Biography - Kajol was born in Mumbai to a film-oriented family of Bengali-Marathi descent. Her mother, Tanuja, is an actress, while her father Shomu Mukherjee was a film director and producer. He died in the year 2008, after suffering from a cardiac arrest. Her younger sister, Tanisha Mukherjee is also an actress. Her maternal aunt was the late actress Nutan and her maternal grandmother, Shobhna Samarth, and great grandmother, Rattan Bai, were both involved in Hindi cinema. Her paternal uncles, Joy Mukherjee and Deb Mukherjee, are film producers, while her paternal grandfather, Sashadhar Mukherjee, was a filmmaker. Kajol's cousins Rani Mukerji, Sharbani Mukherjee and Mohnish Behl are also Bollywood actors; whereas another cousin of hers, Ayan Mukerji is a director.
Kajol describes herself as being "extremely mischievous" as a child. She added that she was stubborn and impulsive from a very young age. Her parents separated when she was young. In the absence of her mother, Kajol was looked after by her maternal grandmother.
Kajol studied at the St Joseph Convent boarding school in Panchgani, where she was appointed as the head girl. At the age of sixteen, she began work on Rahul Rawail's film Bekhudi, which according to her was a "big dose of luck". She initially intended to return to school after shooting for the film during her summer vacations. However, she eventually dropped out of school as acting was on her mind.
Bekhudi, which released in 1992, turned out to be a commercial failure. However, her performance in the film was noticed and she was signed for Baazigar (1993), a thriller by Abbas-Mustan, which emerged as a major commercial success. The film, which also starred Shahrukh Khan, Shilpa Shetty and Siddharth Ray, saw her portray the leading role of Priya Chopra, a girl who falls in love with her sister's killer. The film marked the first of her many collaborations with Khan.
In 1994, Kajol featured in the melodrama Udhaar Ki Zindagi, as the granddaughter of the character played by Jeetendra. The film, which was a remake of the Telugu film, Seetharamaiah Gari Manavaralu, failed to do well at the box-office. She subsequently starred and earned public recognition with Yash Raj Films's hit romantic drama Yeh Dillagi, alongside Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan. The film, which was an unofficial remake of the Hollywood film Sabrina, narrated the story of a chauffeur's daughter who aspires to become a model. Her performance in the film fetched Kajol her first Best Actress nomination at the annual Filmfare Awards.
In 1995, Kajol starred in two major commercial successes, Rakesh Roshan's Karan Arjun and Aditya Chopra's Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, both opposite Shah Rukh Khan. The former was a melodramatic thriller, based on the concept of reincarnation, in which she played Sonia Saxena, a supporting character who forms the love interest of Khan. The film eventually emerged as the second-highest grossing film of the year in India. Her other release, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, was not only the biggest commercial success of 1995, but also one of the most successful films of all time in India. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was also a major critical success; it won ten Filmfare Awards, and Kajol's performance as Simran Singh, a young NRI from London who falls for Shahrukh Khan's character was praised, earning her a first Filmfare Award for Best Actress. In 1995, she also acted opposite Ajay Devgn in two commercially unsuccessful films, Hulchul and Gundaraj. In 1996, Kajol starred in the action drama Bambai Ka Babu, opposite Saif Ali Khan, which emerged as a critical and commercial disaster.
In 1997, her portrayal of a psychopath killer in Rajiv Rai's Gupt: The Hidden Truth, was lauded by critics and proved to be a major turning point in her career. The thriller, which co-starred Bobby Deol and Manisha Koirala, also emerged as a major commercial success. Kajol eventually became the first woman to be nominated in and win the Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role.
Kajol then starred as an aspiring nun in Rajiv Menon's Tamil film, Minsaara Kanavu opposite Arvind Swamy and Prabhu Deva. The film was dubbed in Hindi as Sapnay and released in Northern India. The original Tamil version was a box-office success, but the dubbed version emerged as a commercial failure. Her next release was Indra Kumar's romantic comedy Ishq alongside Aamir Khan, Juhi Chawla and Ajay Devgan, in which she played Kajal, a poor girl in love with a rich boy, played by Devgn. Upon release, the film emerged as a commercial success.
In March 1998, Kajol appeared in her first hit of the year, Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya, in which she played Muskaan Thakur, the love interest of Salman Khan. In her next release, Dushman, Kajol played the dual role of twin sisters, Sonia and Naina Saigal. The film, which revolved around Naina avenging the murder of her sister, won Kajol critical appreciation. She next starred opposite Ajay Devgan in the romantic comedy Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha, a remake of the Hollywood hit French Kiss as Sanjana, a clumsy woman who travels from Paris to India in search of her philandering fiancé. The film emerged as her second commercial success that year and fetched her another Best Actress nomination at the Filmfare.
However, her biggest success that year was her final release, Karan Johar's directorial debut, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Co-starring Shah Rukh Khan and her cousin Rani Mukerji, the film emerged as a blockbuster in both India. Kajol played Anjali Sharma, a tomboy, who is secretly in love with her best friend, played by Khan. She eventually won the Best Actress award at the 44th Filmfare Awards ceremony for her performance in the film.
In 1999, Kajol featured in a supporting role opposite Ajay Devgn, post their marriage, in Prakash Jha's drama Dil Kya Kare. Upon release, the film met with largely negative reviews. Commercially too, the film failed to do well. However, her next release, the woman's film Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain emerged as a critical and commercial success. Starring alongside Anil Kapoor, Kajol received another Best Actress nomination at the Filmfare ceremony for her portrayal of Megha, the deceived wife of Kapoor's character. The film met with wide media coverage for being one of the few woman-centered films to emerge as a commercial success in India.
In 2000, Kajol featured alongside her husband once again, in his home-production Raju Chacha. The children's film, with a production cost of INR30 crore was described as the "most expensive Bollywood film ever", at the time. Upon release, the film met with negative reviews and flopped at the box-office. Her first release of 2001 was the comedy Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi, where she played the double role of Tina and Sweety Khanna, twin sisters who are separated at birth. The film was a major commercial failure and fetched negative reviews from critics.
Later that year, she played a leading role in Karan Johar's family drama Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham..., which was a blockbuster in India. Also featuring Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor in prominent roles, Kajol played the role of Anjali Sharma, a young Punjabi woman from Delhi's Chandni Chowk area, who falls for the rich Rahul Raichand, played by Khan. Her comic-dramatic performance met with unanimous critical acclaim and won her several awards, including her third Filmfare Award and her second Screen Award in the Best Actress category.
Following the success of Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham..., Kajol took a sabbatical from full-time acting.
Kajol returned to films in 2006 with Kunal Kohli's romantic thriller Fanaa, opposite Aamir Khan. The film emerged as a "super hit" at the box-office. She portrayed the role of Zooni Ali Beg, a blind Kashmiri girl who falls in love with a terrorist, played by Khan. Despite its commercial success, critics were less positive about the film. Her work in Fanaa fetched Kajol a fourth Filmfare Award for Best Actress.
After the success of Fanaa, Kajol worked intermittently through the rest of the decade. She next starred in her husband's directorial debut film, U Me Aur Hum (2008) as Piya, a woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Upon release, the film performed moderately well at the box-office and earned positive critical reviews for her performance.
Kajol was next cast opposite Shahrukh Khan in Karan Johar's My Name Is Khan, a drama based on the ethnic profiling and discrimination faced by American Muslims post the 9/11 terrorist attacks. My Name Is Khan released in February 2010 to mainly positive reviews and emerged as an international success. Kajol's portrayal of Mandira, a divorced, Hindu single mother who marries a Muslim autistic man was praised by critics. Kajol won her fifth Best Actress award at the Filmfare for the film, thereby sharing the record with her aunt, Nutan.
She next starred alongside Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Rampal in Siddharth Malhotra's We Are Family, an official adaptation of the Hollywood tearjerker Stepmom (1998). Her final release of the year was Toonpur Ka Super Hero, a live-action/animated film, opposite Ajay Devgn. The film was a critical and commercial failure and fetched Kajol mostly negative reviews for playing a role that provided her with "no scope" to perform.
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