Rani Mukherji was born on March 21, 1978 in West Bengal. She is the daughter of director Ram Mukherjee and singer Krishna Mukherjee. She studied at Maneckjee Cooper High School in Juhu, and later attended Mithibai College in Mumbai. She is a trained Odissi dancer, and began learning the dance in tenth grade. While in school at the age of 14, Rani did a cameo role in her father's Bengali film Biyar Phool (1992).
Rani made her Bollywood debut in Salim Akhtar’s Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat (1996). The movie completely failed at the box-office. She received a lot of appreciation for her work, but still she decided to complete her education first, before moving forward in the industry. In 1998, she made a strong comeback with her films Ghulam, opposite Aamir Khan, and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, opposite Shah Rukh Khan. The former was a hit and the latter became a blockbuster. Rani then gained many film offers and most of the ones she did then didn’t click too well at the box office, viz. Mehndi (1998), Hello Brother (1999), Badal (2000), Bichhoo (2000), Hey Ram (2000), Hadh Kar Di Aapne (2000), Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega (2000), Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaaye (2000), Chori Chori Chupke Chupke (2001), Nayak: The Real Hero (2002). All were just average to above-average, though she did receive appreciation for her work in few of those films. Her career took off again post the success of Karan Johar’s Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) in which she made a guest appearance. Shaad Ali’s Saathiya (2002) was the film that gave her the critical acclaim she desired for and won her many accolades. She also played the lead role in Kunal Kohli’s Mujhse Dosti Karoge (2002), which didn’t do too well in India, but opened the trade for her overseas. In 2003, success knocked at her doorstep again with her strong performance in Chalte Chalte. She then attempted her first comedy role in Chori Chori, which she was fairly good at. She made a special appearance in Karan Johar’s Kal Ho Na Ho which was a huge hit. 2004 was a great year for Rani. She did 3 films, all of which were either critically acclaimed or box office successes or both. Her performance in the film Yuva fetched her more appreciation. Hum Tum only added more to that and she won more accolades. Yash Chopra’s Veer-Zaara did more wonders to her career. In 2005, she gave one of her career-best performances in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black, which made her the No.1 actress in the industry. Her next film Bunty Aur Babli was a hit as well. Amol Palekar’s Paheli, in which her performance was quite strong, lost out on trade, but was an official entry to the Oscars. A lot was expected from her film The Rising: Ballad of Mangal Pandey, but it failed miserably. Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006) was a very controversial movie. Her performance was praised a lot, but the movie got mixed reviews. But it is one of the highest grossing film overseas. She then did Baabul (2006) which flopped. Rani did three films in 2007. Ta Ra Rum Pum did good business, though it got mixed reviews. Her much-awaited film Laaga Chunari Mein Daag directed by Pradeep Sarkar failed to create its magic. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Saawariya, expected to be one of the biggest hits, failed miserably at the box-office, though Rani’s performance was praised, besides Ranbir’s performance.
Over the years, Rani has won many awards at Filmfare, Screen, Zee Cine, IIFA.