Kajol Devgan, née Mukherjee (Bengali: কাজল দেবগন Kajol Debgôn, Hindi: काजोल देवगन), born August 5, 1975 in Mumbai, India, popularly known as Kajol, is a Hindi film actress.
Kajol made her acting debut with Bekhudi (1992) and had her first hit with her second film Baazigar (1993) along with Shahrukh Khan, with whom she later went to deliver some of the biggest Bollywood hits like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995) and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998). Her performances in both the films were praised and earned her two Filmfare Best Actress Awards. After the successful Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham released in 2001, she took a sabbatical from full time acting for five years. She made a successful comeback with Kunal Kohli's Fanaa (2006), for which she received her fourth Best Actress award at the Filmfare ceremony. During her career years, she has been part of many critically and commercially successful films, and is regarded as one of India's most successful actresses.
Main article: Mukherjee-Samarth family (film)
Touted as one of the best actresses in Bollywood, Kajol, who is of Bengali-Marathi descent, in fact belongs to a family tree with a long respectable history in the Indian cinema. Her mother Tanuja is a renowned actress, whilst her late father Shomu Mukherjee was a film producer. Her late maternal aunt, Nutan is the record holder for the most (five times) Filmfare Awards for Best Actress. Late maternal grandmother Shobhna Samarth and great grandmother Rattan Bai had both been influential figures in the early stages of Hindi cinema.
Her paternal uncles are film producers; Joy Mukherjee and Deb Mukherjee. Kajol's paternal grandfather, Sashadhar Mukherjee, was a filmmaker. His wife Satirani Devi, Kajol's paternal grandmother, was the sister of three famous film personalities, Ashok Kumar, Anoop Kumar and Kishore Kumar. Kajol's cousins Rani Mukerji, Sharbani Mukherjee and Mohnish Behl are also Bollywood actors. Kajol's younger sister Tanisha Mukherjee has recently started a film career.
Kajol married Bollywood actor Ajay Devgan on February 24, 1999. On April 20, 2003, she gave birth to a daughter named Nysa, which means Goddess of purity.
On April 10, 2008, Kajol's father passed away after suffering from a cardiac arrest. His funeral was held the same day and was attended by other Bollywood personalities.
Kajol left her school St. Josephs convent at Panchgani and started her career at the age of seventeen. Although her debut film, Bekhudi (1992) was not a great success at the box office, her performance was noticed and she went on to work with big production houses in India.
In 1993, she shot to fame with her second film, Baazigar, opposite Shahrukh Khan. The film was her first major hit, and her pairing with Khan proved to be appreciated. She later went on to make a popular pairing with him in a number of films, all of which were box office successes.
Her first release in 1994, Udhaar Ki Zindagi, was a box-office failure. Despite that, her performance in the film was much appreciated by critics, and she won the BFJA Best Actress Award for this film. She next starred in her first Yash Raj Film, the romantic drama Yeh Dillagi, co-starring opposite Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan. The film was a box office success and her performance as Sapna, a strong dreamy girl who leaves her paternal home to make her own life in the big city, earned Kajol her first nomination for Best Actress award at the Filmfare.
1995 proved to be a very good year for Kajol. She went on to star alongside Shahrukh Khan in two of the year's biggest hits. Her first release was Rakesh Roshan's Karan Arjun. The film, which dealt with reincarnation, became the second biggest hit of the year. While three of her next releases that year failed at the box office, her last release, Aditya Chopra's directorial debut, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, was not only the biggest hit of that year, but one of the biggest hits of Hindi cinema ever. The film has entered its twelfth year in Mumbai theaters, grossing over 12 billion rupees overall, making it one of the biggest film blockbusters in Bollywood. Kajol's performance in the film was praised, and she received her first Filmfare Best Actress Award.
Kajol had only one release in 1996, Bambai Ka Babu, opposite Saif Ali Khan, which was a major box office failure.
In 1997, Kajol she starred in Gupt: The Hidden Truth. Co-starring actors Bobby Deol and Manisha Koirala, the film was one of the highest grossing films of that year. Apart from that, her performance was a significant development for female actors in Bollywood; she was the first female actor to win the Filmfare Best Villain Award. She next starred in Hamesha. Like Karan Arjun, the film dealt with the topic of reincarnation. However, unlike the latter, it was a box office failure. She next starred in her first Tamil film, Minsaara Kanavu. The film was a major critical success and Kajol won her first Best Actress award at the Filmfare Awards South ceremony. Her last release that year was the romantic-comedy Ishq, where she was paired with her then future husband, Ajay Devgan, which did well at the box office.
Kajol had further success in 1998, as she starred in three of the year's biggest hits. She first starred opposite Salman Khan in the comedy Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya. The film was the fourth highest grossing film of the year. Her next release, Dushman alongside Sanjay Dutt, did moderately well at the box office. She had a double role in the film, and won her first Star Screen Award Best Actress for her performance. She next starred opposite Ajay Devgan in the romance Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha, which was the second biggest hit of that year. However, her biggest success that year came with her last release, Karan Johar's directorial debut, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Starring opposite Shahrukh Khan, the romance went on to become the biggest hit of the year in both India and overseas. Additionally, she won her second Filmfare Best Actress Award for her performance.
Kajol signs autographs
Kajol's first release in 1999 was the drama film Dil Kya Kare. She played the supporting role of Nandita Rai, which was well received. However, the film flopped. She had a hit with her second release, the family drama Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain. Starring alongside Anil Kapoor, Kajol received another Best Actress nomination at the Filmfare.
She had an unsuccessful year in 2000, as her only release that year, Raju Chacha went unnoticed.
Kajol had only two films released in 2001. She first played a double role in the drama Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi, which was a major commercial failure. However, she reinvented her success in her second venture with Karan Johar, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, which was one of the biggest hits of the year, and for which she won several Best Actress awards, including her third Filmfare Best Actress Award and her second Star Screen Award Best Actress. Critic Taran Adarsh, wrote of her performance in the film, "Kajol is first-rate in the role of a typical Chandni Chowk lass. Her Punjabi dialect will win her immense praise. The sequence when she seeks Amitabh's aashirwad, without him knowing about it, is terrific." Following the success of Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Kajol took a sabbatical from full time acting for five years. She gave birth to her daughter Nysa in 2003.
She made a successful comeback in 2006 with Kunal Kohli's drama Fanaa, one of the highest grossing films of the year. Portraying a blind Kashmiri girl who falls in love with a Kashmiri terrorist (played by Aamir Khan) in the film, she won her fourth Filmfare Best Actress Award, which placed her at par with other famous Bollywood actresses, Meena Kumari and Madhuri Dixit, each of whom holds 4 Best Actress awards from Filmfare. (Kajol's late aunt, Nutan currently holds the record for five such awards.) Kajol's latest release, U, Me aur Hum, which released on April 11, 2008, marked her husband's directorial debut; the film performed moderately at the box office.
In 2005, she appeared on the TV show Kaun Banega Crorepati (the Indian version of Who wants to be a millionaire?) hosted by Amitabh Bachchan. She was paired with her husband Ajay Devgan. They won 1 crore (10 million) rupees and donated them to a cancer hospital in Chennai. She has also appeared on Indian Idol, seasons one and two, as a guest judge.
She also appeared on Karan Johar's talk show Koffee with Karan with Shahrukh Khan on the first episode. Back again with Season 2 of Koffee with Karan, Karan's first episode started with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai reunion. After almost a decade since his directorial debut Karan invited her along with Shahrukh and Rani Mukerji. She modeled and walked the ramp for Manish Malhotra's fashion display Fashion Week 2006, titled Freedom, along with actress Preity Zinta.