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Monday, October 29, 2007

Kareena Kapoor


Kareena Kapoor (Hindi: करीना कपूर, born 21 September 1980) nicknamed "Bebo" is an award-winning prominent Indian actress who appears in Bollywood movies.

Making her acting debut with J.P. Dutta's Refugee (2000), for which she won a Filmfare Best Female Debut Award, Kapoor had her first commercial success with her second release, Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai (2001). Her performance as a cosmetic beauty in Karan Johar's melodramatic Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, which also released that year, was praised and the film turned out to be her biggest commercial success to date. After that, Kapoor starred in several films which were less successful at the box office and received some criticism in that she was becoming typecast. As a result of this, she began taking on more serious and diverse roles.

Her portrayal of a sex-worker in Sudhir Mishra's Chameli (2004) proved to be the turning point in her career and won her the Filmfare Special Performance Award. Following this, her performances in critically acclaimed films like Dev (2004) and Omkara (2006) were praised and earned her two Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress.

During her career years, she has appeared in many films, majority of them bringing her critical acclaim rather than commercial success. Despite this, she retains popularity and is regarded as one of the most versatile actresses of the industry.

Early Life and Family

Hailing from the renowned Kapoor film family of Punjabi origin, Kapoor was born on September 21, 1980 in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, as the second child of actors Randhir Kapoor and Babita (née Shivdasani). According to Kapoor, her first name was derived from the book, Anna Karenina, "It just so happened that mom was reading Anna Karenina while she was carrying me. And so impressed was she by the character that she promised to name her child by that name if she ever had a girl."

She is the grand-daughter of the legendary actor and director Raj Kapoor and the great grand-daughter of Prithviraj Kapoor. Bebo, as she is also fondly called, is the sister of popular actress, Karisma Kapoor and the niece of well-known actor, Rishi Kapoor. Other living relatives include maternal aunt Sadhana, and cousins Ranbir Kapoor and Nikhil Nanda.

Due to family tradition, her father wanted her to get married early and settle down, thus avoiding acting, which was considered a taboo for Kapoor women. This led to irreconcilable differences between her father and mother and they decided to separate, resulting in her mother taking her along with her sister.

Kapoor attended Jamnabai Narsee School in Mumbai as a child, and then went to Welham Girls Boarding School in Dehradun. After studying commerce at Mithibai College, Vile Parle for two years, she went to Harvard for summer school and took a course in microcomputers and information technology for three months. Set on pursuing an acting career, she took an admission in Government Law College at Churchgate to become a lawyer. After completing one year there, she returned to her initial plan of joining the film industry and began training to become an actress under Kishor Namit Kapoor, the founder of Kapoor Acting Lab.


Early work, until 2000...
Kapoor was initially approached to make her debut opposite Hrithik Roshan in Rakesh Roshan's Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai (2000). However after several days into the filming, she abandoned the project due to her mother's influence. In an interview, she explained, "It was probably destined that I was not to be in the film. After all, it was a launch for his (Rakesh Roshan) son. The whole focus was on the boy. Now I am glad I did not do the movie."

Her career commenced with an unconventional role in J.P. Dutta’s moderately successful Refugee (2000) opposite Abhishek Bachchan, proclaiming that she wanted "to be known as a powerful actress." The film centred around the India-Pakistan conflicts, showing a young man, Refugee, who carries out the illegal activity of taking civilians to Pakistan and forth. Kapoor's performance of Naaz, a Bangladeshi girl, who falls in love with him while migrating to Pakistan along with her family, won her critical acclaim. Critic Taran Adarsh from noted, "Kareena Kapoor has a magnetic personality, which will make the viewer fall in love with her instantly. On a scale of 10, Kareena's performance deserves 9 marks, dialogue delivery 8 and overall personality 10. What surprises you is the ease with which she emotes the most difficult of scenes, that too against experienced performers. There's no denying the fact that she is a natural performer who is very camera friendly."

The film eventually went on to became the fifth highest grossing film of the year and earned Kapoor her first Filmfare Award in the Best Female Debut category.

Breakthrough, 2001 - 2003....
The year 2001 began with a successful start for Kapoor, as her first film, Satish Kaushik's Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai opposite Tusshar Kapoor became one of the biggest hits of the year. Critic, Faiz Khan wrote about her performance, "Kareena Kapoor is someone who brings to the film, a magical glow and at times you feel that here is an actress who has some of Kajol's spark. She is effortless, and has a natural and spontaneous feel to her. This girl is headed right for the top, there is no stopping her."

However, subsequent films like Yaadein and Asoka did poorly at the box office but her breakthrough performance of a princess in the latter was acclaimed and earned Kapoor her first Filmfare nomination for Best Actress. Later that year, she starred in Abbas Mustan's thriller Ajnabee. Although the film tackled an audacious theme of wife swapping, which critics thought the Indian audience would find hard to absorb and identify with, the film fared reasonably well and became one of the highest grossing films of the year.

Kapoor's last release of the year was Karan Johar's drama Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, consisting of a multi-starrer cast that included Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Kajol and Hrithik Roshan. The film became the second highest grossing film of the year and one of the biggest hit overseas. Her performance as a cosmetic beauty was applauded and earned her a nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the Filmfare ceremony. Taran Adarsh noted, "Kareena Kapoor is one of the main highlights of the film. She provides the much-needed fun and entertainment in the second half; her performance will be loved by the youth. Playing a cosmetic beauty to the hilt, she is simply adorable." These successes and accomplishments established her as one of the industry's most successful stars.

After these successes, Kapoor was in high demand and was signed to many new films, but most of them were not as successful as those which had given her the spotlight attention. In 2002, she starred alongside Hrithik Roshan and Rani Mukerji in Kunal Kohli's directorial debut Mujhse Dosti Karoge! (2002), which was her first film with the biggest production house in Bollywood: Yash Raj Films. Although much anticipated, the film was a critical and commercial failure in India but fared well overseas, especially in the U.K. The film dealt with a love story between three childhood friends and saw Kapoor play Tina, a girl of today's generation. Faiz Khan criticized her, "Kareena Kapoor seems to have stepped off the Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham sets and simply had a change of name, from Pooja to Tina for this film. But what was novel in that film, is contrived here. What was exciting in K3G, is irritating here."

This was followed in 2003 by Sooraj R. Barjatya's love-triangle Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon, co-starring Hrithik Roshan and Abhishek Bachchan. Produced by Rajshri Productions, the film also failed commercially and critically in India but proved to be a hit overseas. Kapoor's performance of Sanjana, the center of two men was criticized, "Kareena comes off as very inexperienced, mouthing dialogs synthetically, and going over the top in emotional scenes far too often." Critics began criticizing her for enacting repetitious kind of roles in her films and expressing that she was indeed in serious danger of becoming typecast, which was fundamental in her attempting a diversity of more adventurous roles in the years following.

Turning Point, 2004 - present....
In 2004, Kapoor began working with art film directors and doing more serious roles that brought her critical acclaim rather than commercial success. Her role of a prostitute in the 2004 film, Chameli proved to be a turning point in her career and made critics take notice of her once again, earning her the Filmfare Special Performance Award. Film critic Subhash K. Jha wrote "Kareena goes way beyond anyone's expectations, including most decidedly her own, to deliver an all-time great performance, on a par with Nargis in Mehboob Khan's "Mother India" (1957), Meena Kumari in "Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam" (1962) and Shabana Azmi in Mahesh Bhatt's "Arth" (1982). Kareena flashes an intuitive brilliance that comes to movies very, very rarely indeed."

After winning acclaim for her role in Chameli, Kapoor's next release was Govind Nihalani's critically acclaimed Dev, which dealt with the historical events of the 2001 Gujarat riots. Modeled after Zahira Sheikh, a key witness in Vadodara's Best Bakery case, Kapoor played Aaliya, a middle-class Muslim girl who is a victim of these riots. Her performance was unanimously praised, earning her a Filmfare Critics Award for Best Performance as well as several nominations for Best Actress at various award ceremonies. Critic, Prema K. noted, "Kareena is very good right from the first to last frame. Two scenes require special mention- when she is trying to fight off the Hindu rioters who try to rape her friend and her, and the other in which she reveals the names of wrongdoers to Dev. With this film one can confidently say that she has matured as an actress and with the right films and directors could go the Tabu way."

In the same year, Kapoor also played a negative role for the first time in Ken Ghosh's Fida. Although the film failed to do well, she again received positive reviews for her performance. Anjali from wrote, "Kareena has also done a great job. After Chameli and Dev earlier this year, she evolves further as an actress. She has portrayed the parts where she is racked by guilt very well." Another critic said, "Kareena Kapoor is in great form. The actress gets the best part and must say, she sinks her teeth into it and emerges with flying colours. This is amongst her finest work to date. She looks bewitching as well.

Later that year, Kapoor ventured into her first comic role in the semi-hit Hulchul, for which she was praised. Critic Smitha Nambiar lauded her comic timing whilst another critic wrote, "Kareena Kapoor looks ethereal and delivers a highly competent performance. Although she does not get a chance to exhibit talent in the post-interval portions, her performance in the first half continues to linger in your memory even after the show has concluded." Her other release that year included the moderately successful Aitraaz co-starring Akshay Kumar and Priyanka Chopra.

This was followed in 2005 by Dharmesh Darshan's drama, Bewafaa, alongside Anil Kapoor, Akshay Kumar and Sushmita Sen. Kapoor played the female lead of Anjali, a woman who decides to marry her sister's husband after her death. Unsatisfied with her married life, she sets on an extramarital affair with her lover. The film received mixed reviews by critics and so did Kapoor's performance. Taran Adarsh wrote about her performance, "This is Kareena's film all the way and the talented actress knows how to absorb a meaty role like this. She looks stunning, emotes with complete maturity and delivers a knockout performance" whilst another criticized her by saying, "as a dedicated mother, she fails to emote properly."

36 China Town was Kapoor's first release in 2006 followed by Chup Chup Ke. Both films managed to do moderately well at the box office. However, she was mostly noticed with her portrayal of Desdemona in the Indian adaptation of William Shakespeare's Othello, Omkara. Her performance was praised, earning her a Filmfare Critics Award for Best Performance and a Star Screen Award for Best Actress as well as various nominations for Best Actress at different award ceremonies. Critic Naresh Kumar Deoshi wrote, "Kareena Kapoor once again shows her acting prowess in playing a role that has no glamour but lots of substance. She brings out the innocence and the vulnerability of her character."

In the same year, she won favorable reviews for her item number in the hit movie Don - The Chase Begins Again. Her forthcoming release, Imtiaz Ali's Jab We Met (2007) is expected to release on October 26, 2007.

Personal Life

Kapoor began dating actor Shahid Kapoor, the son of veteran actor Pankaj Kapoor in 2004. While dating, their relationship was widely reported in the media, and was once in the center of a scandal when onlookers with mobile phone cameras filmed them kissing and released it to the news.

The couple separated during the filming of their film Jab We Met (2007), though media projected it as a publicity stunt for the film.[44] However, it was later confirmed that the couple had indeed broken up. According to her, they remained on good terms, with her saying in an interview, "I have seen Shahid from his first film to Jab We Met and I can say that there is a marked difference. According to me he is a bundle of talent waiting to explode. I have that much of faith in him as an actor."

In October 2007, during her breakup with Kapoor, rumours began floating around that she was seeing actor Saif Ali Khan. On October 18, 2007, during Manish Malhotra's grand finale show at the Lakme Fashion Week, Khan confirmed their relationship to the media saying, "Yes, we are not exactly shouting from the rooftops but yes, clearly we are together. And we are happy together!"

Gossip columnists have linked her to a number of her co-stars, but she has strongly denied all these rumors.She also declared in 2006 that she would turn vegetarian to keep her weight in check.


Kapoor set on her first world tour in 2002. The Heartthrobs Concert, which had her perform alongside stars like Hrithik Roshan, Karisma Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, and Aftab Shivdasani went on to be a success.

In February 2005, along with other Bollywood stars, Kapoor performed at the HELP! Telethon Concert to help raise money for the victims of Tsunami.

In March 2005, she visited the desert heartland of Rajasthan to boost the morales of the jawans. It was for a special Holy weekend episode on the Jai Jawan show, where entertainers and stars visited Indian troops in far-flung regions to encourage them along with the NDTV team.

She also performed at the "Marco Ricci Each One Reach One Benefit Concert", a fundraiser for the World Youth Peace Summit.

In her latest tour, the Rockstars Concert of May 2006, she performed alongside Salman Khan, Zayed Khan, John Abraham, Shahid Kapoor, Esha Deol and Mallika Sherawat.

Kapoor donated her prize money, her half-share of 50 lakh rupees from her 2007 appearance on the season finale of Kaun Banega Crorepati with Priyanka Chopra, to St. Anthony's Old Age Home and Mount Mary's Bandra in support of its welfare activities.

Also see : Kareena Kapoor Gallery

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