Tanuja Mukherjee (23 September 1943), popularly known as Tanuja, is an Indian film actress. She is the mother of Kajol and Tanisha, and is most remembered for her roles in Hindi films like Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi (1966), Jewel Thief, Haathi Mere Saathi (1971), and Anubhav (1971). Simultaneously she appeared in Marathi, Bengali and Gujarati films like, Zaakol (Marathi), Antony Phiringee (Bengali), Deya Neya, Teen Bhuvaner Parey (1969), Prothom Kadam Phool, and Rajkumari.'Naari tu Narayani'(Gujarati).
Tanuja was born in Mumbai into a Marathi family of four children as Tanuja Samarth to poet Kumarsen Samarth and his wife Shobhna Samarth. Her mother was a famous 1930s and 1940s actress and her father was a poet and film director. When she was very young her parents separated. Tanuja entered films as a child actress and continued working until 1973. Tanuja's eldest sister was the famous Bollywood actress, Nutan. Tanuja's sister Chatura did not enter Bollywood.
She started her film career with her older sister Nutan in Hamari Beti (1950) as Baby Tanuja. As an adult, she debuted in the film Chhabili (1960) which was directed by her mother and had her sister, Nutan, in the lead. The film that truly marked her transition into adult heroine came with Hamari Yaad Aayegi (1961), directed by Kidar Sharma, who had earlier discovered Raj Kapoor, Madhubala and Geeta Bali. In time, Tanuja stepped into the headstrong young woman niche created so ably by Geeta Bali in the 1950s.
One of her early films, noticeable for her acting, was Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi (1966), directed by Shaheed Latif. Her next big film was with Jeetendra, Jeene Ki Raah (1969), an immediate and surprise hit. In the same year, Tanuja won the Best Supporting Actress Filmfare Award for Paisa Ya Pyar. After the success of Haathi Mere Saathi (1971), she acted in Door Ka Raahi, Mere Jeevan Saathi, Do Chor and Ek Baar Muskara Do (1972), Kaam Chor, Yaarana, Khuddar, and Masoom. Some of the other films she has acted in are Pavitra Paapi, Bhoot Bangla, and Anubhav.
She has recently appeared in such films as Saathiya (2002), and Khakee (2003) as a supporting actress.