Rani Mukerji (born 21 March 1978) is an Indian film actress. Through her successful Bollywood (Hindi film) acting career, she has become one of the most high-profile celebrities in India. Mukerji has received seven Filmfare Awards (the most for an actress) from fourteen nominations, and her film roles have been cited as a significant departure from the traditional portrayal of women in mainstream Hindi cinema.
Although Mukerji was born into the Mukherjee-Samarth family, in which her parents and relatives were members of the Indian film industry, she did not aspire to pursue a career in film. However, while still a teenager she dabbled with acting by playing a supporting role in her father's 1992 Bengali language film Biyer Phool, and later accepted a leading role in the 1997 social drama Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat on the insistence of her mother. The following year, she began a full-time career in film and gained recognition for a supporting role in the blockbuster romance Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. After this initial success in her career, Mukerji's films fared poorly at the box office for the next three years. Her career prospects improved in 2002 when Yash Raj Films cast her as the star of the critically acclaimed relationship drama Saathiya.
By the year 2004, Mukerji had established herself as a leading actress of Bollywood with a primary role in the romantic comedy Hum Tum and supporting roles in the dramas Yuva and Veer-Zaara. She achieved further success for portraying a deaf, blind and mute woman in the highly acclaimed 2005 drama Black and an unfaithful wife in the 2006 box office hit Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. Mukerji's popularity declined from 2007 onwards, when she collaborated with Yash Raj Films on several commercially unsuccessful films. Critics attributed this to her poor choice of roles and her "monotonous pairing" with the same set of actors. The 2011 semi-biographical thriller No One Killed Jessica proved Mukerji's first commercial success in four years, and she followed it with a critically acclaimed performance in the 2012 supernatural thriller Talaash: The Answer Lies Within.
In addition to acting in films, Mukerji has been actively involved with several humanitarian causes and is vocal about issues faced by women and children. She has participated in concert tours and stage shows, and featured as a talent judge for the 2009 reality show Dance Premier League. Despite constant media speculation, she remains guarded about her personal life and is sometimes labelled a recluse by members of the media.