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The head that wears the crown- Rani Mukerji

Here are a few things you might not know about the queen of hearts – Rani Mukerji

Rani Mukerji while promoting her film Hitchki / Wikimedia Commons

The mere mention of her name conjures up cinema that Bollywood is proud of, not only has she given us some memorable characters, she has also taken the league of cinema a notch higher with her work. Be it a Bunty Aur Babli or a Mardaani or for that matter Hichki, she fits into anything you ask her to do and does an excellent job at it. Here are a few things you might not know about the queen of hearts – Rani Mukerji

21 March the day that she was born, the hospital mistakenly gave her mother the wrong baby but a mother being a mother, immediately noticed that the child she was given didn’t have the beautiful hazel eyes of the child she had birthed and Rani was handed back to her mother. What an eventful entry into the Mukerji family she had, it was obvious that she was meant to be a part of the legacy of cinema that comes with her surname. No one could keep them apart.

But when she started no one really thought much of her craft and talent. Except perhaps Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar. The two sat watching her scream her lungs out in Raja Ki Aayegi Baaraat playing a rape victim and saw potential. Of course, her hit in the form of Ghulam really helped acquire the film that finally secured her in the film industry-the film was Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and she died in the very first scene.

The film might be celebrated as a Shah Rukh Kajol hit, but there was no escaping Rani in that film. Farah Khan, who choreographed ‘Koi mil gaya…’ number vividly recollects Rani stealing the show from under SRK and Kajol’s nose. Not only did she do justice to her character, she made Tina immortal despite the likes of Twinkle Khanna to Raveena Tandon refusing to play the part.

What did it take for Rani to rub shoulders with actors like Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan while she was still wet behind the ears? An extremely supportive family and faith in herself. While Rani does come from the illustrious Mukerji clan, which was headed by Sashadhar Mukerji, the founder of Filmalaya studios, she comes from a separate branch of the family. 

A branch that might have made movies like Leader starring the great Dilip Kumar and Vyajanthimala but never really got their due, at least not in comparison to the illustrious side of the family. But as luck could have it, Rani’s stars aligned her with none other than Yash Raj Films – the banner that defines Bollywood in the day and age, today.

But the progression from being the poor relatives to that of being the queen of the biggest film family was gradual. Despite having made a grand splash with the leading Khans, Rani got saddled with films like Bichhoo, Hadh Kar Di Aupne till she finally got Saathiya (2002) and Black (2004) the films put her in a league of her own, far beyond the likes of what her relative and a much more popular actor, Kajol had achieved.

Rani is the only actor to have won the Filmfare Award for both Best Supporting Actress (Yuva) and the Best actress (Hum Tum) in the very same year, 2005. In fact, she is also the only actress to have won the Best actress (Critics) and the Best actress (Popular) for the same film Black [2006). Declaring there is no-one other than her, more fitting to wear the crown.

Comparisons with Kajol might have been inevitable but the comparisons and competition didn’t stop for Rani Mukerji even after she became one of the biggest names. Her first competition outside the family was Preity Zinta, she even played the second fiddle to her in Veer Zara but quickly turned tables with Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. Aishwarya Rai and Rani were good friends too but when it came to making movies – Rani sided the bigger star, viz Shah Rukh Khan and quietly took Ash’s spot in Chalte Chalte. The film which cemented her in the league of the Khans and perhaps soured her relationship with Aishwarya Rai for good. 

With each film she destroyed any thought of competition. So when Vidya Balan came into the scene with films like Parineeta, Guru, Paa, Ishqiya and more, Rani did a No One Killed Jessica where the reins were in her hands while Balan played the second fiddle. 

But while she fought tooth and nail, each time in the face of competitions, her dreams were always made of something beyond the limelight. Ironically, she found her happily-ever-after in the person who found potential in her as an actor and brought her from B-grade cinema to the very top ranks-Adi Chopra.

 While the two are extremely private about their lives, Rani let it slip that soon after his divorce Adi found love in her, but little did she know that Adi’s first memory of Rani was much before she became a popular actress it was from a dinner in a suburban restaurant, where she first caught his eye. The then much-married Aditya Chopra didn’t know what future had in store for them.

But according to close friends of the couple, it was when Ram Mukerji, Rani’s father fell ill and had to undergo cardiac surgery that he expressed his concern to Adi. The two were already a couple by then but there was nothing official about their relationship yet. On his hospital bed, Ram Mukerji was promised that Adi will marry Rani as soon as the discharge papers were signed.

What Rani didn’t know was that the quite man who doesn’t like to be in the media glare had planned her dream wedding for her in Italy. The director husband donned the Bengali groom’s clothes complete with the conch crown and a tiara for his bride making her fairy wedding come true.

With only 20 guests in attendance, there is not even a photograph of their wedding on social media but the queen gave her fans a little glimpse of her happiest day, when she shared, “ It was a beautiful wedding in the Italian countryside with just a few of our close family and friends with us. The one person I missed terribly was Yash uncle, but I know he was there with us in spirit and his love and blessings will always be with Adi and me. I have always believed in fairy tales and with God’s grace, my life has been exactly like one, and now, as I enter the most important chapter of my life, the fairy tale continues.”

Rani predicted correctly, the fairy tale for her continues because it was her husband who pushed her to get back to the movies after their beloved daughter Adira was born on December 9, 2015. 

Since then Rani had given us movies like Hichki, Mardaani 2, Bunty Aur Babli 2 and more recently Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway-re-establishing the fact queen of hearts is also the queen of acting no matter how many new names keep getting added to the list of competitors.

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