Amrita Rao

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Amrita Rao
Amrita Rao still3.jpg
Amrita Rao in 2008.
Born Amrita Deepak Rao
(1981-06-17) 17 June 1981 (age 33)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Ethnicity Indian
Occupation Actress, model
Years active 2002–present

Amrita Rao (pronounced [əmriːt̪a ːraːʋ]; born 17 June 1981),[1] also known by the mononym Amrita, is an Indian film actress and model. She has appeared in Hindi films of Bollywood as well as a few films in Telugu. Born and raised in Mumbai, Rao made her screen debut in Ab Ke Baras (2002). She rose to prominence as the lead actress in Ishq Vishk (2003) and was nominated for the Filmfare Best Female Debut Award for her role. One of her most critically acclaimed roles was in the blockbuster romance Vivah (2006).

Roles in Welcome to Sajjanpur (2008) and Main Hoon Na (2004) earned Amrita a Stardust Best Actress Award and Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award nomination. Her subsequent films included Masti (2004), Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi!, (2005) Jolly LLB (2013), Singh Sahab the Great (2013) and Satyagraha (2013). Amrita made special appearances in films like Heyy Babyy (2007), Shaurya (2008), Life Partner (2009) and Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai (2010). She has been cited as Bollywood's quintessential "girl next door," by various media outlets, a title for which she has received substantial publicity.[2] Amrita has been named one of Times Of India's "50 Most Desirable Women of 2011."[3]

Early life[edit]

Amrita was born in Mumbai. Her father, Deepak Rao owns an advertising agency.[4] Amrita's ancestors were Saraswat Brahmin (a Konkani family originally from Karnataka).[4] Her younger sister is Preetika Rao, a model and a Southern film actress. Amrita was raised in Mumbai and attended school at Canossa Convent Girls School. She graduated from Sophia College with a psychology degree.[5] Amrita described her family as being a "very conservative family – a traditional, Hindu, Indian family" and herself as very liberal.[6] Her mother tongue was Konkani. Apart from Konkani she is also well versed in Marathi, English and Hindi.[4]

Career[edit]

2002-2006: Early career[edit]

Rao and advertisements Before starting her career as an actor, Rao began her career as a model did several commercials during her college days. Her first public appearance came at the age of seventeen, in 2002, when she was featured in the music video for Alisha Chinoy's Woh Pyar Mera.[7] In 2002, after graduating with a degree in Psychology from the University of Mumbai, Rao played her first leading role as Anjali Thapar, an Indian girl born and brought up in London, in Raj Kanwar's moderately successful fantasy thriller Ab Ke Baras.[8] Appearing opposite Arya Babbar, the film was averagely received by audiences. Rao's performance was consider to be a decent debut.[9] Film critic Planet Bollywood wrote, "Amrita Rao comes out the real winner, with her dancing skills, innocent looks and decent acting skills."[10]

refer caption
Amrita walking the ramp for Archana Kochar at Lakme Fashion Week 2012.

In May 2003, Rao starred with Shahid Kapoor in the coming-of-age romance film Ishq Vishk, in an innocent college girl role as Payal Mehra. The film tells the story of two people who are friends since childhood, but only gradually discover their feelings for each other. The film was received favorably by most critics and became one of the highest grossing films of the year, as well as Rao's biggest commercial success. Rao's portrayal earned her several awards, including Filmfare Best Female Debut Award and IIFA Award for Star Debut of the Year.[11] Critic Taran Adarsh from IndiaFM wrote, "Amrita Rao is a revelation. If she was quite okay in her first film, she is incredible in her second film. Here's an actress to watch. Her emotional sequences are so powerful that they are bound to melt even the stone-hearted."[12] India Today noted, "The leads are surprisingly assured. But the real find is Amrita Rao. She is quietly attractive, and most important, she really shines in the calm before the storm."[13] In 2004, Rao starred in Indra Kumar adult comedy Masti, opposite Vivek Oberoi. Amongst the low number of Bollywood adult comedy movies at the time of its release, the film received positive response from critics, and also become a financial successful at the box office.[14] Her performance as Anchal, who is obsessively possessive about her husband, has been received positively.[15]

Rao next had a supporting role in the Farah Khan action comedy, and the first film of Shah Rukh Khan's production company Red Chillies Entertainment, Main Hoon Na, where she co-starred alongside Shah Rukh Khan, Sunil Shetty, Sushmita Sen and Zayed Khan. Her role as the army officer's daughter Sanjana (Sanju) Bakshi, earned Rao Best Supporting Actress, her second filmfare nomination. Rao had a minor role in Milan Luthria's Deewar, a film about 50 Indian soldiers captured by Pakistani soldiers in 1971, during the war between India and Pakistan. Amrita played the small role of Radhika, Gaurang Kaul's love interest. The film was received poorly by both audiences and critics, and was declared a flop.

Rao co-starred alongside Shahid Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt in the 2005 drama Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi!, which tells the story of a man and The Hindu God of Death, Yamraj. Critical response towards the film was negative, although Rao garnered acclaim for her performance of a school teacher. Glamsham believed that the only thing that made the film watchable was the acting of Amrita Rao.[16] That same year, Rao took on the lead role in the John Matthew Matthan drama Shikhar, a film about how some businessmen can cross any line and go to any length to get what they desire. She portrayed Madhvi, Jai's love interest. The film was very well received by critics and did average at the box office. She then appeared in the 2006 low-budget comedy Pyare Mohan opposite Vivek Oberoi. The film was inspired by the Hollywood movie See No Evil, Hear No Evil. The movie was not well received by critics; Rajeev Masand wrote, "Amrita hit career lows, producing the low-fashion chemistry."[17]

Although highly regarded for her acting abilities, Rao's films to date had often not appealed to a wide audience, but Sooraj R. Barjatya's romantic drama Vivah (2006) made her a national star. The film depicted the journey of two individuals from engagement to marriage. Co-starring alongside Shahid Kapoor, Rao portrayed Poonam, a traditionally brought up young woman. The film was given mixed reviews by most critics but became one of the highest grossing films of the year, as well as Rao's biggest commercial success to date. The film went on to gross a respectable INR539.0 million (US$8.9 million) worldwide. Taran Adarsh wrote, "Amrita Rao gets a new lease of life with Vivah. She looks the character and is splendid all through."[18] At the 13th Star Screen Award, Rao received Best Actress nomination.[19]

2007-2011[edit]

Rao was cast alongside Mahesh Babu in the 2007 Telugu action film Athidhi. The film was directed and co-written by Surender Reddy. She played the girlfriend of Mahesh's character. Athidhi achieved success at the box office, grossing over INR35 crore (US$5.8 million) in 4 weeks, despite having had a limited theatrical release. She received mostly positive reviews, with critics praising the chemistry between Rao and Mahesh Babu. Rediff noted, "Amrita Rao, who makes her debut in Telugu films, makes a mark."[20] Other critics, such as Sify wrote that, " Amrita Rao is not only beautiful but also glamorous. She has proved that she could be yet another native girl for Tollywood. She emoted well with convincing histrionics fit for Telugu screen."[21]

refer caption
Rao with Indian boxer Vijender Singh in 2009.

In 2008, she appeared in the drama film My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves opposite newcomer Nikhil Dwivedi. She played Riya, an orphan who lives a middle-class lifestyle in Mumbai and works as an assistant director for a movie producer. The film received overwhelmingly negative reviews and performed poorly at the box office.[22] Amrita's performance was praised by some critics; OneIndia Entertainment noted, "Amrita Rao looks gorgeous, but her role isn't substantial enough."[23] She took a small role of the Nirja Rathore in Shaurya in 2008, a film which revolves around the court-martial of a Muslim officer in the Indian army, for shooting his commanding officer. The film is set against the backdrop of the Kashmir Conflict in Northern India. Mainly inspired from the Hollywood movie A Few Good Men, Shaurya received positive reviews from the critics, but failed to perform well at the box office.[24]

In 2008, Rao appeared in her third blockbuster, Shyam Benegal's comedy film Welcome to Sajjanpur. She played the role of Kamala, a woman who is desperate for communication from her husband Bansiram (Kunal Kapoor), a labourer at a dockyard in Mumbai. The film tells the story of several villagers, including a child widow, an abandoned wife, a harried mother, a corrupt neta, a romantic compounder and their serious and mischievous problems. The film received positive reviews and earned INR20 million (US$330,000), making it the second-highest grossing film in Amrita's career. Hindustan Times noted, "Amrita Rao is sweetness personified."[25] She received a Stardust Best Actress Award for her performance.

Rao starred with Harman Baweja in Victory, an Indian cricket-based sports film which focuses on a struggling cricketer who defies all odds to realize an almost impossible dream. The film received generally mixed reviews from critics, and Amrita garnered acclaim for her performance as a Herman's childhood friend Nandini. The film faced competition from other films such Raaz 2 and Dev D and failed to do well. With a huge budget it only managed to gross 1 Crore and was declared a disaster by Boxoffice-India.[26] That same year, Amrita took on the lead role in Neeraj Vora's comedy drama Short Kut: The Con is On opposite Akshaye Khanna, produced by Anil Kapoor. The film stars Rao as Mansi, girlfriend of Akshaye's character. Critical response towards the comedy film was negative and, though having grossed its budget back, it was considered a financial disappointment.[27]

Rao's only film of 2011 was Love U...Mr. Kalakaar! and her second movie under Rajshri Productions.[28] She was generally praised for her physical performance, but the movie generated mostly negative reviews and became a commercial failure. Nikhat Kazmi of the Times of India wrote, "Amrita Rao at best, but the film is so predictable and so long, it loses impact."[29] Rao has also made special appearances in Heyy Babyy (2007), Life Partner (2007) and Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai (2010).

2013-present[edit]

After a two and a half year absence from the screen, Rao starred in the national award winning courtroom comedy drama film Jolly LLB (2013). She played the lead role as Sandhya, girlfriend of Arshad Warsi's character. The film showed the life of a lawyer and his journey against the monopolistic behavior of the rich and judicial corruption, but the storyline is inspired by the 1999 hit-and-run case of Sanjeev Nanda. Although the film received mixed reviews, it won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi, and the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor.[30] Rao's performance was singled out for praise.[31][32][33]

Rao co-starred alongside Sunny Deol in the action movie Singh Sahab the Great (2013), directed by Anil Sharma. The film chronicles a common man who takes pride in his honesty. Rao portrayed the journalist role as Shikha Chaturvedi, in the film which runs closely with that of Deol's throughout the film.[34] The movie faced several controversies and ran into trouble with the SGPC, which has objected to the title of the film.[35] While the film was largely panned by critics, Rao earned positive reviews for her performance. Namrta Joshi of Outlook felt that, "Amrita Rao plays a role that definitely feels like something she has already done, all the emotional support."[36] The The film received predominately negative reviews but was a moderate box-office success with revenues of INR29 crore (US$4.8 million).[37]

Later that year, she appeared in Prakash Jha's political drama Satyagraha, as part of an ensemble cast that included Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal and Manoj Bajpai. Rao played the role of Sumitra, the daughter-in-law of Amitabh Bachchan's character. Rao was praised in particular. Resham Sengar of Zee News wrote, "Ms. Rao has the sweetly cherubic looks. She is convincing in most of the emotional scenes. But again, her scope of performance is just limited to mouthing a few important dialogues."[38] The movie was not well received by critics and failed to make a profit at the box office. Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV noted, "Satyagraha spares no effort to reflect the rising tide of public anger against a creaking, corrupt and callous system that treats citizens of the country like a load of dirt. The script draws inspiration from several real-life scams and political shenanigans, and constructs a predictable narrative that underlines the undeniable might of social media."[39] The film has reportedly grossed over INR60 crore (US$10 million) at the box office despite moderate reviews.[40]

Filmography[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Film Result
2003 Star Screen Awards Most Promising Newcomer - Female Ab Ke Baras Nominated
2003 Filmfare Awards Best Female Debut Ab Ke Baras Won
2004 Zee Cine Awards Best Female Debut Ishq Vishk Nominated
2004 IIFA Star Debut of the Year – Female Ishq Vishk Won[11]
2004 Stardust Awards Superstar of Tomorrow – Female Ishq Vishk Won
2005 Filmfare Awards Best Supporting Actress Main Hoon Na Nominated
2007 Star Screen Awards Best Actress Vivah Nominated
2007 Star Screen Awards Jodi No. 1 (along with Shahid Kapoor) Vivah Nominated
2009 Stardust Awards Best Actress Welcome to Sajjanpur Won

Other awards won[edit]

Year Award Category Film Result
2004 Sansui Awards Best Male Debut Ishq Vishk Won
2007 GR8 Women Awards Young Achiever Vivah Won
2007 Anandalok Awards Most Promising New Talent Vivah Won
2007 Sports World Awards Jodi of the Year (along with Shahid Kapoor) Vivah Won
2012 Kolkata Kalakar Awards Best Actress Category (Bollywood) Love U...Mr. Kalakaar! Won[41][29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Amrita Rao- Biography". DNA (Deepak Rathi). Dainik Bhaskar. 19 June 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "I don't intend to change the 'Girl-next-door' image: Amrita Rao". Dainik Jagran. Dainik Bhaskar. 22 Jul 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "Times 50 Most Desirable Women of 2011 : The Winners". Times of India. Times Group. Feb 4, 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c "Amrita Rao biography". http://entertainment.oneindia.in/. One India Entertainment. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  5. ^ Renu Saran (25 February 2014). Encyclopedia of Bollywood–Film Actresses. Diamond Pocket Books Pvt Ltd. p. 12. ISBN 978-93-5083-691-0. 
  6. ^ Sandra Wilkins (February 2012). The Celebrity 411: Spotlight on Amrita Rao, Including Her Personal Life, Famous Blockbusters Such as Mein Hoon Na, Vivah, Heyy Babyy, Her. Webster's Digital Services. ISBN 978-1-276-23340-8. 
  7. ^ "Amrita Rao's Debut Hit". https://www.youtube.com. YouTube. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 
  8. ^ "Ab Ke Baras- review, responses". http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/. Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 
  9. ^ "Movie review- Ab Ke Baras". http://www.rediff.com/. Rediff.com. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 
  10. ^ "Ab Ke Baras- Movie review (Planet Bollywood )". http://www.planetbollywood.com/. Planet Bollywood. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "IIFA Through the Years : Singapore". International Indian Film Academy Awards. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  12. ^ "Ishq Vishk- Movie review". http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/. Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 
  13. ^ "Amrita Rao in Ishq Vishk". http://indiatoday.intoday.in/. India Today. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 
  14. ^ "Masti (2004) - Full Cast & Crew". www.boxofficeindia.com. Box Office India. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  15. ^ "Amrita Rao is the Prettiest Woman Alive". http://www.rediff.com/. Rediff.com. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 
  16. ^ "Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi failed to impress". Glamsham. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  17. ^ "Pyare Mohan: Masand's verdict". CNN-IBN (TV18 ). CNN. Apr 29, 2010. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  18. ^ "Vivah review- Bollywood Hungama". http://www.bollywoodhungama.com. Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  19. ^ "13th Annual Star Screen Awards Nominations". Asian Outlook. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  20. ^ "Amrita Rao does well in Athidi". http://www.rediff.com/. Rediff.com. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  21. ^ "Glamorous girl charms Telugu audiences". http://www.sify.com/. Sify. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  22. ^ "Victory failed to perform well". http://boxofficeindia.com/. Boxoffice India. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  23. ^ "Rao justifies her role.". http://entertainment.oneindia.in/. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  24. ^ "Victory failed to perform well". http://boxofficeindia.com/. Boxoffice India. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  25. ^ "Review- Welcome to Sajjanpur". Hindustan Times (HT Media Ltd). September 19, 2008. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  26. ^ "Victory failed to perform well". http://boxofficeindia.com/. Boxoffice India. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  27. ^ "Victory failed to perform well". http://boxofficeindia.com/. Boxoffice India. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  28. ^ "Rao back on the big screen.". Press Trust of India (NDTV movies). May 11, 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2014. 
  29. ^ a b "Love U... Mr. Kalakaar: Movie Review". The Times of India (The Times Group). The Times Group. May 13, 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  30. ^ "61st National Film Awards For 2013". Directorate of Film Festivals. 16 April 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  31. ^ K Jha, Subhash (16 March 2013). "Review: 'Jolly LLB'—An engaging courtroom drama enlivened by sparkling performances". Daily News and Analysis (Deepak Rathi). Dainik Bhaskar. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  32. ^ Chopra, Anupama (March 15, 2013). "Anupama Chopra's review: Jolly LLB". Hindustan Times. HT Media Ltd. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  33. ^ Kamath, Sudhish (May 21, 2014). "Jolly LLB: Emotional, not legal". The Hindu (N. Ram). The Hindu Group. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  34. ^ "Amrita pairs with Sunny Deol in next". The Times of India (Times Group). Oct 8, 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  35. ^ "Singh Saab the Great runs into trouble". The Indian Express (ndian Express Group). Indian Express Group. Sep 13 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  36. ^ Joshi, Namrata (Dec 23, 2013). "Singh Saab The Great: Public review". Outlook (Outlook Publishing India Pvt. Ltd.). Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  37. ^ "Singh Saab The Great' box office collections". http://www.boxofficecapsule.com/. Boxoffice Capsule. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  38. ^ "Rao’s character weightage". Zee news. Zee News Ltd. August 31, 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  39. ^ "Satyagraha movie review". New Delhi Television (New Delhi Television Limited). August 29, 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  40. ^ "Challenging roles for Amrita". NDTV (NDTV Movies). September 11, 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  41. ^ "List of Awardees". http://www.kalakarawards.co/. Kalakar Awards. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 

External links[edit]