Celebrating Rani Mukerji: A Tribute to Her Trailblazing Roles in Women-Led Films

As the calendar marks March 21, Rani Mukerji, one of Hindi cinema’s most versatile actresses, celebrates her birthday. Having made her screen debut in 1996 with the socially conscious film ‘Raja Ki Aayegi Baaraat’, Mukerji has since evolved from a beloved romantic heroine into a champion of women-centric cinema. We commemorate her special day by highlighting some of her most impactful roles that have centered on strong female narratives.

In ‘Mrs. Chatterjee vs Norway’, we witness Mukerji portraying the indomitable spirit of an immigrant mother embroiled in a fierce legal battle to regain custody of her children. Under the direction of Ashima Chibber, the film not only showcases Rani’s deep emotional range but also stars the talented Neena Gupta, Jim Sarbh, and Anirban Bhattacharya, weaving a poignant tale of maternal love and resilience.

Rani Mukerji’s powerhouse performance in ‘Mardaani 2’ sees her reprising the role of Superintendent of Police Shivani Shivaji Roy. This high-stakes thriller brings audiences to the edge of their seats as Mukerji’s character races against time to apprehend a remorseless serial rapist targeting women. This sequel follows the highly successful and critically acclaimed ‘Mardaani’, where she first took on the mantle of the relentless police officer dismantling a child trafficking ring with unyielding determination and grit.

One of Mukerji’s most memorable roles comes in ‘Hichki’, an adaptation of Brad Cohen’s autobiography ‘Front of the Class’. Rani plays an inspiring teacher with Tourette syndrome who transforms her struggles with the neurological condition into a source of strength. The narrative follows her journey as she overcomes skepticism and resistance from her students hailing from less privileged backgrounds, drawing out their potential through her unwavering commitment to their education.

Moreover, ‘No One Killed Jessica’ saw Rani Mukerji stepping into the shoes of a tenacious journalist pursuing justice in the aftermath of the notorious murder of Jessica Lal. Alongside Vidya Balan, who portrays Sabrina Lal, the film is a powerful ode to the relentlessness of the human spirit in seeking truth and accountability.

Rani’s craft reached new heights with the critically lauded ‘Black’, directed by the visionary Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Released in 2005, this film features Mukerji in one of her most challenging roles, playing a deaf, mute, and blind woman with unyielding fortitude, guided by the steadfast support of her teacher portrayed by Amitabh Bachchan. The masterful performances of the leads, along with the film’s heartfelt narrative, made ‘Black’ a box office success and a perennial favorite amongst audiences and critics alike.

As Rani Mukerji’s birthday arrives, it provides an apt moment to reflect on the impressive legacy that she’s built as an actress unafraid to delve into uncharted thematic territories. Her portrayals transcend the traditional boundaries of Indian cinema’s leading ladies and stand as testaments to female empowerment and resilience. Here’s to the illustrious career of an actress who continues to inspire and captivate with every role she undertakes—Happy Birthday, Rani Mukerji!

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