By Radhika Bhirani
New Delhi, March 21 (IANS) She has come far since the days when she was better known only as Kajol's cousin sister. Now, Bollywood diva Rani Mukherji, who turned 30 Friday, is recognised for her powerful emoting and has made her position unshakeable in the Hindi film industry.
From the time she appeared in the 1996 box office dud "Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat" to her accomplished performance in "Black" (2005) - success has not come easy for the actress.
Her short and plump figure made her a difficult choice as the leading lady for many directors, but the Bengali actor proved everyone wrong with her acting prowess.
The 1998 film "Ghulam", opposite Aamir Khan, was a runaway success and overnight she came to be known as the "Khandala girl" from the song "Aati kya Khandala" in the film.
Then came Karan Johar's "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai" in the same year. Though she played a small role in the Kajol-Shah Rukh Khan starrer, Rani was noticed and liked by everyone. From then on, there was no looking back for the light-eyed beauty.
Rani has played a successful innings and given hits like "Black" (2005) "Bunty Aur Babli" (2005), "Paheli" (2005), "Veer-Zaara" (2004), "Hum Tum" (2004), "Yuva" (2004), "Chalte Chalte" (2003), "Saathiya" (2002), and "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham" (2001).
Last year, she worked in films like "Ta Ra Rum Pum", "Laaga Chunari Mein Daag", and "Saawariya" but unfortunately none was a hit at the box office.
Shruti Seth, an actor who has worked along side Rani in "Ta Ra Rum Pum", wished her immense success and happiness on her birthday.
"It was an absolute pleasure to work with Rani. She is a wonderful co-star. I wish her a lot of happiness and success in her life," Shruti told IANS.
It has been a tumultuous year for Rani. Her once much-guarded relationship with producer-director Aditya Chopra is now being much talked about. Rumours of a secret engagement between the reclusive Chopra and the actress are doing the rounds in the film fraternity.
In the past, Rani has been linked with comedy king Govinda and Abhishek Bachchan on more occasions than one.
She also hogged the limelight in 2007 for being duped in a land deal worth Rs.3.3 million in Shirdi, Maharashtra. She had apparently failed to check the primary documents for the piece of land that she wanted to purchase.
"Rani is a very talented actress, but she should be more selective about her roles," said Smriti Mishra, a student-fan of the actress.
Rani will feature in Kunal Kohli's as-yet-untitled venture slated for release this year. According to reports, she will be portraying Hema Malini's role in Raj Sippy's remake of his 1982 hit comedy, "Satte Pe Satta".