After graduating with a degree in English literature, she completed a workshop on theatre in Mumbai because of her strong background in it. She made her acting debut in Phir Milenge (2004), a film that was based on the subject of AIDS. Although the film had a star cast, her performance was appreciated. She gained recognition in the multiple-award winner, Anand, 2004 Telugu movie.
Kamalinee was born and brought up in Kolkata, India. Her father is a marine engineer and her mother is a jewellery designer. She is the eldest of the three siblings in the family. Owing to her "love for being on the stage" since childhood, she acted in all sorts of amateur and professional stageplays while in school and college. Incidentally, she always portrayed masculine characters in these plays. Besides theatre, she developed a love for reading, painting and writing. She also underwent several years of training in the Indian classical dance form, Bharatanatyam.
After a chance meeting, actor-director Revathi offered her a role in her second directorial venture, Phir Milenge, a film about AIDS. Though initially apprehensive about her entering into the acting profession, her parents were very supportive. In the film, she plays a radio jockey, and the younger sibling to Shilpa Shetty's character. Despite the fact that hers was not a lead character, she had ample an role to play in the film.
Around the same time, Sekhar Kammula, a national award-winning director from the Telugu film industry, was in the process of casting for his next Telugu film, Anand. After noticing her in an advertisement, Kammula selected her for the role. Mukherjee said that the role of an independent and modern woman, which was just like her own personality, appealed to her. When asked about her thoughts on a total change of working environment from Bollywood to Tollywood, she said that the only difference was the language. After completion of filming, she felt that as a relative newcomer she could not have asked for more, but thought that she could have performed better. Despite her thoughts, the film won six prestigious 2004 Nandi Awards bestowed by the Government of Andhra Pradesh. Among these, Mukherjee won the Nandi Award for the Best Leading Actress. Upon receiving the award, she said "it is beyond the [sic] belief". She also won two awards for being the best debutante actress of the year.
After receiving appreciation for her portrayal of a strong-willed, independent and modern woman in Anand, her next film was Meenakshi, in 2005. Despite the film not finding much commercial success, Mukherjee said that she did not regret doing the film and that it was a big learning curve. Film reviewers praised Mukherjee for her acting skills. In 2006, she appeared in two Telugu language films (Style and Godavari) and one Tamil language film (Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu). Style is a dance-based film with actor-choreographers Prabhu Deva, Raghava Lawrence, Charmee Kaur and Raja.
Godavari, which was Sekhar Kammula's next film, starred Sumanth and Mukherjee in the lead roles. This drama film, which had the Godavari River in the backdrop, dealt with a romantic love story between the lead characters. Mukherjee portrayed the role of a woman with independent thinking and tremendous inner strength, under the "backdrop of middle/upper middle class sensibilities, new aspirations, identity crisis, independence, yearnings and moreover, parental concerns." The film received predominantly positive reviews, and Kamalinee's role was particularly praised. While one reviewer said that she was "beautiful ... both in looks and in her measured acting style," another reviewer praised her for the "intense yet cool portrayal."
She made her Tamil debut in 2006 in Gautham Menon's Vettiyadu Velliyadu starring Tamil superstar Kamal Hassan. Following this, came Gamyam by Krish, a film widely praised by critics and audiences alike and subsequently remade in Tamil and Kannada, both of which featured Kamalinee in the lead role. Gamyam was the only regional film from the south to be in the running for India's entry to the Academy Awards apart from sweeping both the Nandi and Filmfare Awards.
In 2009, she played the role of Latin Christian woman, Pemenna, in Kutty Srank, directed by Cannes award-winning director, Shaji N. Karun, and starring Malayalam matinee idol, Mammooty. The film swept the National Awards, winning in six categories including Best Film. She garnered tremendous praise for her portrayal of a young girl discovering her own sexuality and passion for forbidden love. In the same year, she worked in veteran director Vamsi's musical Gopi Gopika Godavari, which was well received not only for its cinematic content but also for its soundtrack.
In 2012, Kamalinee debuted in her native language, Bengali in National Award-winning director, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury's Aparajita Tumi, starring Bengali superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee. The film met with critical and commercial success. As per one reviewer, "The character of Ushashie, played by Kamalinee, is perhaps the most interesting one in the movie. The actress is stunning in her portrayal of a lonely, frustrated woman who runs through an entire gamut of emotions – right from resentment and self-pity, to anger, vengeance and finally, an inner sense of guilt". Following Aparajita Tumi, Kamalinee also appeared in K Raghavenrda Rao's devotional film, Shirdi Sai with Nagarjuna. Her next project was new-age Malayalam director, V. K. Prakash's Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla, where she played a quirky character opposite Fahadh Faasil.
In 2016, Kamalinee worked with award-winning director Karthik Subbaraj in his second directorial venture, a woman-oriented film, Iraivi. The film was received well both critically and commercially with a reviewer stating, "Kamalinee Mukherjee once again reminds us that she is so good looking and talented as well. As Yazhini she gets to play a character still in love with Arul but is unable to cope up with the way he is destroying himself and their relationship. In fact her scenes with S.J.Suryah are wonderful, the chemistry between them being evident and adding value to those moments.". After her special-appearance song in Malayalam director Vysakh's 2014 film Cousins, she was cast opposite Mohanlal in the box office record-breaking Pulimurugan. As of January 2017, Pulimurugan was the highest-grossing Malayalam film. Her performance was widely praised with one reviewer stating that Kamalinee has "done a fabulous job as Myna and she really played the character with lot of conviction". Another reviewer stated, "Hats off to Kamalinee Mukherjee, who has given a tight competition to Mohanlal. The actress is equally aggressive and adventurous in the movie. Be it the risky scenes or the cute romance sequences, Kamalinee is Mohanlal’s perfect Jodi."
Kamalinee is a supporter of non-profit organizations CHORD India and World Vision, which are both involved in rehabilitation, welfare and the education of children. She produces beauty tutorial videos along with her two younger sisters, Mrinalinee and Shohinee, for Mrinalinee's YouTube channel Mirror Mirror. In 2014, she launched Chinese-American poetess Wand Ping's anthology Ten Thousand Waves in Hyderabad, India at a poetry reading event. Kamalinee was also part of the poets panel at the Bengaluru poetry festival in August 2016 where she read a selection of her poems alongside award-winning poet Dr. Neal Hall. She is an avid baker and cook and enjoys experimenting with cuisines from around the world.
|2004||Phir Milenge||Tanya Sahni||Hindi||Debut film|
|Anand||Rupa||Telugu||Nandi Award for Best Actress|
Nominated: Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu
|Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu||Kayalvizhi Raghavan||Tamil|
|Godavari||Seetha Mahalakshmi||Telugu||Nominated: Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu|
|Happy Days||Shreya Madam||Cameo appearance|
|2008||Gamyam||Janaki||Nominated: Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu|
|Brahmanandam Drama Company||Arpitha|
|2009||Kadhalna Summa Illai||Janaki||Tamil|
|Gopi Gopika Godavari||Gopika||Telugu||Nominated: Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu|
|Maa Annayya Bangaram||Manju||Telugu|
|Shirdi Sai||Radhakrishna Bai||Telugu|
|2013||Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla||Prabha Thomas||Malayalam|
|Jagadguru Adi Shankara||Ubhaya Bharathi||Cameo appearance|
|Cousins||Malayalam||Cameo appearance - Song|
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She’s 24, but ... Kamalinee Mukherjee.
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