|The Sarah Jane Adventures character|
|First appearance||The Day of the Clown (2008)|
|Last appearance||The Man Who Never Was (2011; serial)|
"Farewell, Sarah Jane" (2020; webcast)
|Portrayed by||Anjli Mohindra|
|Home era||Early 21st century|
Rani Chandra is a fictional character played by Anjli Mohindra in the British children's science fiction television programme The Sarah Jane Adventures, a spin-off from the long-running series Doctor Who. She first appeared in The Day of the Clown.
Rani was introduced into The Sarah Jane Adventures as a replacement for departing character Maria Jackson, played by Yasmin Paige. Paige left the series as a regular due to her wanting to complete her GCSEs, thus, Maria moved to America because her father had been offered a job there. Rani's parents, Haresh and Gita Chandra, replace Maria's parents, Alan and Chrissie Jackson, as Alan departs with their daughter and Chrissie no longer has reason to show up.
Rani first appears in the second story of Series 2, following Maria's departure. In The Day of the Clown (2008), Rani and her parents move into the Jacksons' old house at 12 Bannerman Road(sometimes 36 Bannerman Road), opposite Sarah Jane (Elisabeth Sladen) and Luke Smith's (Tommy Knight) house, in Ealing, London. Her father is the new headteacher of the school where she, Luke and his best friend Clyde Langer (Daniel Anthony) are pupils; her mother owns the Bloomin' Lovely florist. An aspiring journalist, Rani soon joins Sarah Jane's investigative gang.
In the Series 3 premiere Prisoner of the Judoon (2009), Rani and Clyde are banned by extraterrestrial police force the Judoon from space travel as punishment for interference in their work. Although grounded on her terrestrial homeworld, she is nobility of an unspecified alien planet. A humanoid child monarch known as Gavin creates her Lady Rani in appreciation of her assistance in his succession which also saved the whole of humanity. Coincidentally, she is continually addressed as Lady Rani in the subsequent serial, when she is transported to the court of Queen Jane and mistaken for a newly summoned lady-in-waiting.
The Series 3-story The Mad Woman in the Attic focuses on Rani. Sarah Jane discovers that, in violation of her rules, Rani has shared her adventures in letters to her former school friend Samuel; the events of the episode cause two timelines to occur, one where in 2059, Rani has acquired Sarah Jane's home at 13 Bannerman Road and become miserable and alone, and another where she will have a son and grandchildren and still friends with Luke and even her predecessor, Maria, living with her family at the former Smith home. Rani's final appearance comes in the last episode of the programme, The Man Who Never Was (2011).
Rani makes a further appearance in "Farewell, Sarah Jane" (2020), an epilogue for the series where years after the events of the main series, she becomes a full time journalist and is writing a story for a project at the North Pole. She finds out that Sarah Jane has died and along with Clyde and Luke, organise her funeral where everyone is celebrating her life. Rani chooses to believe that Sarah Jane did not pass away but rather went with the Doctor to travel the universe, forever.
The official The Sarah Jane Adventures website offers the following description of Rani Chandra:
15, inquisitive, smart and sassy. Wants to be a journalist, a sort of junior Sarah Jane, and thus idolises Sarah Jane just a little and in return, Sarah Jane takes her happily on her investigations. Rani enjoys Luke's company because they're both quite bright and eager to learn. However, she's equally fond of Clyde because he's cool and a bit rebellious, and has charm.
In an interview for SFX, Mohindra asserts that Rani and Maria are only similar in the extent that they are both girls, live in the same house and "[i]n personality terms...[they are] both quite strong-willed", although she notes that there are "a lot less tears from Rani than there were from Maria." She describes Rani's relationship with Sarah Jane as "a lot different" to that between Sarah Jane and Maria. Mohindra notes that Rani is "very much an apprentice of Sarah Jane...[although] at first...Sarah Jane is not really that interested in taking on another child." Rani shadows Sarah Jane and copies her behaviour to help her deal with a situation. She is keen on fighting mentally as opposed to physically and Mohindra likes the fact that Rani is "a girl between two guys at times".
Reviewing the second series of The Sarah Jane Adventures for Digital Spy, Ben Rawson-Jones writes that: "As Rani, Anjli Mohindra was fine with dialogue, but painfully self-conscious on a physical acting level when compared to the effortless ease with which Daniel Anthony and Tommy Knight portray Clyde and Luke. It was almost as if someone was stood slightly off set operating her with strings. That theory at least fits into the whole 'body possession' procession of the second season."
Following Rani's first appearance, Michael Bush writes for Den of Geek: "Rani is another asset to the fledgling cast: a gabby young journalist whose inquisitive nature leads to a run in with alien foes. Comparisons between Rani and Sarah Jane's former companion Maria are almost inevitable, and bound to be divisive, but – based on this episode, at least – Mohindra gives as good as she takes, and her character manages to be interesting and endearing without treading on Miss Jackson's toes."
- https://www.digitalspy.com/tv/a32199921/sarah-jane-adventures-farewell-story-recap/[bare URL]
- https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p089y8mq[bare URL]
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- Phil Ford (writer), Joss Agnew (director), Matthew Bouch (producer) (29 September 2008). The Last Sontaran. The Sarah Jane Adventures. BBC. BBC One, CBBC.
- "Rani Chandra". BBC. Archived from the original on 19 April 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2008.
- Phil Ford (writer), Joss Agnew (director), Nikki Wilson, Phil Ford (producers) (16 October 2009). "Part Two". Prisoner of the Judoon. The Sarah Jane Adventures. Series 3. Episode 2. BBC. CBBC.
- Gareth Roberts (writer), Ashley Way (director), Brian Minchin, Phil Ford (producers) (2 November 2010). "Part Two". The Empty Planet. The Sarah Jane Adventures. Series 4. Episode 8. BBC. CBBC.
- Rupert Laight (writer), Joss Agnew (director), Brian Minchin, Phil Ford (producers) (8–9 November 2010). Lost in Time. The Sarah Jane Adventures. BBC. CBBC.
- Seddon, Dan (19 April 2020). "Russell T Davies' Sarah Jane Adventures farewell story is the perfect send-off". Digital Spy. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
- "BBC One – Doctor Who, Farewell Sarah Jane". BBC. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
- Rawson-Jones, Ben (14 December 2008). "'Sarah Jane' Season Two: The Verdict". Digital Spy. Retrieved 15 December 2008.
- "The Sarah Jane Adventures series 2 episode 3 review". Den of Geek. Retrieved 20 February 2018.