Kajol
Kajol

Kajol

Kajol Wiki

Kajol Devgn (née Mukherjee; born 5 August 1974), known mononymously as Kajol, is an Indian film actress. Described in the media as one of the most successful actresses of Hindi cinema, she is the recipient of numerous accolades, including six Filmfare Awards, among which she holds the record for most Best Actress awards previously set by her late aunt Nutan. In 2011, she was honoured with Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour of the country, by the Government of India. The daughter of Tanuja and Shomu Mukherjee, Kajol made her acting debut with Bekhudi (1992), while still in school. She subsequently quit her studies, and had her first commercial success with Baazigar (1993), opposite Shah Rukh Khan. Following a breakthrough role in Yeh Dillagi (1994), she featured with Khan in several blockbusters, including Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), both of which gained her wide public recognition and two Filmfare Awards in the Best Actress category. Although her career was further established during this period by financially profitable family dramas, it was her portrayal of a psychopathic killer in Gupt: The Hidden Truth (1997) and an avenger in Dushman (1998) that earned her greater critical appreciation. After shooting for Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... in 2001, which won her a third Filmfare Award, Kajol took a sabbatical from full-time acting and would continue working infrequently over the next two decades. Following a successful comeback with the romantic thriller Fanaa (2006), she played leading roles in such films as U Me Aur Hum (2008), We Are Family (2010), My Name Is Khan (2010), and Dilwale (2015). Her performances in Fanaa and My Name is Khan earned her two more Best Actress awards at Filmfare. Kajol's highest-grossing release came with the period film Tanhaji in 2020. In addition to acting in films, Kajol is a social activist and noted for her work with widows and children. She has featured as a talent judge for the reality show Rock-N-Roll Family in 2008, and holds a managerial position at Devgn Entertainment and Software Ltd. Kajol has been married to the actor and filmmaker Ajay Devgn, with whom she has two children, since 1999.

Early life and background

See also: Mukherjee-Samarth family Kajol was born in Bombay (present-day Mumbai) on 5 August 1974. Her mother, Tanuja, is an actress, while her father Shomu Mukherjee was a film director and producer. Her younger sister, Tanishaa, is also an actress. Her maternal aunt was actress Nutan and her maternal grandmother, Shobhna Samarth, and great-grandmother, Rattan Bai, were both involved in Hindi cinema. Her paternal uncles, Joy Mukherjee and Deb Mukherjee, are film producers, while her paternal and maternal grandfathers, Sashadhar Mukherjee and Kumarsen Samarth, respectively, were filmmakers. Kajol's cousins Rani Mukerji, Sharbani Mukherjee, and Mohnish Behl are also Bollywood actors; whereas Ayan Mukerji is a director.Kajol describes herself as being "extremely mischievous" as a child, as well as stubborn and impulsive from a young age. Her parents separated when she was young; but Tanuja said that Kajol was not affected by the split as they never talked about the matter. Kajol was looked after by her maternal grandmother, who "never let me feel that my mother was away and working". According to Kajol, her mother inculcated a sense of independence in her since she was young. Growing up between two separate cultures, she inherited her "Maharashtrian pragmatism" from her mother and her "Bengali temperament" from her father.Kajol was educated at a boarding school, St. Joseph's Convent School, Panchgani. Apart from her studies, she participated in extra-curricular activities, such as dancing. It was in school that she began to form an active interest in reading fiction, as it helped her "through the bad moments" in her life. In the early 1990s, Tanuja tried to direct a film to launched her as an actress. However, the project was shelved after a few days of shooting. At sixteen, Kajol began work on Rahul Rawail's Bekhudi, which according to her was a "big dose of luck"; she was cast by him when she visited the studio of the photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha, who also wrote the film's screenplay. She was initially intended to return to school after shooting during her two-months summer vacation but eventually dropped out to pursue a full-time career in film—though she later regretted the decision.

Debut and rise to prominence (1992–1996)

Kajol made her acting debut at the age of seventeen in the 1992 romantic drama Bekhudi alongside debutante Kamal Sadanah and her mother Tanuja. Kajol played Radhika, who falls in love with Sadanah's character against her parents' disapproval. The film turned out to be a box office flop, but Kajol's performance gained positive notice. The following year, she was cast in Abbas–Mustan's crime thriller Baazigar (1993), the fourth highest-grossing film of the year with revenues of ₹182.5 million (US$2.4 million). Co-starring Shah Rukh Khan and Shilpa Shetty, the film saw Kajol in the role of Priya Chopra, a young woman who falls in love with her sister's murderer, unaware of his identity. Baazigar marked the first of her many collaborations with Khan. Although her performance drew critical attention, Kajol was criticised for her looks.In 1994, Kajol appeared in Udhaar Ki Zindagi as an orphaned girl who visits her estranged grandparents (played by Jeetendra and Moushumi Chatterjee). It failed to do well at the box office, however, Kajol was named the Best Actress (Hindi) by the Bengal Film Journalists' Association. The film was an emotionally draining experience for Kajol, and she later maintained that it had affected her so deeply that after shooting ended, she was on the verge of a crisis. Seeking relief, she made a deliberate decision to sign up lighter films in which she would have roles of minimal importance and no intense dramatic efforts. She subsequently gained wider public recognition for her role in the romance Yeh Dillagi, a commercial success. Based on the 1953 American play Sabrina Fair, the film stars Kajol as a chauffeur's daughter who becomes a model and catches the interest of the two sons of her father's employers (Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan). The success of Yeh Dillagi proved to be a breakthrough for Kajol, and her performance earned her a first Best Actress nomination at the annual Filmfare Awards. The Indian Express noted her for having delivered a "believable performance", and Screen concluded that Yeh Dillagi changed her screen persona "from the girl-next-door to a beauty extraordinaire". In 1995, Kajol starred in two major commercial successes opposite Shah Rukh Khan: Karan Arjun and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. The former is an action film by Rakesh Roshan, based on the concept of reincarnation, and it offered her the supporting part of Sonia Saxena Singh, Khan's love interest. The film eventually emerged as the second-highest-grossing film of the year in India. Interviewed by Stardust, she explained her minor role in the film, saying she wanted to "know how it feels to be an ornament" and admitting she "had nothing to do in the film except look good". Kajol's next releases—Taaqat, Hulchul and Gundaraj—underperformed at the box office; the latter two were her earliest collaborations with her future-husband, Ajay Devgn, and trade analysts linked the failure to their chemistry.Her final 1995 release was Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, about two non-resident Indians (Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol) from London who fall in love during a trip across Europe and reunite in India to persuade her conservative father to call off her upcoming arranged marriage. Kajol spoke of her attachment to the project and her full emotional involvement with the character of Simran. One of the most successful films of all-time in India, it has been continuously running in Mumbai and, having surpassed 1000 weeks of screening in 2014, became the longest-running Indian film ever. Equally popular with critics, the film earned ten Filmfare Awards, with Best Actress for Kajol. It has been voted one of the best films ever made in polls by the British Film Institute, among others. Raja Sen from Rediff.com thought Kajol was "wisely picked ... to play Simran, the real-as-life actress bringing warmth and credulity to the initially prudish and reluctant Simran." 1996 saw her in Bambai Ka Babu; a financial disaster, this led NDTV to conclude a "cold year" for Kajol.

Widespread success (1997–1998)

In 1997, Kajol's portrayal of Isha Diwan, a psychopathic serial killer and obsessive lover, in Gupt: The Hidden Truth, proved to be her career's turning point. The "toughest role" of her career, she took the part to avoid typecasting, Director Rajiv Rai said that he "tapped the versatile artistry in Kajol", commending her for the "rare finesse" she brought. The suspense thriller, also starring Bobby Deol and Manisha Koirala, emerged as a mainstream success. India Today noted Kajol for outpacing her co-stars, and The Times of India wrote in 2016 that she was "probably the first to have broken her goody-two-shoes image"; Rediff.com included her performance in its listing of best villain performances. Kajol eventually became the first actress to be nominated for and win the Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role. In later years, Kajol found her role contrasting from her own personality, and has expressed her desire to play more roles of the type in the future.Following a leading role in the reincarnation-based film Hameshaa, Kajol replaced Madhuri Dixit to play the lead opposite Prabhu Deva and Arvind Swamy in Rajiv Menon's Tamil-language romantic musical Minsara Kanavu. Kajol revealed that she found dancing alongside Deva (himself a dance choreographer) difficult and it "took me 20 retakes and 30 rehearsals" to get the steps right. She played Priya Amalraj, a convent student who aspires to be a nun, and her voice was dubbed by actress Revathi. The Indian Express reviewed: "Kajol is full of beans and fits into her character with commendable ease. Hers is perhaps one of the most expressive faces of the present." While the original version was embraced by audiences, the Hindi-dubbed version of the film (titled Sapnay) was commercially failed. Her next release was Indra Kumar's comedy-drama Ishq alongside Aamir Khan, Juhi Chawla and Ajay Devgn. Upon release, the film emerged as a commercial success, with critical praise directed to the performances of the four leads. In 1998, Kajol reinforced her status as a leading actress of Hindi cinema by featuring in the three highest-grossing productions of the year, including Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya, Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai; all of which were nominated for the Filmfare Award for Best Film, with the lattermost winning the award. Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya—where she played a naïve village girl—released first and won her positive feedback. Kajol next played twin sisters, Sonia and Naina, in Dushman. Revolving around Naina's quest to avenge the murder of her twin sister, the film saw Kajol in one of her best-reviewed performances. Having initially refused the offer due to her lack of comfort shooting the rape scene, she finally accepted it on the condition that a body-double be used in it. The film saw Kajol in one of her best-reviewed performances, which won her the Screen Award for Best Actress in addition to a Filmfare nomination. Suparn Verma of Rediff.com noted her for being in "superb form" in both roles.Anees Bazmee's romantic comedy Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha, a remake of the 1995 American film French Kiss, followed. She played the comic role of Sanjana, a clumsy woman who travels from Paris to India in search of her philandering fiancé, but falls for another man (Ajay Devgn). The film emerged as a hit, and fetched Kajol a second Best Actress nomination at Filmfare that year. Deepa Deosthalee from The Indian Express called Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha "Kajol's film all the way" and commended her presence that made the film to be worth-watching; Khalid Mohamed referred to her as "the show's super-saving grace. Bubbly and spontaneous as ever, hers is a perfectly balanced performance, rescuing even the loudest scenes from going over the top."The biggest success of 1998 for Kajol was her final release of that year, Karan Johar's directorial debut, the romance Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. The first Indian feature to be shot in Scotland, it emerged as an all-time blockbuster in both India and overseas. Kajol played Anjali Sharma, a tomboyish college student who is secretly in love with her best friend from college (Shah Rukh Khan). The story follows their renewed encounter years later when he is widowed and she has transformed her appearance and is already engaged to marry someone else. Nikhat Kazmi wrote that Kajol "is almost mesmeric" in the part, and the Bombay Talkies believed the film "belongs to Kajol". She eventually won her second Best Actress award at the 44th Filmfare Awards ceremony and first Zee Cine Award for Best Actor – Female for her performance. Filmfare magazine included Kajol's work in both Dushman and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai in its listing of Indian cinema's "80 Most Iconic performances". In a year-end column, The Tribune's Madhur Mittal reported that Kajol had "emerged as the consummate heroine with her excellent emoting and sensational screen presence in each portrayal".

Career setback (1999–2001)

Journalists speculated that a supporting role in Prakash Jha's Dil Kya Kare would be "the acid test" for Kajol, as the drama was her first release after marriage. She played other woman of Devgn's character. She explained that she accepted the role solely "because it had shades of grey. I would have probably refused the wife's role. Because I felt it had nothing for me to do". Upon release, the film met with largely negative reviews. Deccan Herald noted her for playing "the passive lover with finesse." Commercially too, the film failed to do well and Kajol attributed it to her role. Her next release, Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain, on the other hand, performed well with critics and audiences. The film gave her an experience with "the stereotypical, sacrificing woman role". Kajol received another Best Actress Filmfare nomination for her portrayal of Megha, an assistant of Anil Kapoor's character. The film met with wide media coverage for being one of the few woman-centered films to attract viewers in Indian cinemas. Her final release of the year was the action Hote Hote Pyar Ho Gaya. The Hindustan Times noted her chemistry with Jackie Shroff but wrote off the film.The following year, Kajol and her husband starred together in his home-production Raju Chacha, revolving on the love story between a conman and a governess of three children belonging to a wealthy family. The children's film, with a production cost of ₹300 million (US$4.0 million) was declared as among the most expensive Hindi films at the time. Dinesh Raheja wrote of the lack of imagination in the script, which affected the chemistry between Kajol and Ajay Devgn. In 2001, Rahul Rawail's Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi saw her portraying Tina and Sweety, twin sisters who are separated at birth. The film was poorly reviewed as was Kajol's dual role which was dismissed as "a double bore". Roshmila Bhattacharya of Screen defended Kajol's presence, writing the film thrives on her "zest and zing". Both Raju Chacha and Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi were flops at the box office, which Kajol professed left her frustrated.Later that year, Kajol played a leading role in Karan Johar's family drama Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham..., which was the top-grossing Indian production of all-time in the overseas market. Cast alongside an ensemble of Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor, she played Anjali Sharma, a young Punjabi woman from the Chandni Chowk area who falls for a wealthy man; she identified herself with the character's loudness and fun-lovingness and found similarities between it and that of Hema Malini in Sholay (1975). The role required Kajol to speak in Punjabi, a language she was not fluent in, and although she struggled at first to master it, she achieved the pronunciation and diction with the help of producer Yash Johar and some of the crew members. Her comic-dramatic performance met with mixed critical attention and won her third Filmfare Award in the Best Actress category. Taran Adarsh predicted that her Punjabi dialect would help her gaining more critical acclaim, and Ziya Us Salam wrote that she "steals the thunder from under very high noses indeed".Following the success of Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham..., Kajol took a sabbatical from full-time acting. In an interview with The Times of India, she revealed that she did not quit the cinema but became more selective of her role choices. She added that the reason behind the break was to concentrate on her marriage.

Commercial fluctuations (2006–2010)

Kajol turned down an offer from Karan Johar to star in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna in 2006, not wanting to leave her daughter for a 90-day schedule in New York City, and preferred a role in Kunal Kohli's romantic thriller Fanaa. She portrayed Zooni Ali Beg, a blind Kashmiri who unwittingly falls in love with a terrorist (Aamir Khan). It marked her return to the cinema since 2001, but she refused to term it as her comeback film, saying that she did not retire but only took a break. With it, she also made her playback debut by singing for the songs "Mere Haath Mein" and "Chanda Chamke". Upon release, the film was a financial success, grossing ₹1 billion (US$13 million) against its ₹220 million (US$2.9 million) budget. Both the film and Kajol's performance were received well. Sudhish Kamath calling her enough of a reason to watch it, and Deepa Gahlot took note of Kajol's conviction in the part, which made up for the film's flaws. Fanaa fetched Kajol a fourth Filmfare Award and second Zee Cine Award for Best Actress. Kajol worked intermittently through the rest of the decade. In 2007, she started filming for Rajkumar Santoshi's unreleased mythology film Ramayana, based on the epic of the same name, where she played Sita. She described her husband's directorial debut, U Me Aur Hum (2008), as a "very special film" for her. In it, she starred as Piya Thapar, a woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Although the film underperformed commercially, she received positive reviews and received another Filmfare nomination for Best Actress for her performance. The Economic Times' Gaurav Malini noted that Kajol's "simmering pace and ... recurring amnesiac spells, rather than getting repetitive, add compelling credibility to the story". Her physical appearance, however, generated negative response from critics. In a review published by Outlook, Namrata Joshi called her "terribly contained".Kajol was next cast opposite Shah Rukh Khan in My Name Is Khan (2010), based on the discrimination faced by American Muslims after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It was the first Indian film distributed by Fox Star Studios. It opened to mixed-to-positive reviews, and emerged as an international success with a gross of ₹2 billion (US$27 million). My Name Is Khan was screened at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival, the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, and the Rome Film Festival. Kajol's portrayal of Mandira, a Hindu single mother who marries a Muslim man with Asperger syndrome was praised by both Indian and overseas critics. Rajeev Masand saw Kajol was "immensely likeable", while the Los Angeles Times found her to be "highly appealing and equal to the demand of her emotion-charged role". For the film, Kajol won her fifth Best Actress award at Filmfare, thereby sharing the record with her late aunt, Nutan. Additionally, she was nominated for the Screen Award for Best Actress, the Stardust Award for Best Actress in a Drama and the Zee Cine Award for Best Actor – Female.In the same year, Kajol was the protagonist in Siddharth Malhotra's moderately successful family film We Are Family (an adaptation of the American drama Stepmom), alongside Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Rampal. Kajol played Maya, a character she identified with for being a "control freak" in chase of perfection; she found it largely different from the one played by Susan Sarandon in the original. Malhotra modelled Maya in part after his grandmother, Bina Rai. Mayank Shekhar singled out Kajol's performance as "stunning", and Rachel Saltz of The New York Times commented that "her naturalism gives the movie a genuine emotional kick". Kajol's next release that year, Toonpur Ka Super Hero featured her as Priya Kumar, a woman stuck in a cartoon world. Kajol spoke of the challenge and difficulty dubbing for the film. Dubbed the first Hindi live-action animated film, the film polarised critics and failed to attract an audience. Similarly, Kajol's role was dismissed as not having provided her with scope to perform. She followed it with a second hiatus upon the birth of her son in 2010 and providing voiceover to the opening credits of the Hindi version of the fantasy film Eega (2012).

Dilwale and return to Tamil cinema (2015–2019)

Following a five-year absence, Kajol teamed with Shah Rukh Khan for the seventh time in Rohit Shetty's action romance Dilwale (2015). She portrayed Meera Dev Malik, the daughter of a mafia don who falls for a man from the rival family. Reviewers were varied in their opinions about the film; Mint declared it as the "most tiresome film of the year". The mixed critical response led her to express regret over her choice of the film over Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh (2016). Still, Kajol's performance drew positive comments despite a lesser character; in the words of Suhani Singh of India Today, "Kajol is a radiant presence on the screen and delivers what's expected out of her—which is not much." Dilwale emerged as a major commercial success, grossing more than ₹3.8 billion (US$50 million) worldwide, and ranks among of the highest-grossing Bollywood films of all time. Kajol's performance garnered Best Actress nominations at various award ceremonies, including Filmfare. Later that year, she also made her debut as a producer with the Marathi period drama Vitti Dandu, co-produced by Ajay Devgn and Leena Deore, and exploring the relationship between a grandfather and his grandson. The film won the Best Marathi Film trophy at the Screen Awards and was well received by critics; Mihir Bhanage, writing for The Times of India, praised its pre-independence setting, the direction, and the performances, while a Zee Talkies reviewer noted that the film "offers a realistic patriotic subject very skillfully, which will surely impress today’s new Marathi audience with the refined tastes".In 2017, Kajol starred opposite Dhanush in Velaiilla Pattadhari 2, a sequel to the 2014 masala film Velaiilla Pattadhari and her second Tamil-language film after Minsara Kanavu. She was cast as Vasundhara Parameshwar, the chairwoman of the construction company Vasundhara Constructions. Kajol was somewhat apprehensive about doing the film but eventually accepted the role due to her faith in Dhanush and director Soundarya Rajinikanth, citing them for breaking the "myths in my head about speaking and acting in another language". Velaiilla Pattadhari 2 opened to a negative critical reception but succeeded financially, but Kajol was praised for her elegance and suitableness to the role.In 2018, Kajol portrayed a helicopter mother and aspiring singer who enrolls at her son's (Riddhi Sen) school to complete her education in the drama Helicopter Eela, based on Anand Gandhi's Gujarati play Beta, Kaagdo. She was particuraly drawn to the role for its colourful personality and her relationship with her son. The feature failed both commercially and with critics, and Kajol's performance was met with a mixed reception. Nandini Ramnath, reviewing for Scroll.in, wrote that she "doesn't have Riddhi Sen's comfort level in the comic scenes. She settles down when the movie finally does." Writing for the Hindustan Times, Raja Sen criticised her boisterousness but said that the film's director Pradeep Sarkar "has lucked out with his heroine. Kajol is full of verve, and her enthusiasm is infectious even when her intensely eager character comes across as too chirrupy." The same year she dubbed the character Helen Parr in the computer-animated superhero film Incredibles 2's Hindi version.

Tanhaji and Netflix debut (2020–present)

The Telegraph declared 2020 as a "big year" for Kajol, and she said it marked a phase when "character matters more than length of the role". Her first release of the year was the period drama Tanhaji, co-starring Ajay Devgn and Saif Ali Khan. Based on the life of Tanaji Malusare (the military leader of Maratha Empire), it went onto become the highest-grossing film of the year, earning ₹3.67 billion (US$49 million). She played Devgn's character's wife Savitribai Malusare, calling it a strong character which she found similar to herself. Critics were appreciative of her turn despite its limited screen time. Later in the year, she was seen in her first short film, Devi, a suspense revolving around nine women stuck in one room. Kajol portrayed the character of Jyoti, a middle-aged woman that is "vastly different from me in many ways". It was reviewed positively by critics, and Kajol was singled out for leading the diverse ensemble. Devi won the Best Film (Popular Choice) at the Filmfare Short Film Awards.Kajol's next project was Renuka Shahane's social drama Tribhanga (2021), which marked her first collaboration with Netflix. Set in Mumbai, it revolved around three women (Kajol, Mithila Palkar and Tanvi Azmi) from different generations and Kajol appeared as the Odissi dancer Anuradha Apte. She found little resemblance between herself and her "over-the-top" character. The film received generally positive reviews; Saibal Chatterjee from NDTV praised Kajol for "provid[ing] the frisson that the understated Tribhanga needs to keep trundling along at an even pace". Stutee Ghosh of The Quint called both Azmi and Kajol "the strongest performers [that] have a stunning hold and it's difficult to focus on anyone else when they are in the frame". At the 2nd Filmfare OTT Awards, her performance was nominated for the Best Actress category.As of October 2021[update], Kajol has four future projects including the biopic Sasi Lalitha, in which she play the titular character, Velaiilla Pattadhari 3, a sequel to Velaiilla Pattadhari 2, Rajkumar Hirani's untitled satirical comedy, where she will reunite with Shah Rukh Khan, and Revathi's family drama The Last Hurrah.

Off-screen work

In 1998, Kajol participated in concert tour "Awesome Foursome" alongside Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla, and Akshay Kumar. After travelling across the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, Kajol refused to participate in any more world tours, unable to handle the stress. In 1999, following the launch of Ajay Devgn's production company, Devgan Films (renamed as Devgn Entertainment and Software Ltd.), Kajol worked towards building a website: "I'm computer savvy. Or at least I know more about computers than those around me. So I should be of some help there."In 2000, she launched the filmmaking-related online portal Cineexplore for the company, working as the supervisor. Devgn established another company, Ajay Devgn FFilms, in 2009. Kajol clarified she was not involved in its production aspect, but participated in the supervising and overseeing. She featured as a talent judge with husband Ajay Devgn and mother Tanuja in Zee TV's 2008 reality show Rock-N-Roll Family, which she found to be a much tougher experience than that of in films. She was named a part-time member of the public broadcaster Prasar Bharati in 2016. In 2019, she wrote the foreword of a biography on the actress Sridevi, entitled Sridevi: The Eternal Screen Goddess.Kajol has been actively involved in several philanthropic endeavours related to women and children. She is involved with Shiksha, a non-governmental organisation for children's education, and in 2009 she launched a campaign to support the cause. In 2011, Kajol participated in a fashion show organised by the Cancer Patients Aid Association, to generate funds for the organisation, and as the international goodwill ambassador and patron of The Loomba Trust (a charity organisation devoted to supporting widows and their children around the world, particularly in India). In 2012, Kajol was appointed as the brand ambassador of Pratham, a charity organization for children, and she featured in a short film on education and literacy, with the Hanuman Basti Primary School's students in Mumbai, to support it. Also that year, she made a documentary about protection of the girl child as a part of the Government of Maharashtra's campaign "Save the Girl Child". For her contribution in social service, Kajol was awarded the Karmaveer Puraskar.

Personal life

Kajol began dating actor Ajay Devgn in 1994, while filming Gundaraj. Members of the media, however, labelled them as an "unlikely pair" due to their contrasting personalities. Devgn explained their relationship by saying, "We never resorted to the usual 'I love you' routine. A proposal never happened. We grew with each other. Marriage was never discussed, but it was always imminent". The couple married on 24 February 1999 in a traditional Maharashtrian ceremony at Devgn's house. The wedding was subject to wide media scrutiny, as certain members of the media criticised Kajol's decision to settle down at the "peak of her career". Kajol, however, maintained that she would not quit films, but would cut down on the amount of work that she did.Following her marriage, Kajol moved in with Devgn and his parents at the latter's ancestral house in Juhu. Tabloids have often romantically linked Devgn with other Bollywood actresses, and reported an imminent divorce. Dismissing the rumors as gossip, Kajol attested to not giving attention to such talk. Kajol prefers not to talk much about her personal life and dislikes being interviewed, considering it "a waste of time". She gave birth to a daughter, Nysa, on 20 April 2003. Seven years later, on 13 September 2010, she gave birth to a son, Yug. She described motherhood as "fab" and added that her kids brought out "the best in her". Kajol has used Devgn as her surname since 2015. She speaks English, Hindi and Marathi, and "can understand Bengali".

Screen persona and reception

After portraying leading roles in a series of family dramas, Kajol showed her acting versatility with Gupt: The Hidden Truth (1997), for which she was noted as being one of the first actresses of her era to play female anti-hero characters and becoming more popular than the male actors. She was also praised for her lively and spirited nature on-screen. Rajiv Menon believed that Kajol "represents the joie de vivre of the ... 1990s", and Khalid Mohammed described her as "a great packet of talent". According to Open, "Her ability to be instinctive and spontaneous on screen brought a unique energy to her films", and Karan Johar mentioned, "I would call 'action' on a shoot and expect a little atom bomb explosion on set every time Kajol was around because that is who she was. She kept us all on our toes." The Hindu stated she "does not act out her scenes and deliver her lines; she inhabits her characters." The scholar Ashish Rajadhyaksha observed that she was the actress "around whom a script can be written and a film made".Kajol has been paired with the actor Shah Rukh Khan in many successful films, and commentators have described them as one of the greatest, on-screen pairs of the Hindi cinema. Summing up the total collection of their films ranging from Baazigar (1993) to Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001), India Today estimated that they had grossed over ₹2 billion (US$27 million) worldwide called this "a magic that subsequent jodis have found hard to replicate". After the success of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), many directors have attempted to pair the two in their films; one of whom is Karan Johar, who directed them in three films and said that he did so in tribute to Baazigar, the first film to feature the couple. In a 2013 poll conducted by Filmfare, Kajol and Khan were voted as the "most stylish on-screen couple". In an article comparing her pairing with Khan to that with her husband Ajay Devgn published the same year, Filmfare's Parampara Patil Hashmi concluded that both pairings performed well financially but noted that the former one is much superior since all films starring them succeeded at the box office.Unlike most of her contemporaries, Kajol has had a successful career post-marriage and motherhood, for which she was characterised as "the archetypal New Age woman". On breaking the stereotype, she opined: "Perceptions have changed a lot in the last few years. Married actresses don't necessarily have to play character roles in films. Filmmakers are experimenting and this is truly the best time for actresses like us." Following her marriage, journalists speculated it would be the ending point of her career. She continued to work in films but has been more selective, attributing it to the lack of worthy offers and her unwillingness to see herself in "films that are absolutely meaningless". Critics however noted that her success is attached to her collaborations with the filmmakers Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra. She defended this by saying of her preference to working with people she is comfortable with. Similar thoughts were expressed by the film distributor Ramesh Sippy, who stated that she added prospects to films she starred in.

Personal life

Kajol began dating fellow actor, Ajay Devgan, in 1994, while filming for Gundaraj. Members of the media, however, labelled them as an "unlikely pair" due to their contrasting personalities. Devgan explained their relationship by saying, "We never resorted to the usual 'I Love you' routine. A proposal never happened. We grew with each other. Marriage was never discussed, but it was always imminent". They subsequently got married on 24 February 1999 in a traditional Maharashtrian style ceremony at the Devgan house. The wedding was subject to wide media scrutiny, as certain members of the media criticised Kajol's decision to settle down at the "peak of her career". Kajol, however, maintained that she would not quit films, but would cut down on the amount of work that she did.Following her marriage, Kajol moved in with Devgan and his parents at the latter's ancestral house in Juhu. While media members speculated about a lack of compatibility between her in-laws and her, Kajol clarified that they were "like parents to me" and encouraged her to continue working in films. Tabloids have often romantically linked Devgn with other Bollywood actresses, and have reported about an imminent divorce. Refuting the rumors, Kajol stated, "I don't believe in those rumors because I know the way this industry functions ... You cannot continue a marriage without basic trust. Frankly, I don't care for such talk."In 2001, Kajol was pregnant with her first child. However, due to an ectopic pregnancy, she suffered from a miscarriage. On 20 April 2003, Kajol gave birth to a daughter, Nysa. Seven years later, on 13 September 2010, she gave birth to a son, Yug. She described motherhood as "fab" and added that her kids brought out "the best in her".
Source: Wikipedia

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