Sharma at a promotional event for NH10, 2015
1 May 1988 |
Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, India
Anushka Sharma (pronounced [əˈnʊʂkaː ˈʃərmaː]; born 1 May 1988) is an Indian film actress and producer. She has established a career in Bollywood, and is the recipient of a Filmfare Award from four nominations.
Born in Ayodhya and raised in Bangalore, Sharma got her first break as a model for fashion designer Wendell Rodricks in 2007 and moved to Mumbai to pursue a career in modelling. Following a successful audition at Yash Raj Films, she signed a three-film deal with the production house and made her screen debut opposite Shah Rukh Khan in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008). The film was well-received, earning her a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress. Her next two roles were also under the Yash Raj Films banner – Badmaash Company (2010), a crime caper that garnered mixed reviews, and Band Baaja Baaraat (2010), a romantic comedy that earned her a second nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress.
Sharma's performance as a documentary filmmaker in Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012), won her the Best Supporting Actress award at Filmfare. Although she has received mixed reviews for some of her roles, including in Ladies vs Ricky Bahl (2011), Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola (2013) and Bombay Velvet (2015), many of her films have achieved commercial success, with PK (2014) being the highest-grossing Indian film to date. In 2014, Sharma, along with her brother, co-founded the production company Clean Slate Films, which produced the crime thriller NH10 (2015), where she played the lead.
In addition to acting in films, Sharma is ambassador for multiple brands. She has an active social media presence and also supports multiple charities and causes including women's empowerment and animal rights.
Early life and modelling career
Sharma was born on 1 May 1988 in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. Her father, Colonel Ajay Kumar Sharma, is an army officer, and her mother, Ashima Sharma, is a homemaker. Her father is a native of Uttar Pradesh, while her mother is a Garhwali. She has an elder brother, Karnesh Sharma, who is in the Merchant Navy. Prior to joining the Merchant Navy, Karnesh played for the under-19 Bangalore Ranji cricket team.
Sharma was raised in Bangalore. She was educated at the Army School there, and received a degree in arts from Mount Carmel College. Sharma originally intended to pursue a career in modelling or journalism, and had no aspirations to be an actress. After graduation, she moved to Mumbai to further her modelling career. She enrolled herself at Elite Model Management, and was groomed by style consultant Prasad Bidapa. She began her modelling at the Lakme Fashion Week as a model for Wendell Rodricks's Les Vamps Show and was picked to be Rodricks's finale model at the Spring Summer 2007 Collection. Since then she has done campaigns for the brands Silk & Shine, Whisper, Nathella Jewelry and Fiat Palio. Sharma later said, "I think I was born to emote and act. I would walk down the ramp and smile and they used to say, ‘give us a blank look.’ It was really difficult, not to smile".
Film debut and breakthrough (2008–10)
Sharma's acting debut was in Aditya Chopra's Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008), opposite Shah Rukh Khan. She took a day to prepare for her screen test at the Yash Raj Films studio and refused to do an impromptu one. She landed the leading role of Tani Sahni, a young bride to a middle-aged man, portrayed by Khan. Giving the film a three-and-half star rating, Khalid Mohamed called her "assured and upright", while Nikhat Kazmi wrote about Sharma's performance that she "lacks all chutzpah and can barely hold your attention". The film received positive reviews and was a major commercial success, emerging as the second-highest grossing Hindi film of that year. It earned her the Filmfare Awards nomination for Best Actress and Best Female Debut.
Two years later, Sharma played the leading lady in the crime-comedy Badmaash Company, directed by Parmeet Sethi and co-starring Shahid Kapoor, Vir Das and Meiyang Chang. The film, dealing with four friends who seek to make it big in life through underhand means, met with mixed reviews. Later in 2010, Sharma completed her three-film contract with Yash Raj Films by starring in Band Baaja Baaraat, a romantic comedy directed by Maneesh Sharma and co-starring debutant Ranveer Singh. Her role was that of Shruti Kakkar, an ambitious middle-class Punjabi girl who starts her own wedding planning business. In preparation for the part, Sharma learned to speak in the Punjabi dialect, which she cited as the toughest part of her role; she described the way the lead characters in the film interact as "crude but cute" which required her to "talk fast, sometimes mix words and even omit words completely".
Trade analysts expressed doubt on Band Baaja Baaraat 's financial prospect, citing the middling response to Yash Raj Films' last few productions, the lack of a male star, and saying that by then Sharma was an "almost-forgotten" actress. However, Band Baaja Baaraat earned positive reviews and emerged a sleeper hit. The film grossed approximately ₹ 214.4 million after five weeks, making it a moderate box office success. Sharma's performance was praised by critics, many of whom cited it as her best work up to date. Film critic Anupama Chopra praised Sharma and said that she "comes into her own as the ambitious Delhi girl, who dreams of upgrading to multi-crore Sainik Farms weddings". For her work in the film, Sharma received her second nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress.
Sharma's first venture outside of the Yash Raj banner was the drama Patiala House (2011) directed by Nikhil Advani and co-starring Akshay Kumar. The film tells the story of a budding cricketer (played by Kumar) who encounters trouble in convincing his father of his profession; Sharma was cast as the love interest of Kumar's character. Sukanya Verma of Rediff.com praised Sharma's work and labelled her a "metaphor for energy". The same year, she re-united with her Band Baaja Baarat co-star Ranveer Singh and director Maneesh Sharma for the comedy-drama Ladies vs Ricky Bahl, featuring as Ishika Desai, a salesgirl hired to outwit a conman(essayed by Singh), who ends up falling in love with him instead. The film and Sharma's performance received mixed reviews, with Piyali Dasgupta of NDTV calling her "believable but not endearing". Despite mixed reviews, the film was a moderate success at the box office.
In 2012, Sharma played a supporting role in Yash Chopra's "swan song", the romance Jab Tak Hai Jaan, alongside Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif, which marked her fifth collaboration with Yash Raj Films and her second with Khan. She was cast as Akira Rai, a Discovery Channel reporter who harbours an ambition of making documentary films. CNN-IBN's Rajeev Masand wrote that Sharma "brings a spark to the film", however, Raja Sen disagreed and said that "while Anushka can indeed play spunky, she needed here to tone it down several notches". For her role, she won the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress. Jab Tak Hai Jaan went on to become the third highest-grossing Bollywood film of 2012 and the ninth highest-grossing Bollywood film overseas.
Sharma then appeared in Vishal Bhardwaj's Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola (2013), a political satire set in a village in Haryana. Co-starring alongside Pankaj Kapur, Imran Khan and Shabana Azmi, Sharma played the titular role of Bijlee Mandola, a strong-headed girl who engages in a romantic affair with Khan's character despite being engaged to another man. The film received positive to mixed reviews from critics, but underperformed at the box office. Several critics noted that Sharma was being stereotyped as a loud and loquacious girl; Raja Sen noted that she "is great in a couple of scenes near the climax," though Kanika Sikka of Daily News and Analysis was more critical and found her "unconvincing".
After an absence of nearly two years from the screen, Sharma portrayed Jagat "Jaggu" Janini, a television journalist who befriends an alien (played by Aamir Khan), in Rajkumar Hirani's religious satire PK (2014) . Critic Saibal Chatterjee wrote that Sharma plays "a feisty poetry-loving girl who knows her mind far more than most Hindi film heroines are allowed to" and praised her for "hold[ing] her own" against Khan. The film garnered critical acclaim and emerged as the highest-grossing Bollywood film with a worldwide revenue of over ₹7 billion (US$110 million).
Sharma made her production debut in 2015 with Navdeep Singh's thriller NH10, in which she also played the lead role. Screened at the 5th Beijing International Film Festival, the film tells the story of a married couple whose lives are endangered after an encounter with a group of criminals. Writing for NDTV, critic Saibal Chatterjee found the film to be a "taut and riveting thriller" and praised Sharma for "conveying a range of moods as she moves from the vulnerable to the fearless in a battle in which the odds are stacked heavily against her". The film emerged as a box office success. In Anurag Kashyap's period crime drama Bombay Velvet (2015), co-starring Ranbir Kapoor and Karan Johar, Sharma was cast in the role of a jazz singer. Critical reviews on the film were mixed; writing for Business Standard, Ritika Bhatia praised Sharma's performance in the song "Dhadaam Dhadaam": "she fills the stage with such raw emotion that her mascara-laden tears and fake eyelashes flutter with arresting passion". However, the film proved to be a box office flop, failing to recover its ₹1.2 billion (US$18 million) investment. The same year, she featured in the supporting role of a dancer in Zoya Akhtar's Dil Dhadakne Do, an ensemble comedy-drama starring Anil Kapoor, Shefali Shah, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh and Farhan Akhtar.
Personal life and off-screen work
As of September 2015, Sharma is in a relationship with cricketer Virat Kohli. Their relationship has attracted substantial media coverage in India, though she is reluctant to openly talk about it. As of September 2014, Sharma is pursuing a Master of Economics degree through correspondence. She started practising vegetarianism in 2015. The Times of India has listed her as one of "Bollywood's hottest vegetarian celebrities". She is an avid practitioner of Transcendental Meditation.
In September 2013, Sharma participated in a fashion show that was held in memory of the late filmmaker, Yash Chopra. She walked the ramp at that event, joined by Shah Rukh Khan and nine other leading ladies who had also been directed by Chopra. She participated in the opening ceremony of the 2015 Indian Premier League held at Kolkata, along with other celebrities including Hrithik Roshan, Shahid Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Farhan Akhtar and composer Pritam.
Apart from acting, Sharma supports a number of charities and causes. She walked the ramp to support Shabana Azmi's Mijwan Welfare Society, an NGO that helps empower women. In 2013, alongside other Bollywood actors, she pledged to support the education of India's young girls as part of NDTV's "Our Girls, Our Pride" fundraiser. In December 2014, Sharma auctioned the leather jacket she wore in Jab Tak Hai Jaan on eBay, with proceeds going to the redevelopment of the flood-ravaged states of Kashmir and Assam. In April 2015, Sharma fronted a campaign to collect donations for the victims of the Nepal earthquake that had occurred earlier the same month.
Sharma has also spoken up for animal rights on social media. In April 2014, she took to Twitter to ask for a ban on horse-drawn carriages in Mumbai. In June 2015, she condemned the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China, and urged her fans to sign an online petition aimed at stopping it. In October 2015, she launched 'Pawsitivity', a campaign aimed at sensitising people about the adverse effects of noise, air, water and soil pollution on animals. She said, "Animals make the world a better place and it is our responsibility to be sensitive towards them as they don't have a voice."
Kalpana Nair of Firstpost stated that "actresses like Sharma command the respect they do in a largely conservative and male-dominated industry and the fact that their fan base grows when they take on roles that are not conventional is good reason for us to beam widely and walk with a spring in our step". Sharma has been vocal about the disparity in the pay that actresses command, in comparison with their male counterparts in the film industry. The Times of India published, "While the current crop of actors and actresses tries to be in everyone's good books, Anushka certainly does not try to do that. She has an opinion about almost everything and she never shies away from putting it across. There have been moments when Anushka has praised her contemporaries and there have also been moments when Anushka has taken a dig at top notch directors and actors".
Rediff.com placed Sharma on their 2010 list of "Bollywood's Best Actresses" for her performance in Band Baaja Baaraat. She was also featured in their list of "Bollywood's Best Dressed Actresses" in 2012–13. She held the fifth position on The Times of India's listing of the "Most Desirable Woman" in 2011. In 2012, she appeared in the Forbes Celebrity 100, a list based on income and popularity of India's celebrities. She remained in the top fifty spots for three consecutive years, listed at the thirty-sixth spot in 2012, the thirty-first spot in 2013, and the forty-second spot in 2014. Sharma maintaines a Twitter account and has an official Facebook page. She is cited as one of the most popular Indian celebrities on social media. In 2015, She appeared on The Huffington Post's list of "100 most influential women on Twitter". The same year, she also topped the Times Celebex list of Bollywood stars, in terms of highest box-office collection. Filmfare magazine's fashion poll of 2015 voted her as being "Amazing with Androgyny" and said that "....[she] has carved a niche for her easy breezy high street style."
Filmography and awards
|Denotes films that have not yet been released|
|2008||Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi||Tani Sahni|
|2010||Badmaash Company||Bulbul Singh|
|2010||Band Baaja Baaraat||Shruti Kakkar|
|2011||Patiala House||Simran Chaggal|
|2011||Ladies vs Ricky Bahl||Ishika Desai|
|2012||Jab Tak Hai Jaan||Akira Rai|
|2013||Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola||Bijlee Mandola|
|2014||PK||Jagat "Jaggu" Janini Sahni|
|2015||Bombay Velvet||Rosie Noronha|
|2015||Dil Dhadakne Do||Farah Ali|
|2016||Ae Dil Hai Mushkil||TBA||Filming|
Awards and nominations
|2009||Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi||Filmfare Awards||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Best Female Debut||Nominated|
|Screen Awards||Most Promising Newcomer – Female||Nominated|
|Star Guild Awards||Best Female Debut||Won|
|2011||Band Baaja Baaraat||BIG Star Entertainment Awards||Most Entertaining Film Actor-Female||Nominated|
|Filmfare Awards||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Screen Awards||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Zee Cine Awards||Best Actor – Female||Nominated|
|Stardust Awards||Best Comedy/Romance Actress||Nominated|
|International Indian Film Academy Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|Hottest Pair (along with Ranveer Singh)||Won|
|Star Guild Awards||Best Actress in a Leading Role||Won|
|Lions Gold Awards||Favorite Jodi (along with Ranveer Singh)||Won|
|Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Awards||Excellent Performance Award||Won |
|2012||Ladies vs Ricky Bahl||Stardust Awards||Best Comedy/Romance Actress||Won|
|—||Zee Cine Awards||International Female Icon||Nominated|
|2013||Jab Tak Hai Jaan||BIG Star Entertainment Awards||Most Entertaining Film Actor-Female||Nominated|
|Most Entertaining Actor in a Romantic Role-Female||Nominated|
|Filmfare Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Won|
|Zee Cine Awards||Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Female||Won|
|Stardust Awards||Best Comedy/Romance Actress||Won|
|International Indian Film Academy Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Won|
|Screen Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Nominated|
|2015||PK||Star Guild Awards||Best Actress in a Leading Role||Nominated|
|International Indian Film Academy Awards||Best Actress||Nominated|
|NH10||Indian Film Festival of Melbourne||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Jagran Film Festival||Best Actress||Nominated|
Other awards and recognitions
- 2011 – GQ Men of the Year Awards: Excellence Award
- 2012 – Hello! Hall of Fame Awards: Face of the Year
- 2015 – ETC Bollywood Business Awards: Highest Grossing Actor Female Award
- 2015 – Vogue Beauty Awards: Beauty of the Year
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Anushka Sharma.|
- Anushka Sharma on Twitter
- Anushka Sharma at the Internet Movie Database
- Anushka Sharma at Rotten Tomatoes