The Queen from Khandala
4. Rani Mukerji
The odds were stacked against her. Rani's 1996 Bollywood debut, Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat, was a washout. Her cousin Kajol was the industry's top actress. And her much-awaited big feature with Aamir Khan wasn't looking to hit screens anytime soon. Rani bit her lip and bided her time. Then came Ghulam, and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai with Shah Rukh Khan. Wow.
Rani slogged her way with grit and immense drive, working doggedly at the mediocre parts she seemed to be attracting. The films might not have gained ground, but a high-intensity, extremely natural actress was waiting to burst out. Shaad Ali's Saathiya proved a forerunner of things to come as Rani made the 2000s her own, solidifying her success with films like Yuva, Bunty Aur Babli, Paheli, Hum Tum and Black.
Lots of milestones still to go for this one, but Rani Mukerji is decidedly one of the finest actresses to rule that number one roost. Without question, the most powerful leading lady in Bollywood today.
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Photo: PIERRE ANDRIEU/AFP/Getty Images
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