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Neelam Kothari in 2009
9 November 1969
|Residence||Pali Hill, Mumbai, Maharashtra|
|Occupation||Actress, Jewellery Designer|
|Years active||1984–2001 (retired as an actress)|
|Spouse(s)||Rishi Sethia (divorced)
Samir Soni (2011–present)
Neelam Kothari (born 9 November 1968) is a former British Indian actress and a jewellery designer. She was one of the leading and popular actresses of the late 1980s and 1990s.
Neelam Kothari was born on 9 November 1969 in Hong Kong. As a child, she learnt to play the keyboard & danced Jazz Ballet. Her family has a traditional jewellery making business, making high-class pieces.
After her early childhood in Hong Kong, her family moved to Bangkok. Neelam was holidaying in Mumbai when she was approached by director Ramesh Behl. She decided to give acting a shot and performed in the film Jawaani in 1984 alongside Karan Shah (Tina Munim's nephew). But the film was a flop. She soldiered on ahead and became famous in 1986 for her role in the film Ilzaam opposite the debutant Govinda. She starred opposite Govinda in 14 movies and 8 were hits such as Love 86, Ilzaam (1986), Sindoor, Khudgarz (1987), Hatya (1988), Farz Ki Jung, Taaqatwar (1989) and Do Qaidi (1989). She had 5 hits opposite Chunkey Pandey like Aag Hi Aag (1987), Paap Ki Duniya (1988),Khatron Ke Khiladi (1988),Ghar Ka Chiraag (1989),Mitti Aur Sona (1989) of the 8 she did with him. But after 1990 their next 3 films as a pair were failures. However her career's biggest hit remains Ghar Ka Chiraag opposite Rajesh Khanna in 1989.
Box Office success eluded her from the early 1990s. Her roles, including the one in Ek Ladka Ek Ladki opposite Salman Khan, Pratigyabandh, Doodh Ka Karz, Parampara, Banjaran, Ranbhoomi, Shankara were her only successful films in the 1990s. Films like Indrajeet, Agneepath, Gharana, Amiri Garibi, Afsana Pyar Ka and the rest were flops. She was also noticed for her appearance in the 1998 film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, where she played herself as a VJ. In 1999, she appeared in supporting role in the multi-starrer family film Hum Saath-Saath Hain: We Stand United. Her last release was Kasam in 2001.
Neelam was featured in Bina Mistry's Hot Hot Hot music video, a song that is part of a compilation of dance hits in the 1995 BMG release, titled Channel [V] Hits: The Ultimate Dance Collection. The song became a hit when it was featured as part of the soundtrack to Bend It Like Beckham (2002).
Even while pursuing her career in acting, she was interested in jewellery designing and involved in her family business. She pursued a formal course in jewellery-designing in Mumbai and, after quitting films in 2001, started out commercially on her own under the name Neelam Jewels. She opened a showroom in Mumbai in 2004. She then launched her jewellery store in Mumbai on 25 August 2011 under the name Neelam Kothari Fine Jewels.
She was once married to Rishi Sethia, son of a businessman from the U.K. Their marriage was short-lived. On 24 January 2011, she married fellow actor Samir Soni. After 2 years of marriage, they decided to adopt a baby girl on 2 September 2013 and named her Ahana.
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