Kajol Devgan née Mukherjee is a well-known Hindi film actress known for her comic timing and box office appeal.
Kajol made her acting debut in the film Bekhudi (1992) and had her first hit with her second film Baazigar (1993) along with Shah Rukh Khan, with whom she later went on 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 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 by Filmfare. 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.
Touted as one of the best actresses in Bollywood, she is of Bengali-Marathi descent. Her mother Tanuja is a renowned actress, while 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 were been influential figures in the early stages of Hindi cinema.
Her lineage doesn’t end there. Her paternal uncles are film producers - Joy Mukherjee and Deb Mukherjee. Her paternal grandfather Sashadhar Mukherjee was a filmmaker too. His wife Satirani Devi 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 all Bollywood actors. Kajol's younger sister Tanisha Mukherjee has also got into films.
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 a cardiac arrest.
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 Shah Rukh 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 it.
Later, she 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 earned her the first nomination for Best Actress award by Filmfare.
1995 proved to be a very good year for Kajol. She went on to star alongside Shah Rukh Khan in two of the year's biggest hits - Rakesh Roshan's Karan Arjun and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. DDLJ has entered its twelfth year in Mumbai theatres grossing over 12 billion rupees overall, making it one of the biggest film blockbusters in Bollywood. However, her only release in 1996, Bambai Ka Babu, opposite Saif Ali Khan 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. She also became the first female actor to win the Filmfare Best Villain Award for it.
Later, she starred in her first Tamil film, Minsaara Kanavu which was a major critical success and won her the 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: Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya, Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. In 1999, while her film Dil Kya Kare flopped miserably, her supporting role of Nandita Rai was well received. Her next film, a family drama by name Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain alongside Anil Kapoor got her yet 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. If Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi was a failure, Karan Johar’s Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham 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.
Following the success of K3G, Kajol took a sabbatical from full time acting for five years and gave birth to 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. 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 2008 release, U, Me Aur Hum, marked her husband's directorial debut and did moderately well at the box office. Kajol was recently seen in Karan Johar's new movie My Name Is Khan, which is based on a true story, against the backdrop of perceptions on Islam post 11 September. Filming commenced in December 2008 in Los Angeles and ended in October 2009. The film was released on 12 February 2010.
On October 9, 2009, Kajol started filming for the remake of the Hollywood movie Stepmom (1998); she will be seen alongside Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Rampal. The film is directed by Siddharth Malhotra and is produced by Karan Johar.