the biggest stars at the time: Shah Rukh Khan and her cousin Kajol. The film sealed her fate: she was an instant star. In 1999 she won numerous awards including Filmfare's Best Supporting Actress for her role as Tina in KKHH. At the same time she was flooded with film offers. And deciding it was a good idea, she signed on almost every one of them. She was working 18 hour days, with up to 17 films on hand at a time. Before the year ended, just a handful of these were released, with nothing of note, apart from a few hit songs. Over the next 2 years she had 10 releases - with none of them doing much for her career. During this time she had a hit pairing with fellow actress Preity Zinta with 'Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega' (2000) and 'Chori Chori Chupke Chupke' (2001), although it was Preity who walked away with most of the credit. 2002 saw a turn in her career with the film 'Saathiya'; it earned her the first Best Actress nomination of her career at the Filmfare Awards. She followed it in 2003 with another hit 'Chalte Chalte' with favourite Khan, Shah Rukh. Interestingly, she replaced her best friend at the time: Aishwarya Rai. And since then the 2 have not seen eye to eye. Rani didn't seem to care about her friends at this time, because for the first time her career was looking like it was on track and she was heading for the top. In 2004 she became the number one actress at the box office, churning out hit after hit: with all 3 of her releases doing exceptionally well. She swept all the awards the following year winning Best Actress for 'Hum Tum' and Best Supporting Actress for 'Yuva' and also getting nominated in the same category with 'Veer Zaara. Rani kept up her momentum in 2005 with the film of her career coming in the form of Sanjay Leela-Bhansali's 'Black'. It was this film that catapulted her from a mega star to a legend and in the league of the all-time greats such as Rekha, Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit. Her personal relationship with Abhishek Bachchan was no secret and she casually thanked him in her acceptance speeches in 2006; the 2 had worked together on the hit 'Bunty Aur Babli' (2005). It looked like the 2 were to get married and Rani would be the Queen of Bollywood for many years to come. However fate had other plans for her. In 2006, although successful at the box-office, her appeal started to fade. She seemed to have stopped taking risks with her roles; opting for the sobbing wife in her next three films: 'Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna' (2006); 'Baabul' (2006); 'Ta Ra Rum Pum' (2007). Although big films, they didn't do much for her status. Her engagement with Abhishek was broken during this time, and he soon started dating her ex-best friend: Aishwarya Rai (the two later tied the knot in Spring 2007). Rani however continued to play the hard-beaten female, a character people soon associated with her on a personal level too, which did not help matters. Although she earned nominations at Filmfare for Best Actress: 'Laaga Chunari Mein Daag' and Best Supporting Actress: 'Saawariya' at the 2008 awards, she did not win. At the same time her role as a fairy with Saif Ali Khan in 'Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic' failed miserably, and Rani had disappeared. In the meantime, the next generation of upcoming stars were staring to take over. It was the era of Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Katrina Kaif. Rani retured with a new look in Yash Chopra's 'Dil Bole Hadippa!' (2009); it was a minor success and she earned applause for her performance, her pairing with Shahid Kapoor the way she looked. Rani's star started to shine again. She made many public appearances for the promo and other events, and it looked like she was on a campaign to get to the top again. A whole year has gone by with no new Rani release. Her fans were getting impatient. All of a sudden everyone was wondering what her next move was going to be. Lo and behold, November 2010: Rani is BACK...! Teaming up with Vidya Balan for UTV's 'No One Killed Jessica' playing a reporter, Rani has created a huge buzz online and in the bollywood circles. The trailer is simply outstanding and the world is awaiting for Friday 7th January 2011 for the release of the film; and to see Rani kick butt once again. Welcome back!

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