Neelam Kothari

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Neelam Kothari Soni
Neelam Kothari Soni in 2009
Neelam Kothari

(age 49)
ResidenceMumbai, Maharashtra, India
Other namesNeelam Soni
Jewelry designer
Years active1984–2001
Spouse(s)Rishi Sethia (divorced)
Samir Soni (2011–present)
ChildrenAhana Soni
Parent(s)Parveen Kothari (mother)
Shishir Kothari (father)

Neelam Kothari Soni is an Indian jewellery designer and former actress. She made her acting debut with Jawaani (1984) opposite debutant Karan Shah. She then starred opposite Govinda in the box office hits Love 86 (1986), Sindoor (1986), Khudgarz (1987), Hatya (1988), Farz Ki Jung, (1989), Taaqatwar (1989) and Do Qaidi (1989). She starred opposite Chunkey Pandey in films Aag Hi Aag (1987), Paap Ki Duniya (1988), Khatron Ke Khiladi (1988), Ghar Ka Chiraag (1989), and Mitti Aur Sona (1989).

Her career's biggest hit remains Ghar Ka Chiraag opposite Rajesh Khanna in 1989.

Early life[edit]

Neelam Kothari was born in Hong Kong. She is a Gujarati-Iranian.[1] As a child, she learnt to play the keyboard and danced Jazz Ballet. Her family has a traditional jewellery making business, making high-class pieces. She was educated at Island School, where she was a member of Rutherford house. After her childhood in Hong Kong, her family moved to Bangkok. Neelam was holidaying in Mumbai when she was approached by director Ramesh Behl.[2] She decided to give acting a shot and signed for the film Jawaani (1984) alongside Karan Shah, Tina Munim's nephew.[3] But the film was a major flop commercially.[4]


Her performance in her debut film was noticed in film circles and she received offers. She later became famous in 1986 for her role in the film Ilzaam opposite another debutant, Govinda. She made a popular pairing with Govinda and starred with him in 14 movies and some of their successful films include Love 86 (1986), Khudgarz (1987), Hatya (1988) and Taaqatwar (1989). She had 5 hits opposite Chunkey Pandey, such as Aag Hi Aag (1987), Paap Ki Duniya (1988), Khatron Ke Khiladi (1988), Mitti Aur Sona (1989) and Ghar Ka Chiraag (1989). She also worked in the Bengali film Badnaam (1990).

Box office success eluded her from the early 1990s in Hindi films with unsuccessful films like Agneepath (1990), Indrajeet (1991), Afsana Pyar Ka (1991), Ek Ladka Ek Ladki (1992) and Parampara. Her few successful films of the 90's include Ranbhoomi (1991), Shankara (1991) and Santaan (1993).

She was also noticed for her appearance in the 1998 film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, where she played herself as a VJ. Her last successful film was the 1999 ensemble family drama Hum Saath Saath Hain in which she played a supporting role. Her last film was the delayed release Kasam in 2001, opposite Chunky Pandey.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Neelam Kothari with husband Samir Soni at grace Kallista Spa opening.

In October 2000, Neelam married Rishi Sethia in Bangkok, son of a businessman from the U.K.[6] Their marriage was short-lived.[7] On 24 January 2011, she married actor Samir Soni.[8] After 2 years of marriage, they decided to adopt a daughter on 2 September 2013 and named her Ahana.[9]

Other works[edit]

Neelam featured in Bina Mistry's Hot Hot Hot music video,[10] 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 of Bend It Like Beckham (2002).


In 1998, Neelam was charged with poaching two blackbucks in Kankani during the filming of Hum Saath Saath Hain along with co-stars Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre and Tabu. A lower court charged her with the others under the Wildlife Act and the IPC. She had filed a revision petition before a sessions court which discharged her of Section 51 (causing harm to wildlife) of the Wildlife Act and both of 147 (punishment for rioting) and 149 (unlawful assembly of persons) of the Indian Penal Code. The Rajasthan state government then filed a revision petition before the Rajasthan high court, which again added Section 149 against her, which it had dropped. In December 2012, the Jodhpur court summoned her along with all the accused for commencement of the trial with the revised charges on 4 February 2013. She was acquitted by the CJM court at Jhodpur on 5 April 2018.

Jewellery designing[edit]

Even while pursuing her career in acting, she was interested in jewellery designing and was involved in her family business. She pursued a formal course in jewellery-designing[11] in Mumbai and, after quitting films in 2001, started out commercially on her own under the name Neelam Jewels.[12] She opened a showroom in Mumbai in 2004.[13] She then launched her jewellery store in Mumbai on 25 August 2011 under the name Neelam Kothari Fine Jewels.


Year Title Role Notes
1984 Jawaani Sanam
1986 Ilzaam Aarti
Andaz Pyar Ka
Love 86 Esha
1987 Aag Hi Aag Aarti
Khudgarz Jyoti
1988 Taaqatwar Bijli
Hatya Sapna
Waqt Ki Awaz Dancer, Singer
Ghar Mein Ram Gali Mein Shyam Jaya
Khatron Ke Khiladi Sunita
Paap Ki Duniya Aarti
Sindoor Lalita Kapoor
1989 Gharana Lalita
Do Qaidi Neelu
Ghar Ka Chiraag Kiran
Hum Bhi Insaan Hain Rekha
Mitti Aur Sona Anupama
1990 Vishnu Devaa
Badnam Kajol Bengali film
Shankara Seema
Doodh Ka Karz Reshma
Upkar Dhoodhache Reshma Marathi film
Chor Pe Mor Ritu
Amiri Garibi Jyoti
Agneepath Siksha Chavan
Zakhm Aarti
Billoo Badshah Jyoti
Farz Ki Jung Kavita
Dost Garibon Ka Rekha
1991 Kasak Divya
Meet Mere Man Ke
Ranbhoomi Neelam
Indrajeet Neelam
Afsana Pyaar Ka Nikita
1992 Ek Ladka Ek Ladki Renu / Rani
Khule-Aam Priya
Sahebzaade Chinar
Laat Saab Anju / Mona
1993 Parampara Sapna
1995 Santaan Asha
Antim Nyay Rekha
1996 Ek Tha Raja Shilpa
Sauda Jyoti
Aadithya Kannada film
1997 Mohabbat Aur Jung Priya
1998 Kuch Kuch Hota Hai Herself as VJ Neelam Special Appearance
1999 Hum Saath-Saath Hain: We Stand United Sangeeta
2000 Pattar Aur Payal
2001 Kasam Bindiya


  1. ^ Tahseen, Ismat (10 January 2011). "Neelam Kothari and Samir Soni get candid about their upcoming wedding". DNA India.
  2. ^ "NRI beauties making it big in Bollywood".
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 October 2008. Retrieved 29 June 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 October 2008. Retrieved 29 June 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "We had loads to sort out before marriage: Neelam". The Times of India.
  6. ^ "Actor Neelam Kothari and beau Rishi Sethia get married in Bangkok". India Today. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Neelam Kothari splits with beau". 6 November 2009. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Samir Soni weds Neelam". Rediff. 24 January 2011.
  9. ^ Maheshwri, Neha (2 September 2013). "Neelam and Samir Soni adopt a baby girl". The Times of India. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  10. ^ "The Tribune...Saturday Plus Head". Retrieved 3 August 2017.
  11. ^ "Top 15 Jewellery Designers In India You Must Know". Jewellery Craze. 11 July 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  12. ^ Gulfnews: The many faces of Neelam Kothari
  13. ^ "Spotlight - Neelam Jewels". Archived from the original on 1 March 2009.

External links[edit]