Rani Mukerji's Top 10 Performances
Rani Mukerji seems ready to prove she’s still got the fire with her latest offering, Mardaani.
It’s the ultimate Bollywood cliche.
Still, Rani Mukerji never thought of becoming an actress.
Even though she belonged to a film family -- her father Ram Mukerji is one of the founders of Filmalaya Studios -- Rani wasn’t drawn to the world of glamour until family friend and filmmaker Salim Akhtar approached her to play the central role in Raja Ki Aayegi Baarat.
Despite its feeble feminist theme and tacky production values, the young actress and her throaty dialogue delivery made an impression.
Rani quickly followed it up with a spunky delivery as Aamir Khan’s love interest, better known as the ‘Aati Kya Khandala’ girl, in Vikram Bhatt’s superhit Ghulam.
Following Karan Johar’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, where she held her own against two bonafide stars -- Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol -- there was no looking back for the light-eyed beauty and she graduated from a dazzling star to critic’s darling.
In a career that’s just a few years short of touching two decades, Rani has experienced all sorts of highs and lows. The rat race is no longer important for the 36-year-old, who recently tied the knot to longtime beau and filmmaker Aditya Chopra.
But in an industry, which is always ready to ring out the old in favour of the new, Rani is ready to prove she’s still got the fire with her latest offering, Mardaani.
Meanwhile, here’s a look at her Top 10 performances.
With Shaad Ali’s Saathiya, a remake of Mani Ratnam’s marital drama Alaipayuthey, Rani excelled like never before.
Her faultless understanding of a woman in love rebelling against everyone she holds dear to marry her sweetheart and then coping with her dreams and the reality brims with pluck and feeling.
No wonder she looked home in the similarly themed Chalte Chalte.
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Image: Rani Mukerji in Saathiya
Promoted like a whodunit, Reema Kagti’s film has more to do with loss and how its three key characters come to terms with it.
Rani Mukerji, as a mother mourning for her only child’s loss as well the vacuum it has created in her marriage to a husband refusing to communicate (played by Aamir Khan), is both spellbinding and heartbreaking.
Image: Rani Mukerji in Talaash
Hum Tum takes shameless inspiration from the Hollywood rom-com When Harry Met Sally but it’s to Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukerji’s credit, director Kunal Kohli didn’t get such a hard time for it.
The actress changes from an uppity college girl to a free-spirited bride and later a subdued widow to showcase her persuasive range and mouth one wonderful line about the world’s obsession with getting a woman married as if she has no other identity or occupation.
Image: Safi Ali Khan and Rani Mukerji in Hum Tum
One of the biggest high points in Rani’s career is her courageous portrayal of a deaf and mute girl in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black.
Her extensive homework shows in every single frame and earned her both -- acclaim and awards.
Image: Rani Mukerji in Black
Bunty Aur Babli
Proving herself to be equally adept at comedy, Rani lets her hair down as a small-town Sikhni intent on becoming rich and famous by making silly stooges out of gullible folk.
The trippy Bunty Aur Babli is yet another frothy example of the underrated Rani Mukerji-Shaad Ali chemistry.
Image: Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukerji in Bunty Aur Babli
Four different directors – Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap and Dibakar Banerjee -- serve a gift-wrapped tribute to cinema on its 100th birthday.
But it’s Johar who grabs most eyeballs.
His short, Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh, features lucky charm Rani as a woman-in-denial masquerading as a happy wife caught in a terribly disappointing marriage.
And it simply reiterates this -- when she’s she good, she’s mighty good.
Image: Rani Mukerji in Bombay Talkies
She may not have a titular part in Yash Chopra’s cross border romance Veer Zaara but Rani plays a crucial role in uniting its two aged lovers as the young lawyer fighting a courtroom battle.
While most actors tend to get carried away in an attorney’s suit, Rani’s restraint marks a welcome change.
Image: Rani Mukerji in Veer Zaara
Mani Ratnam’s Yuva opened to mixed responses but on one aspect the opinion stayed unanimous -- Rani rocks.
As Abhishek Bachchan’s feisty Bengali wife getting the short end of the stick every single time, the actress wins the viewer’s sympathy with her vulnerability.
Image: Rani Mukerji and Abhishek Bachchan in Yuva
Dil Bole Hadippa
Rani Mukerji pulls out all the stops to play a girl pretending to be a Sardar boy to gain entry in a cricket team.
Though Dil Bole Hadippa is far from entertaining, it would be cruel to overlook Rani’s antics and enthusiasm.
Image: Rani Mukerji in Dil Bole Hadippa
Painted in rich hues of red and gold, Amol Palekar’s Paheli is a treat for the eyes.
And so is Rani Mukerji’s resplendent glow as Shah Rukh Khan’s young, naïve bride who falls for his lookalike spirit and soaks in the romance of a newly married life.
Devoid of theatrics and artifice, there’s tenderness to Rani’s performance, the kind our spectacle-accustomed audience seldom cares to appreciate.
Image: Rani Mukerji in Paheli