Kajol Devgan, nee Mukherjee, popularly known as Kajol, is a Hindi film actress. Kajol made her acting debut with Bekhudi (1992) and had her first hit with her second film Baazigar (1993) along with Shahrukh Khan, with whom she later went to deliver some of the biggest Bollywood hits like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995) and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998). Her performances in both the films were praised and earned her two Filmfare Best Actress Awards. After the successful Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham released in 2001, she took a sabbatical from full time acting for five years. She made a successful comeback with Kunal Kohli's Fanaa (2006), for which she received her fourth Best Actress award at the Filmfare ceremony. During her career years, she has been part of many critically and commercially successful films, and is regarded as one of India's most successful actresses.
Kajol was born in Mumbai to the Mukherjee-Samarth film family of Bengali-Marathi descent. Her mother, Tanuja, is an actress, while her father Shomu Mukherjee was a film director and producer. Shomu died in 2008 after suffering cardiac arrest. Kajol's younger sister, Tanishaa Mukherjee 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, were filmmakers. Kajol's cousins Rani Mukerji, Sharbani Mukherjee and Mohnish Behl are also Bollywood actors; whereas another cousin of hers, Ayan Mukerji is a director. She studied at the St Joseph Convent boarding school in 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. At the age of sixteen, she began work on Rahul Rawail's film Bekhudi, which according to her was a "big dose of luck". She initially intended to return to school after shooting for the film during her summer vacations. However, she eventually dropped out of school to pursue a full-time career in film. On not completing her education, she quoted, "I don't think I am any less well-rounded because I didn't complete school.
Her first release in 1994, Udhaar Ki Zindagi, was a box-office failure. Despite that, her performance in the film was much appreciated by critics, and she won the BFJA Best Actress Award for this film. She next starred in her first Yash Raj Film, the romantic drama Yeh Dillagi, co-starring opposite Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan. The film was a box office success and her performance as Sapna, a strong dreamy girl who leaves her paternal home to make her own life in the big city, earned Kajol her first nomination for Best Actress award at the Filmfare. Kajol married Bollywood actor Ajay Devgan on February 24, 1999. On April 20, 2003, she gave birth to a daughter named Nysa, which means Goddess of purity. On April 10, 2008, Kajol's father passed away after suffering from a cardiac arrest. His funeral was held the same day and was attended by other Bollywood personalities.