12 Lesser-Known Facts about birthday girl Kajol

Kajol completed 30 years as a leading lady 5 days before her birthday on August 5. Photo: Publicity Photo

The last of the female superstars of Hindi cinema, Kajol, celebrates her 48th birthday on August 5. And just five days back, she completed three decades in cinema as a leading lady, for Bekhudi, her debut film opposite Kamal Sadanah, which released on July 31, 1992.

Her hits- and glory-studded career includes Baazigar, Karan Arjun, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… (K3G) with Shah Rukh Khan, Ishq, Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha, Toonpur Ka Superrhero and Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior with husband Ajay Devgn, and others including Yeh Dillagi, Gupt, Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya, Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain, Fanaa and the Tamil-Telugu-Hindi tri-lingual Velaiyilla Pattathari 2, released in Hindi as VIP 2.

Kajol, who essayed a dual role twice, in Dushman and Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi, has also starred in My Name Is Khan, which did well only outside India, and Dilwale, which entered the 100-crore club but did not recover investment. These were her other two films with Shah Rukh Khan. She also featured in U Me Aur Hum produced and directed by and co-starring Ajay Devgn, in which she played a woman struck by Alzheimer’s Disease, and his productions Raju Chacha, Helicopter Eela and the OTT release Tribhanga besides Tanhaji….

Here are 12 lesser-known facts about this Padma Shri-honored actress.

  1. Besides the abovementioned National honor, Kajol has won six Filmfare Awards, and shares the record for the most Best Actress wins with her late aunt Nutan. Her films were DDLJ, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, K3G, Fanaa and My Name Is Khan and, in a negative role, Gupt.
  2. Very few know that the 1983 film Karate starring Mithun Chakraborty and Yogeeta Bali marked Kajol’s actual debut—as a child artiste billed as Kajal Kumari! Her sister Tanishaa and cousin Sharbani also appeared as kids in the film produced and directed by and starring her uncle Deb Mukerji, brother to her filmmaker-writer father Shomu Mukerji.
  3. On the maternal side, we all know that her mother is Tanuja and her aunt Nutan. But very few are aware that her maternal grandmother was the famous actress and filmmaker Shobhana Samarth and her great-grandmother was singer-actress Rattan Bai, who was also coincidentally born in July (in 1890!). Kajol once said that these two women “taught me about what feminism actually means without ever discussing it.” On the paternal side too was a huge lineage, with her grandfather S. Mukerji being a studio baron and producer known to introduce and mentor multiple new talents.
  4. In the early 1990s, mom Tanuja tried to direct a film to launch Kajol as an actress, but it was shelved after a few days of shooting.
  5. Her film Bekhudi was to originally star Saif Ali Khan, who finally worked with her in Yeh Dillagi and Hameshaa. In Bambai Ka Babu, they were not paired romantically, while they never shared a scene in Tanhaji… .
  6. Kajol’s fourth release, Udhar Ki Zindagi, failed to do well at the box-office, but won her the Best Actress (Hindi) award for 1994 from the prestigious Bengal Film Journalists’ Association. Kajol termed the film “An emotionally draining experience” and said that it had affected her so deeply that after shooting ended, she was on the verge of a crisis. Thus, she came to a decision to sign up only lighter films for a long while.
  7. Minsari Kannavu, her Tamil film dubbed in Hindi as Sapnay, had her voice dubbed by actress Revathi in Tamil. Today, Kajol is doing the latest Revathi directorial, Salaam Venky.
  8. Kajol was also tangentially associated with S.S. Rajamouli, for she did the voiceover for the opening credits of Makkhi, the Hindi version of the filmmaker’s Eega, which was presented by her husband Ajay Devgn.
  9. Prominent among the films she has turned down are Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh and Mani Ratnam’s Dil Se…, a movie that could have besmirched the SRK-Kajol success record.
  10. Kajol has also been honored with Karmaveer Puraskar in 2008, which is a National award for Social Justice & Citizen Action to identify individuals who have been key players in leading a revolution in society.
  11. She is one of the four Indian actors, alongside Priyanka Chopra, Hrithik Roshan and Shah Rukh Khan, whose miniature dolls were launched in the United Kingdom, under the name of “Bollywood Legends” in 2006.
  12. At the time of Toonpur Ka Superrhero (2010), India’s first live action-animated film, she had told me that her favorite comic heroes were Superman and Batman and that she also loved Tinkle Comics.


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