Since her debut film Bekhudi (1992), Kajol has built a massively successful career over the past 31 years, showing comedic flair, dramatic grit and even being a great villain in her 1997 film Gupt: The Hidden Truth, co-starring Bobby Deol and Manisha Koirala. The actor has showed off her comedic chops in Karan Johar films such as Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, and also held her own in her role as a mother in a more serious film such as Shah Rukh Khan-starrer My Name Is Khan. Also read: Kajol recalls receiving film offer from Mani Ratnam ahead of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Kajol celebrates her 49th birthday on Saturday. As a result, we’re asking the tough question: which performances are her most impressive? Ahead we count down our picks for the top 5 Kajol performances, in random order.
In the romantic thriller directed by Abbas-Mustan, Kajol featured alongside Shah Rukh Khan, Shilpa Shetty, Raakhee, Dalip Tahil, and Johnny Lever, among others. Kajol was seen as Priya Chopra, Shah Rukh’s girlfriend and Shilpa’s sister. The scene, where Priya, who herself is investigating her sister’s death, finds out that she was in fact killed by Shah Rukh’s character is especially iconic.
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)
One of the the biggest romantic films in India, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ), established Kajol and Shah Rukh as a hit pair. From Simran (Kajol) meeting and immediately hating Raj (Shah Rukh) during a Europe trip, to Simran convincing her strict father (Amrish Puri) to go one one girls’ trip before she marries the man of his choice, Kajol was memorable in every frame. It’s a commanding performance that shows what was to come of her almost unbounded talent.
Gupt: The Hidden Truth (1997)
Kajol was the the anti-hero in this murder mystery. The film, also starring Bobby Deol and Manisha Koirala, was one of the highest grossing films of the year and won three Filmfare Awards, including best villain for Kajol. Despite playing a morally reprehensible lover, you have to admit that Kajol played Isha Dewan with conviction.
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… (2001)
Anyone who disregards the Karan Johar film as anything other than brilliant cinema hasn’t seriously engaged with it. The drama featuring Kajol – alongside other heavyweights like Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh, Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor – navigating close family bonds is vivid. Despite a huge star cast, Kajol’s powerful presence is both awe-inspiring and hilarious. Her funny-yet-relatable performance in the film is the go-to answer for why she’s such a good actor.
My Name Is Khan (2010)
It’s the story of an Indian Muslim (Shah Rukh), who suffers from the Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism that impacts social interaction abilities, and is arrested mistakenly as a suspected terrorist in post-9/11 Los Angeles. Kajol’s intelligent and honest portrayal of a mother building her life back up after a tragic incident, and how she reluctantly gets into a relationship with Shah Rukh’s character might have helped her upstage Shah Rukh in some scenes.