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Spotlight: Mukherjee-Samarth Family

Comments  Comments [ 5 ]    By Gurprit K. | 02 March 2015 | 9:29pm


Bollywood is less of a film fraternity and more of a big family; not one person is unknown to another. This 'big family' consists of several smaller Bollywood families. One of them is the Mukherjee-Samarth family who have been ruling the industry for years. The youngest generation of the clan are creating waves in all the major fields of the industry such as production, direction and of course, acting. BollyCurry takes this opportunity to honour this exceptionally talented family and their contribution to the film fraternity.
 
Kajol Devgn

Kajol Devgn is the most known face from the Mukherjee-Samarth family. Her father, Shomu Mukherjee, was a film director, producer and the co-owner of Filmayalaya studio. Along with her mother, a former actress, Kajol's aunt, the late Nutan, was a renowned star during her times. The family's link to Bollywood travels as far as to her paternal uncles, Joy and Deb Mukherjee, both film producers. Thus, the idea of the beautiful actress finding a career in movies was inevitable.

Kajol debute took place while she was still studying with the film Bekhudi (1992). However, the film, which was initially a "one-time thing", was the beginning of a full fledged career. Although the film failed at the box office, it brought forth a shining star who continues to glow even today. This was quickly proven with her breakthrough movie Baazigar (1993), a commercial box office hit and also her first of many collaborations with Shah Rukh Khan.

There was no turning back for Kajol and with a little turbulence, she continued to deliver hits after hits. One such notable film was Yash Raj Chopra's Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995), in which she played the NRI who falls in love with a London based lad, played by Shah Rukh Khan. The film was one of the most successful movies to be made till date in Bollywood, changing the mechanics of the film industry. This affected Kajol's career immensely and she became one of the most sought after actresses of Tinsel Town. With her immense talent, beauty and charisma, she continued to taste success with several movies such as Gupt (1997), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), Fanaa (2006) and My Name Is Khan (2010), all of which earned her the FilmFare Awards for Best Actress. She now shares the position of most Filmfare awards with her maternal aunt, Nutan.

As for her love life, early in her career Kajol married well known actor Ajay Devgn and now the beautiful couple are happy parents to two children. Being in the industry for 23 years, Kajol is one of the finest actresses the film fraternity has ever seen. Her finesse, talent and her expressible eyes are something that truly makes her unique. Without a doubt, she has made her ancestors proud by balancing both a Bollywood career and a family. 

Rani Mukerji

Rani Mukerji hails from a family with a deep background in the film fraternity just as her cousin, Kajol. Her father Ram Mukherjee is a former film director and one of the co-owners of the Filmalaya studio. Her mother Krishna, is a former playback singer.

The charming lady's first break in the industry was with the film Raja Ki Ayegi Baraat (1997), which although failed at the box office, introduced Rani as a talented actress. Following the film's failure, she returned to college to complete her education. Inspired by Kajol's domination of the silver screen, she made a comeback, opting for a full-fledged film career. She first tasted success in Karan Johar's Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), opposite Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. The blockbuster film earned her both commercial success and critical praise. Along with that, the film earned her the Best Supporting Actress award that year.

One of Rani's biggest achievements are the awards won in the categories of Best Supporting Role and Best Actress, both in 2004 for the films Yuva and Hum Tum respectively. What sets her apart from her peers is her choice to stay away from the 'mainstream' roles, opting for challenging roles where the women are more than just glamorous eye candy. On a personal note, choosing to stay within the industry, Rani married filmmaker Aditya Chopra in April 2014. 
 
Mohnish Behl

Mohnish Behl is the only son of famous yesteryear actress Nutan and is a prominent member of the Mukerjee-Samarth family. With his mother being one of the most established actresses of Bollywood, automatically meant high expectations for Behl, which proved to be a burden too heavy to carry. Like many others, he tried his hand at movies, playing the typical roles requiring the hero to save the damsel in distress. Among his list are movies such as Bekaraar, Dancer and Teri Bahon Mein.
 
After several failed attempts, Behl changed tactics and opted for less cliched roles. Many years later he was reintroduced on the silver screen but as a villain and his acting in the blockbuster movie Maine Pyar Kiya (1989), alongside Salman Khan and Bhagyashree Patwardhan, finally brought him critical acclaim and commercial success. The movie went on to become a hit and opened many doors for him. The actor has since played many notable villainous roles, one such role was in the hit film Dewaana (1992), where he played the son of one of the best villains of Bollywood, Amrish Puri. As the years went by, Behl bid adieu to villainous roles, which he had mastered by now, and chose to act in supporting roles in the blockbuster films Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! (1994) and Hum Saath-Saath Hai (1999). The roles may not have challenged the actor but they brought him immense popularity and a career to talk about.

Aside from Bollywood, Behl also debuted on the small screen in many memorable and popular television series. Among his most known characters are Dr. Shashank Gupta in Sanjeevani and Dill Mil Gayye, where he played a doctor of great caliber. He also hosted various shows and appeared in a number of television series, helping to make his mark in television.
 
Tanishaa Mukerji

Tanishaa Mukerji is the younger sister of multi-award winning actress Kajol. Witnessing the great success her sister achieved on the big screen, Tanishaa decided to follow in her footsteps. She debuted with the film Sshhh (2003), a horror movie largely based on the Hollywood hit film Scream. Unfortunately, not only did the film fail at the box office, Tanishaa's performance was not much appreciated either. After a few misses at the box office, Tanishaa finally got her big break with the movie Sarkar (2005) alongside the megastar Amitabh Bachchan, Junior Bachchan and Katrina Kaif. Although her role was a minor one, the charming actress did justice to it, making it her first big hit in Bollywood. She also reappeared in the sequel Sarkar Raj">Sarkar Raj (2008), which was also a commercial success.

Earlier, Tanishaa was seen in Neal n Nikki (2005) as the lead protagonist alongside Uday Chopra. The film received negative reviews from critics and while it failed in India, it managed to do fairly well overseas. A large factor for mixed reviews were the intimate scenes in the film, that were not as accepted in India as they were abroad. Tanishaa did a few movies after that in Bollywood, but none worked in her favor. She then tried her luck in the South, which brought her moderate success and an award nomination. Not being able to create a stir on the big screen, Tanishaa thereafter eyed the small screen and did a television stunt with Bigg Boss, where she ended as the runner up. She later became the judge of the comedy show Gangs of Haseepur. 
 
Ayan Mukerji

Ayan Mukerji is the son of Bengali yesteryear actor Deb Mukerjee and a co-owner of Filmalaya studio. He studied at Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Technology, but eventually dropped out to pursue a career in films. However, unlike his father and cousins, Kajol and Rani, the lad wanted a career behind the camera and not in the spotlight.

Ayan started with Swades (2004), where he was an assistant director to Ashutosh Gowariker, his brother-in-law. He then went on to assist Karan Johar in the hit film Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006). After taking a break from assisting, the talented Mukerji sat down to write a storyline, which he then passed on to Karan Johar. The film, Wake Up Sid (2009),which starred Ranbir Kapoor and Konkona Sen Sharma, became a commercial success. At the mere age of 26, Ayan became the talk of the town. After his successful debut, he went on to direct yet another film, Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani (2013),under Karan Johar's banner of Dharma Productions. The movie saw him collaborating with Ranbir Kapoor once again, along with Deepika Padukone. The film eventually became the fourth highest grossing Indian movie of all time. Mukerji is now in talks of another movie starring Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt in the near future.
 
The Mukherjee-Samarth family spans over four generations and each generation has provided something refreshing and unique to the industry. Ever since they entered Bollywood in the 1940s, they have branded the industry with their continuous hits. Each member from Shashadar Mukherjee and Rattan Bai, to our current batch, Kajol, Rani and Ayaan, the family has paved their way well into Tinsel Town. In short, they came, they saw, and they conquered. This is why Bollywood today writes the Mukherjee-Samarth family name in gold plated letters.
 
Writer: Fatima W.
Editor(s): Harjot D. and Jenifer A.
Graphics: Saraa K.

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