Spotlight: Kajol

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Kajol Mukherjee (Devgan) is someone who has always managed to win the hearts of both critics and millions of fans around the world; she is often regarded as a Bollywood legend. Throughout her commendable career, she has proven herself worthy of this honor, with numerous critically acclaimed and commercially successful films under her belt. Her forte lies in challenging roles, which motivate and bring out the best in her; moreover, she will never accept a role that she has portrayed on screen before. With her husband, Ajay Devgan’s directorial debut, U Me Aur Hum, starring the real and reel-life couple set to release, we take the time to see why Kajol truly is one of the best Bollywood has to offer.

Born on the 5th of August 1975 to film producer Shomu Mukherjee and award-winning actress Tanuja, Kajol belongs to a well-known and reputable family with a long history in the film industry. Her younger sister Tanisha and cousin Rani Mukherjee are also well-known film actresses. She comes from a Bengali-Marathi background; her mother being Marathi and her father being Bengali. On February 24, 1999, she married one of Bollywood’s most talented actors, Ajay Devgan; she had been dating him since 1994. The wedding was a quiet ceremony with only close friends and family invited. Four years later, in April, she gave birth to Nysa, her daughter.

Educated in Panchgani’s St. Josephs Convent, Kajol was an average student but one who took a shine to English Literature. Soon, Bollywood beckoned and she left school to enter the film industry in 1992 at the age of sixteen. She debuted in Bekhudi; while the movie failed to impress at the box office, Kajol was noticed for her outstanding performance, setting the stage for a long and illustrious career ahead.

Kajol’s first hit came in 1993 when she worked alongside Shah Rukh Khan for the first time in Baazigar. A year later, she earned her first nomination for the Best Actress award at Filmfare, for her first Yash Raj film titled Yeh Dillagi , co-starring Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan. She also won a Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Best Actress award for Udhaar Ki Zindagi that year.

1995 proved to be an even more successful year for Kajol, as she starred alongside Shah Rukh for two major hits. Rakesh Roshan’s commercial hit Karan Arjun and Aditya Chopra’s Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. These movies firmly established the undeniably sizzling chemistry that she shared with Shah Rukh Khan and the latter movie earned her her first Filmfare Award for Best Actress that year. Furthermore, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge has proven to be one of the biggest Hindi cinema releases of all time: 650 weeks and still running. Ten years after its release, one reviewer said, “Aditya, who made his directorial debut with DDLJ, wisely picked Kajol to play Simran, the real-as-life actress bringing warmth and credulity to the initially prudish and reluctant Simran. Not to mention the on-screen chemistry that has become the stuff of legend.”

The year of 1996 wasn’t as successful as the previous years, with the release of Bambai Ka Babu alongside Saif Ali Khan, which crashed at the box office. Undaunted, Kajol went on to become the first actress to win the Filmfare Best Villian Award in 1997, with the smash hit Gupt: The Hidden Truth, co-starring Bobby Deol and Manisha Koirala. Of her perfomance one review said, “Kajol, on the other hand, is given her opportunity to stun us in more scenes than Manisha and she delivers brilliantly. Wowza!”

Kajol also released her first Tamil movie Minsaara Kanavu that year, bagging Kajol her first Best Actress Award at the Filmfare Awards South. She was also paired with her future husband Ajay Devgan, in the successful film Ishq. However, with every up there’s a down and her next release that year, Hamesha saw box office failure.

In 1998, Kajol’s career rose again to new heights as she starred in four successful movies: Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya, Dushman, Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha and Karan Johar’s directorial debut, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is one of Kajol’s most beloved performances and she was praised for her role as Anjali, “Kajol has a lot of work ahead of her. What do I mean? She needs to start clearing her bookshelves as the awards are about to start pouring in. She is simply brilliant as the gawky, outspoken tomboy who transforms herself into the demure, sexy siren,“ said one review. Her performance in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai won her, her second Filmfare Best Actress award. That year Kajol also played a double role in Dushman and for that role she won her first Star Screen Best Actress Award.

The year 1999 was a memorable one for both Kajol and her fans as she married Ajay Devgan. She also released two movies that year: Dil Kya Kare and Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain, which lead Kajol to win yet another Best Actress Filmfare award. Following that was Raju Chacha starring her and her husband, in the year 2000.

In 2001, Kajol was seen in Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi where she played a double role again. Her second movie with director Karan Johar, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham also released that year and went on to become a huge success. The movie won her, her third Filmfare Best Actress Award and her second Star Screen Best Actress Award. This is another role that if one thinks about Kajol’s body of work, her turn as Anjali Sharma Raichand will always be remembered. The critics agreed and one wrote, “On to the female cast, Kajol is the winner here folks. Those that said Johar gives his best to Kajol couldn’t be closer to the truth (Even if this is only their second collaboration). Her Punjabi accent is commendable, not perfect, but awesome nonetheless. It’s her well balanced act between comedy and emotion that strikes at the viewer, and more so, it’s the lingering memory of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai that one can’t relinquish that makes us enjoy her awesome performance even more (probably because her last two releases were duds). Not only does she look awesome she is the highlight of the film and thankfully, she’s all over it! I only hope this isn’t her last film, clearly we would be the only one losing out if it is.”

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham was Kajol’s last movie before she took a break from acting to give birth to her daughter Nysa in 2003. Her well-deserved break was extended as she took time out to spend with her daughter and her family. ‘My daughter Nysa and Ajay are my top priority in life. However much I may be busy with work, I always find out time for my daughter. I drop her to school everyday. Ajay, Nysa and I always have dinner together. Our lives are incomplete without her. Ajay dotes on her and just a look from her is enough to melt him. She is very naughty and we try to fulfill almost every wish of hers. But she also gets the stick when she becomes stubborn. Right now, my priority is to give her a nice upbringing.’

To the delight of her fans, she made her much awaited comeback in the year 2006 alongside Aamir Khan in Kunal Kholi’s Fanaa winning her, her fourth Filmfare Best Actress Award. ‘Kajol has given an unmatchable and scintillating performance and she has shown why she is still the best in the trade’ declared Kunal Kholi on Kajol’s performance in Fanaa.” The huge successes of this film and her earlier films have proven that she is not only talented but one of the most popular actresses in Bollywood today.

As well as the numerous awards noted above, Kajol has also won Aashirwad Awards Best Actress Award, Bollywood Awards Best Actress Award, Sansui Viewers’ Choice Awards Best Actress Award, 5th Annual Rajiv Gandhi Award and Radio Sargam Bollywood Best Actress Award. She truly is a powerhouse of talent. Furthermore, whilst juggling family life with her illustrious career, Kajol is also the brand ambassador, for popular brands such as Whirlpool, along with her husband Ajay.

It is an indisputable fact that Kajol shares a very popular on-screen relationship with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan. It’s difficult to discuss Kajol’s career without noting the undeniable chemistry that she shares with him on-screen. They created some of Bollywood’s most memorable love stories together and their pairing has a large fan following of its own. With their last film being in 2001, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, fans just can’t get enough of this on-screen pair and eagerly hope and wait for their next film together.

With undeniable talent, beauty and charisma, it’s no small wonder that this award-winning actress is a super hit in Bollywood with a large fan following. There remains no doubt that she belongs on the same pedestal as other legendary actresses of the Bollywood film industry. Here at BollySpice, we can’t wait to see what she has in store for us in U Me Aur Hum and are sure that the magic of Kajol will once again spellbind us all.

Fun Facts:

Kajol considers her behavior early in her career to be rather childish but feels that over time, she has overcome this and grown more mature.

For Kajol and Ajay’s honeymoon, they visited Europe, Egypt and Australia.

Kajol was the original choice for Rani’s role in Chalte Chalte but due to the fact she was planning a family, she couldn’t take part in the film.

Favourite actors: “None in particular. I like to watch films basically. I love old Hollywood classics like Gone With The Wind, Casablanca et al. I like different actors for the different characters they have enacted in certain films.”

Favourite actress : Tanuja [her mother] and Tanisha [her sister]

Favourite books: “Hugh Prather’s Note To Myself. I’m avid reader and I love to science fiction and horror novels”

Favourite food: “ I’m a food freak. I will eat anything at time. I love Bengali sweets. If I’m working I eat light just spaghetti salad with olives.”

Favourite music: “I like to listen to old Hindi film songs. They have a certain innocence about them.”

Favourite color: White

Favourite vacation spot: Europe

Favourite perfume: Cool Waters

Stars Take on Kajol:

“Kajol is a fantastic actor and a complete natural. I don’t think there is any difference in Kajol whether the camera is on or off. From Kajol, I’ve learnt how not to take yourself too seriously and to do the shot as naturally as possible, because it’s not rocket science.” – Saif Ali Khan

“Kajol has been my idol and I really look up to her.”- Kareena Kapoor

“Well, Kajol’s a lovely lady! She’s a pleasure to work with and I really enjoy her company! She has the ability to make someone feel so important…she herself is really cheerful and she makes others around her feel cheerful too. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen her cry…except in front of the camera of course! I believe she has the potential to go so far. She is such an inspiration to everyone around her…..including me!”- Shah Rukh Khan

”There is something about Kajol. Every time you see her, you cannot stop to admire her. She has got such a tremendous screen presence. She give to her every character such fantastic lives. There is something about her that makes you love her. She’s got a lively presence in herself. For example, I was recently watching the promos of ‘U Me Aur Hum’. There was something about the film. I just wanted to go and see it,” – Katrina Kaif

“I like Kajol because of her vivaciousness and energy. She has such tremendous energy levels. She can hold the audiences’ eyes.” – Dia Mirza

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