Happy Birthday Rani! 39 Reasons I Love You!

Shashi a couple days ago, Rani today (in India, another 10 hours in America)!  Are they related?  I’m sure they are, probably through some obscure marriage somewhere.  If nothing else they are related through Ranbir and Ayan’s friendship, which is as close as a marriage.  Anyway, Happy Birthday Rani!  I couldn’t manage a full 79 reasons to love Shashi, but I can come up with a whole 39 reasons to love you!

1.1. I love you because you were born into a film family, but a lesser branch, enough that you entered films with plenty of background knowledge but at the same time having little real power.

2. I love you because you entered films sidewise, through a Bengali film directed by your father, then a small role in an art film, and finally two tiny roles in mainstream Hindi films that turned into blockbusters.

3. I love you because you were the only one willing to take the “Tina” role in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai after Karan had been turned down by everyone else.

4. I love you because you did a fabulous job in Ghulam, making your mark despite having your dialogue dubbed because your voice was deemed “too deep”.

5. I love you because you followed up those two small roles with an even smaller one, appearing for one song in Mann and creating a bright spot just with that 3 minute appearance.

6. I love you because your first two mainstream films both had groundbreaking plots and casts and most of all songs!


7. That song is fun, but this one lets you really show how you can already play to the camera!

8. This one let you be all sexy.


9. This one let you be just plain fun.


10.  And then you got to do your first real “club” song!


11.  I love you because you hit the ground running!  Following up your two breakthrough small roles, with parts in everything from a Salman Khan comedy to a Bobby Deol action film.

12.  I love you because you were doing all of this at a very young age (22-23), but still older than other actresses.  Dealing with the combined handicaps of youthful insecurity and at the same time being seen as starting “late”.

13.  I love you because you also had time to take a break and do an art film, Hey Ram, in the middle of all these mainstream timepass hits.

14. I love you because you also took the time to make a friendly appearance in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham as a favor to the director who gave you your first real break.

15.  I love you because a lot of these films you cranked out between 1998 and 2002 are really really fun!

16. Badal has one of my favorite songs.


17. So does Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaye.


18.  And of course Har Dil Jo Pyar Karege.


19.  Chori Chori Chupke Chupke was probably your biggest hit of this period, again shared with Preity, but you got this one song all to yourself at least.


20. And this era came to an end with Saathiya, announcing you as an actress with mainstream popularity and stunning acting abilities who deserved only the best scripts.


21. I love you because you were bold in your career after Saathiya, and reaped the rewards and the blame for that.

22.  I love you because you dropped to one or fewer films a year at the same time as Aamir Khan, but you did it without the security of being “Aamir Khan” and knowing you always had superstardom to fall back on.

23.  I love you because the hits you did have, were clearly due to your abilities as much as the heroes, no more “shining in small roles”.

24.  I love you because you were still willing to take the smaller part if the script warranted it like in Yuva.

25. I love you because this second career period reached it’s peak with Black, the film where you took on a part opposite Amitabh Bachchan and walked away with the movie.

26. I love you because you always knew that a film doesn’t have to be “heavy” to be worthwhile.  Along with Black and Veer-Zaara and Mangal Panday and Kabhi Alveda Na Kehna, you also made Bunty Aur Babli.


27. And Hum-Tum.


28. And Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic.


29. And even your “heavier” films still had some fun!  Like Baabul with this song.


30. And Laaga Chunari Main Daag with this one.


31.  I love you because you put a grand finale on this era with No One Killed Jessica.  Coming out a full 2 years after your last film and declaring that you had moved past playing the “star” game and were fully into just being an actress.

32. I love you because your second movie in this “actress” realm was Aiyyaa, a film so odd and with a central role so difficult, that only you would have been both brave enough and talented enough to make it happen.

33.  I love you because you then reunited with one of your very first co-stars and a true “actor’s actor” in Talaash, proving that you are still able to hold the screen opposite him, that while he had grown in abilities in the past 15 years, you were no less.

34.  I love you because you released on last film, the most offbeat and uncommercial of them all, the gritty cop drama Mardaani, and then quietly got married with no fanfare or famous guests (well, besides Karan Johar.  But who wouldn’t have Karan at their wedding if they could?)

35.  I love you because you similarly quietly had your first child and are now looking to pick  up your career where it dropped off.  Not in “heroine” roles, but in films that interest you as an actress and which are worthy of your talents.

36. Really, NO ONE else could have taken that role in No One Killed Jessica!  The only pity is that you and Vidya had so few scenes together and we didn’t get to see the two greatest actresses in Hindi cinema onscreen at the same time.


37.  And at the same time, no one else could have taken the heroine from Aiyyaa and made her into a living breathing thing instead of an impossible character of a filmmad girl.


38.  And then there’s Talaash.  With what could be a bland and underwritten character, who you made stand out all on her own.


39.  And then finally there’s Mardaani.  I was going to end with one of your best songs from the past, but looking at this, although Mardaani may not have been your most popular film, this is a really great song to watch in your honor on your birthday.

15 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Rani! 39 Reasons I Love You!

  1. Really nice birthday tribute. Rani is the best! So many wonderful performances and songs. I’m thinking of watching Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaaye tonight in honor of her birthday. Is it a good one? I loved The Wedding Singer and this looks like it could be fun. At the very least, I’m sure there are some great songs!


  2. Great summary of what makes Rani so compelling, and great song to end with! I still haven’t had a chance to see Aiyyaa and it looks like so much fun. I felt like Black was so much an “Oscar bait” type film, but both she and Amitabh of course were amazing in their roles and in relationship to each other. Mardaani was a triumph though an uneven movie. I’m sure the script and direction had a lot to do with it too, but she was so good at being convincing as a tough almost super-cop while also seeming like someone who might actually exist in real life, a rounded woman character.


    • Aiyyaa is such fun, but watch out because there is a comedy track that is really unbearable, which unfortunately is intercut with the “good” bits in such a way that you can’t skip it. But the good bits are so good!

      I haven’t actually seen Black or Mardaani straight through (maybe tonight is the night?). I had the same “Oscar bait” feeling about Black, glad to get confirmation of that!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love Aiyyaa but that comedy track is totally WTF. I haven’t re-watched Mardaani and it’s a hard watch to begin with due to the subject matter. Rani is great, of course, and the actor playing the villain deserved the buzz he got. Also haven’t re-watched Black since early on in my fandom and I need to do that, too. In addition to the great acting in it, I’m one of those people that loves any picture that SLB paints and the tones of this one and the window into the Anglo-Indian world was fascinating to me.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I have to confess, part of the reason I have avoided Black is because when it came out, all the people in college who I didn’t much like were buzzing about it. The ones who tended to take themselves a little seriously and look down on “lesser” people.

          On Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 8:25 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



          • I know what you mean! It’s true of any film fan community. There’s the split between those that enjoy the artsy movies and those that like the mass-y movies. I most identify with those that like both and can laugh at the pretension of the artsy movies and defend the “art” of the mass-y ones, but enjoy them both for what they are.

            Liked by 1 person

          • What I find very funny in retrospect is that the person who was giving me the most trouble with “ooo, Black is so much better than the usual Hindi film” would also give me long lectures about how Telugu movies (her family was from Hyderabad) were so superior and deeper and better than Hindi films. And now, 10 years later, I am actually watching those movies thinking “this is what she thought was so much deeper and better?????”

            Liked by 1 person

          • I wonder what Telugu movies she was watching 🙂

            I am a fan of Telugu films but I have no qualms to admit that they are not really deep and are made for pure entertainment.


  3. Rani is my favorite actress out of the older lot! Well, Rani and Preity are like 1A and 1B but I do think Rani’s more versatile than Preity. You’re post on Chalte Chalte led me to watching both Hum Tum and Mujhse Dosti Karoge last weekend. In my opinion, Rani was the best part of both of those movies!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a soft spot for Saif in Hum Tum. He is super funny and entertaining. But on the other hand, Rani is the real heart of the film, and has the harder role, to play that goodie two shoes kind of heroine for the first half without making her unlikable.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I really liked Saif in Hum Tum too. I think Karan in Hum Tum and Rohit in Kal Ho Naa Ho are my two favorite Saif characters. What is your favorite Saif character?

        Though Rani’s character is a bit of a goody two shoes, she’s still fun and has a sense of humor. What I mean is that she’s not like Preity in the beginning of Kal Ho Naa Ho.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think Kal ho Na Ho is Saif’s best performance. He was really good in Omkara, but Kal Ho Na Ho is a role that is almost impossible to play, and with just a few moments and gestures and expressions he turns his character from the “loser” into the stronger hero. Just like Jaya describes in in that one speech, strong enough to marry someone he knows doesn’t love him. On the other hand, I find him the most amusing in Dil Chahta Hai!

          I get what you mean about Rani in Hum Tum. Which, for me, might make her easier to not like. Preity in the beginning of KHNH, she was so bitter and angry that she didn’t even know how to be happy and we could see where all her rule following and so on came from. But a woman who is so confident in what is the “right” thing to do, and has never really had that challenged, I could find really really unlikable! I don’t, which is a tribute to how charming Rani makes the character, but I could.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I feel like Saif’s part of Dil Chahta Hai is written to be more light and be the comedy track, but he is fun 🙂

            I kind of get what you mean about Rani in Hum Tum being unlikable. By the way, Rani did a facebook live chat with her fans for her birthday for like 20 minutes. This is the first time I’ve seen her off-screen but I was suprised at how jovial she was. I always imagined her to be more of a quite introvert, but instead she reminded me of one of my mom’s friends who’s always cracking jokes with us kids.


          • That’s great! About Rani I mean. I’ve also always thought of her as kind of reserved. But maybe she is one of those people who loosens up if she feels relaxed in a social situation. I could believe a facebook live chat would be a lot more relaxing than a formal interview.

            On Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 5:11 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



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