Rani Mukherjee

- Vikram Chandiramani 

Rani Mukherjee has overshadowed her contemporaries in the recent years with performances like she gave in Black (plying a blind girl) and Veer Zaara, and had almost walked in the life of Bachchans as a possible candidate for Abhishek till Jaya Bachchan vetoed the idea. She is where all her contemporaries would wish to be. 

Besides the obvious talent and hard work that has helped her climb the ladder of success despite a hoarse voice, her asset is an ability to get along with everyone who counts. Rani may be the only big name who gets along with the three Khans famously.

A look at the ready for release films or her recent films shows how big the girl who started with a flop has become. Saawariya and London Dreams are her forthcoming films Rani was in Aamir Khan’s The Rising: Mangal Panday, Paheli, Bunty aur Babli, Hum Tum, Chalte Chalte, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum, Chori Chori Chupke Chupke and several prestigious films.

Rani's performance in 'Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna' went unnoticed because the movie didn't do well at the box office. Rani has a personae that lights up the screen and fills it with a restrained performance.

This is why she stole the show and hearts in Ghulam.

The hotels and shopkeepers in Khandala should honour Rani Mukherjee, the girl who danced and made everyone curious about a hill station called Khandala. It was all because Aamir Khan, playing a tapori in 'Ghulam' asked her, 'Aati Kya Khandala?' For months after that it became a 'national' song and its echoes were heard at street corners and in ad jingles.

Rani's smile and twinkling eyes won her a place in the hearts of the moviegoers. Daughter of Ram Mukherjee, the founder-director of Filmalaya Studio, Rani has a famous cousin in Kajol. Rani had made a disastrous debut in 'Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat'. 'Ghulam' was a U-turn. Mukesh Bhatt had spent a package on the massive publicity, had even bought and placed real drain pipes on all the hoardings to let the tapori lean against to made a neat packet. Rani was the beneficiary.

The graph repeated itself, again. After a dud called 'Mehndi', Rani emerged victorious in 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai'. The combination was interesting. Kajol and Rani were cousins, and sparks were expected between them.

Rani had almost a guest appearance, and it was Kajol who gets the guy in the end. Nevertheless, 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' became Rani's film and her presence could be sensed all through the movie. Kajol as the rather non-glamourous, tom-boyish girl friend of Shah Rukh, who is fascinated by the beautiful Rani, and marries her. A heart-broken Kajol leaves him 'forever'. Rani dies young, leaving behind a girl child and letters to her. She knew how Kajol loved her man and wanted her daughter to bring them together! Mushy stuff which has touched the chords.

Rani Mukherjee, along with Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan signed one of the most lavishly paid ad film for Pepsi. Producers stood in queue with bagfuls of currency notes and Rani chose films with Khans. Rani at the moment is not as hot as she once was.