Kajol Mukherjee, also known by her married name Kajol Devgan, is a popular Indian movie actress known mostly for her work in Hindi cinema. Over her career so far, she has won six Filmfare awards, and has also managed to become one of the best known and highest-paid actresses of the Bollywood film industry. Kajol made her film debut with the film 'Bekhudi'. Shortly after, she appeared in the crime thriller 'Baazigar', which became a huge commercial success. Some of her most popular films include 'Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge', ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’, 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai', 'Fanaa', and 'My name is Khan'. In view of her contribution to Indian cinema, she has been awarded with the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honor in India. Despite her immensely successful career, she is not without her detractors. She is known for her unconventional image, which is unlike that of a typical Hindi movie actress. Her lack of interest in maintaining her appearance by slimming or grooming has been criticized in the media.
Kajol was born on 5 August 1974 in Mumbai, India to Shomu and Tanuja Mukherjee. Her mother is an actress while her father was a film director and producer. She has a sister Tanisha Mukherjee, who also eventually became an actress.
According to Kajol, she used to be very mischievous and stubborn as a child. She attended the St. Joseph Convent boarding school in Panchgani, a famous hill station in India. She was also involved in extra-curricular activities such as dancing. She began acting for the film ‘Bekhudi’ when she was sixteen. Eventually she decided to drop out of school to pursue a full time career in acting.
Kajol made her film debut in the 1992 romantic drama ‘Bekhudi’ in which her mother Tanuja played her onscreen mother as well. Though the film didn't do too well commercially, her next film ‘Baazigar,’ a crime thriller film directed by Abbas Mustan, was a huge commercial hit. The film also won four Filmfare awards.
She continued to appear in hit films like 'Udhaar ki Zindagi' (1994), 'Yeh Dillagi' (1994), and 'Karan Arjun' (1995). In 1995 she also appeared in 'Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge', which became not only the biggest success of the year but also one of the most popular and successful Indian films of all time. Her performance was much appreciated and she won her first Filmfare Award for Best Actress.
In 1997, she portrayed a psychopathic killer and obsessive lover, in 'Gupt: The Hidden Truth'. The film, which also starred Bobby Deol and Manisha Koirala, became a huge commercial hit. She won the Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role, becoming the first actress to win the award.
After appearing in films such as ‘Pyaar Kiya to Darna Kya’, ‘Dushman’, and ‘Pyaar to Hona Hi Tha’, she finally reached the peak of her career in 1998, after she played a lead role in 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' a romantic drama that became one of the most popular films in Indian cinema. It also went on to receive a cult status. The film won Kajol her second Filmfare Award for ‘Best Actress’.
Over the years, she appeared in some unsuccessful films as well, such as ‘Dil Kya Kare’ (1999) and ‘Hote Hote Pyaar Ho Gaya’ (1999). In 2000, she appeared alongside her husband Ajay Devgn in ‘Raju Chacha’, an action movie that was the most expensive Indian film ever at the time. However, the film flopped at the box office, and was also met with negative reviews from critics.
In 2001, she played a major role in the Indian family drama ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham…’. The film starred several other stars such as Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor. The movie was not only a commercial hit, but also became a blockbuster. Following the success of the film, Kajol decided to take a sabbatical.
She made her comeback in 2006 with the romantic thriller ‘Fanaa’. The film, which was directed by Kunal Kohli, was a huge commercial success. Her performance was appreciated by both critics and audience.
She was next seen in the 2008 romantic drama ‘U, Me, Aur Hun’, which was directed by her husband Ajay Devgn, who also played the lead role. She earned a nomination for the ‘Filmfare Award’ for Best Actress. However, the film failed to become much of a success.
In 2010, she appeared in the romantic drama ‘My Name is Khan’, which became one of the highest grossing Bollywood films of all time. Directed by Karan Johar, the film earned huge popularity worldwide.
She was latest seen in the 2015 Indian romantic film ‘Dilwale’. The film did well commercially, and was met with mixed reviews.
‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge,’ which is one of the most successful Hindi films ever, is also one of Kajol’s major works. Directed by Aditya Chopra, he film revolved around Raj and Simran, portrayed by Shahrukh Khan and Kajol, who fall in love. However, Simran’s family is against their marriage, as her father had promised her hand to his friend’s son a long time back. It became the highest grossing Indian film of 1995, and won a total of ten Filmfare awards.
Another one among Kajol’s most successful works is the romantic comedy ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’. Directed by Karan Johar, the film earned huge popularity across India and also became the highest grossing Indian film of the year. The film tells the story of a young girl who tries to reunite her widowed dad with his former best friend who was secretly in love with him. The film won eight Filmfare awards. It was also met with positive reviews from critics.
Kajol’s role in ‘Fanaa’, a romantic thriller was also appreciated. The film, which was directed by Kunal Kohli, portrayed her as a blind girl from Kashmir who falls in love with a terrorist, portrayed by Aamir Khan. Kajol won the Filmfare Award for ‘Best Actress’ for this role. The film received mostly positive reviews.
‘My Name is Khan’ is another one of Kajol’s most significant works. Directed by Karan Johar, the film starred Kajol in a lead role along with veteran actor Shahrukh Khan. Khan portrays an innocent Muslim man named Rizwan, who is set on a mission to prove to the people of the US that all Muslims are not terrorists. The film mostly received positive reviews, and was also a huge commercial success. Kajol again won the Filmfare Award for ‘Best Actress’ for her performance.
Kajol has received a total of six Filmfare Awards in her career so far. She has won five Filmfare Awards for ‘Best Actress’ for her amazing performance in ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ (1995), ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ (1998), ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham…’ (2001), ‘Fanaa’ (2006) and ‘My Name is Khan’ (2010). She has also won a Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role for the film ‘Gupt: The Hidden Truth’ (1997).
She is also the recipient of numerous other awards, such as the ‘Star Screen Award’ for Best Actress for her role in ‘Dushman’ in 1999, and the ‘IIFA Best Actress Award’ for her role in ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham…’ in 2002.
In 2011, Kajol was awarded with the Padma Shri, which is the fourth highest civilian honor in India.
Kajol married popular Bollywood actor, Ajay Devgn, in 1999. The couple has two children, a daughter, Nysa (born 2003) and a son, Yug (born 2010).
Other than acting, she is also known for her social works. Her charitable endeavors have earned her the prestigious award 'Karmaveer Puraskaar'. She is involved with Shiksha, an NGO known for promoting education among children. She was also appointed as the brand ambassador of a children’s' charity organization named Pratham.