We've heard of enough actresses settling down to matrimony having passed their prime. But who would have thought that the girl who had the entire film industry at her feet would suddenly throw it all up for the love of her life and tie the knot at the peak of her career?
Well, that's exactly what Kajol did when she married Ajay Devgan, her boyfriend of several years, last February. Following the quiet wedding, Kajol has had just two releases. The first was a non-starter called 'Hote Hote Pyaar Ho Gaya'. The second was a small role in the Devgan home production, 'Dil Kya Kare', where she was content playing second fiddle to Mahima Choudhary.
And now she's doing one more Devgan production, 'Raju Chacha', in addition to Rahul Rawail's 'Khatta Meetha' and favourite director Karan Johar's next. That's all this bundle of talent has left her heartbroken fans to look forward to. For, she says, films are not her bread and butter, so why compromise on quality? The good news is that she's not planning to quit the industry (as was rumoured) either.
For, that's where her roots are deeply sunk. Shobhana Samarth's grand daughter, Tanuja and Shomu Mukherjee's daughter and Nutan's niece. This is the legacy Kajol inherited when she made her first screen appearance with Rahul Rawail's 'Bekhudi' (1992). And straightaway, the bubbly teenager displayed tremendous potential and enough promise to make her illustrious family proud.
This was followed by a fabulous performance in the small-budget family drama, 'Udhaar Ki Zindagi' (1994) for which she received rave reviews. The same year she had two hits _ 'Karan Arjun', which really wasted her talent, and 'Yeh Dillagi' where she displayed her full range of expressions in a breezy love-triangle along with Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan.
But Kajol's real moment of glory came in 1995 when she took the nation by storm along with Shah Rukh Khan in Aditya Chopra's maiden venture, 'Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge'. As the simple and lovable Simran, who meets her true love Raj, on a trip through Europe, Kajol brought to the screen a quality of freshness and charm that seemed long forgotten in the age of mindless violence.
She was then paired with hubby-to-be, Ajay Devgan, in the action thrillers 'Gundaraj' and 'Hulchul' (1995) and in Indra Kumar's romantic comedy, 'Ishq' (1997). Later, the gutsy actress changed tracks to take the daring decision of playing the villain in Rajiv Rai's murder mystery 'Gupt' (1997). Fortunately for her, the gamble paid off and the film was a huge commercial success.
But the same year, AVM's trilingual 'Sapnay', with Arvind Swamy and Prabhu Deva failed despite good performances from all three stars and some hummable music from A R Rahman.
However, that was all forgotten come 1998, 'the year of Kajol'. First there was the runaway hit, 'Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya' with Salman Khan. Then came Tanuja Chandra's 'Dushman', her first attempt at a double role which wowed audiences and critics alike. Kajol dazzled as the lively Sonia who dies a tragic death and her devastated twin Naina, who's desperate to bring her killer to book.
'Pyaar To Houna Hi Tha' had her romancing Devgan on screen, a spectacle movie goers were eager to lap up just then. But the biggest blockbuster of the year happened towards the end with Karan Johar's 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai'. Kajol played the tomboyish Anjali of the first half with as much ease as she slipped into lace blouses, trendy sarees and a demure look in the second.
Even as she prepared herself for her much-awaited wedding, she added one more feather to her cap, Satish Kaushik's melodrama 'Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain'. Such was Anil Kapoor's determination to do at least one film with this gifted actress, he did all he could to persuade her to work with
No wonder then that Kajol is rated as, perhaps, the pick of her generation of leading ladies. What with her ability to lend credibility to all manner of roles. Hopefully, there are many more to come…