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5 Rani Mukerji performances that left us in awe of her

The actress, who turns 45 today, plays a mother separated from her two children in Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway, currently running at cinemas

Smera Marcia Toppo Calcutta Published 21.03.23, 02:22 PM
(L-R) Rani Mukerji in Mardaani and No One Killed Jessica

(L-R) Rani Mukerji in Mardaani and No One Killed Jessica IMDb

Birthday girl Rani Mukerji is winning hearts with her portrayal of a Kolkata woman fighting for the custody of her two children in a foreign land in her latest big-screen release Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway. As the actress cuts her 45th cake, we take a look at five of her performances in unconventional roles that had us rooting for her.

Shivani Shivaji Roy in Mardaani and Mardaani 2 (2014 & 2019)


With a pistol in her hand and a fearless attitude to go with it, Rani’s Senior Inspector Shivani Shivaji Roy in the Pradeep Sarkar-directed Mardaani introduced us to a never-seen-before avatar of the actress. Sporting trousers and shirts with sleeves rolled up till elbow, this cop from Mumbai Crime Branch could beat up thugs, chase goons, fight patriarchy in the system and nab criminals. Shivani makes a mark by unmasking the mastermind behind a Delhi-based child trafficking network.

Rani reprised the role in the 2019 sequel, Mardaani 2, directed by Shanoo Sharma. The sequel sees Shivani, the newly-appointed chief of the city police, lock horns with the 21-year-old Sunny (Vishal Jethwa), a contract killer and sex offender who likes to torture his victims before ending their lives.

Meera Gaity in No One Killed Jessica (2011)

Rani took up the role of news anchor and journalist Meera Gaity in the 2011 Raj Kumar Gupta directorial No One Killed Jessica. After the son of an influential politician murders Jessica Lall (Myra Karn), her sister Sabrina Lall (Vidya Balan) and Meera join forces to bring justice to the victim. Even though the first half is dedicated to Sabrina’s struggle to bring justice to her sister, Meera packs a punch with her confidence and motivates the nation to start protesting against the judicial system that fails to punish the culprit after witnesses turn hostile.

Naina Mathur in Hichki (2018)

In the 2018 Siddharth P. Malhotra-directed drama Hichki, Rani plays Naina Mathur, a woman with Tourette Syndrome — a condition that becomes a hurdle on her path to becoming a teacher. Naina, however, doesn’t let go of her dreams and lands a job in an elite school where she gets assigned as the class teacher of a notorious batch of kids from the lower income strata. In order to ensure that the children aren’t expelled from the school, Naina sets out to get all her students the education they deserve. The most memorable scene from the movie remains the ending where all her students come to meet Naina on her retirement day.

Michelle McNally in Black (2005)

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s 2005 film Black saw Rani in the role of Michelle McNally, a girl with visual and hearing impairment. Debraj (Amitabh Bachchan), an elderly teacher, takes it upon himself to ensure that Michelle graduates from college and becomes expressive and communicative despite her disability. Inspired by activist Helen Keller’s life and her 1903 autobiography, The Story of My Life, the drama is an inspiring tale that follows Michelle’s growth from an insolent child to a college graduate.

Saamiya Siddiqui in Veer Zara (2004)

The love story of Veer (Shah Rukh Khan) and Zara (Preity Zinta) in the 2004 Yash Chopra directorial Veer Zara would have remained unfinished without Rani’s Saamiya Siddiqui. Saamiya is a criminal defence lawyer who is assigned the case of an Indian prisoner, Veer Pratap Singh (Shah Rukh), in Pakistan. Saamiya vows to fight for justice after hearing Veer’s story and reunites him with his long lost love Zara, who has been waiting for Veer in India for 22 years. Saamiya becomes the torchbearer of love and justice in the film and does not stop till Veer crosses the Wagah border to step into his home country.

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