Rashami Desai

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Rashami Desai
Rashami Desai snapped at Future Studios 2 (cropped).jpg
Desai in 2021
Shivani Desai[1]

(1986-02-13) 13 February 1986 (age 36) [2][3]
Other namesShivani Desai
Years active2002–present
Notable work
(m. 2012; div. 2015)

Shivani Desai (born 13 February 1986),[7][8] better known as Rashami Desai, is an Indian actress and dancer.[1] Widely known for portraying grey characters across Indian Television, she is the recipient of several accolades including two Indian Television Academy Awards and has established herself as one of the most popular television actresses.[9]

After starting her acting career in Indian films, Desai made her Hindi television debut with Ravan (2006) followed by a double role in Pari Hoon Main (2008). She became a household name with her most notable performance as Tapasya Thakur in the long-running soap opera Uttaran from 2009 to 2014, winning immense praise and various awards and nominations for the same, and was later appreciated for her acting in the love triangle Dil Se Dil Tak (2017–2018) as Shorvari Parth Bhanushali. In 2020 she starred as Nayantara/Shalaka Parikh in the supernatural thriller Naagin 4: Bhagya Ka Zehreela Khel and made her OTT debut with the short film Tamas. In 2021, Desai made her web debut with Tandoor.

On the non-fictional front, Desai took part in reality shows like Zara Nachke Dikha (2010), Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa (2012), Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi and Nach Baliye (2015). She also participated in the reality shows Bigg Boss 13 (2019–2020) and Bigg Boss 15 (2021–2022) and became a finalist in both.

Desai also ventured into stand-up comedy with reality shows like Comedy Circus Mahasangram (2010), Comedy Ka Maha Muqabala (2011), Kahaani Comedy Circus Ki (2012) and Comedy Nights Live (2016).

Early life[edit]

Rashami Desai was born Shivani Desai[10] on 13 February 1986 in Nagaon town of Assam.[2] She is a Gujarati by origin.[11] She has a brother, Gaurav Desai. Desai was born and brought in Mumbai and did her schooling and undergraduation there[12] Rashami pursued a diploma degree in Tours and Travels from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics, Mumbai.


2002–2006: Acting debut in films[edit]

Desai began her acting career with regional films where she appeared in an Assamese-language film titled Kanyadaan in 2002. Desai made her Bollywood debut with Birendra Nath Tiwari-directed 2004 romantic mystery Yeh Lamhe Judaai Ke alongside Shah Rukh Khan and Raveena Tandon. She essayed the role of Sheetal, a college student whose elder sister (played by Tandon) is murdered.[13][14]

In 2005, Desai appeared in the Hindi film Shabnam Mausi, where she played the role of Naina alongside Ashutosh Rana and Vijay Raaz.[15] She later earned fame in the Bhojpuri film industry where she played many roles in the films like Balma Bada Nadaan and Gabbar Singh. In 2005, Desai starred in the film Kab Hoi Gauna Hammar, that went on to win the National Award for Best Feature Film in Bhojpuri.[16][17]

2006–2008: Television debut and breakthrough role[edit]

Desai made her television debut in 2006 with the mythological drama series Ravan on Zee TV, where she played the role of Queen Mandodari. Desai was cast opposite Jay Soni in the series.[citation needed] In 2007, Desai appeared in the English film titled Sambar Salsa.

In 2008, Desai got her first big break in daily soaps that fetched her the limelight with her portrayal of the dual role of Nikki Shrivastav and Pari Rai Choudhary in Star One's Pari Hoon Main.[18][19] Directed and produced by Ravi Chopra, the series also featured Mohit Malik and Karan Veer Mehra in pivotal roles. The show followed the story of two look-alikes; Pari (an actress) and Nikki (a simple girl) who bump into each other, exchange their identities, and begin living each other's lives.[20] Desai then appeared as Priya in Star One's horror thriller anthology series Ssshhhh...Phir Koi Hai alongside Manish Paul.

2009–2016: Established success with Uttaran[edit]

In 2009, Desai briefly appeared in Meet Mila De Rabba aired on Sony TV where she played the role of Dr. Meher Datta alongside Surilie Gautam and Piyush Sahdev.[citation needed]

Desai at Indian Telly Awards 2010, where she received the award for Best Actress in a Negative Role for her work in Uttaran

Desai earned widespread acclaim and recognition upon entering Colors TV's long-running soap opera Uttaran in 2009, where she played the parallel lead alongside Tina Datta, Nandish Sandhu and Rohit Khurana. The series followed the story of two friends Ichcha and Tapasya, who hail from different strata of the society. Desai replaced Ishita Panchal to play the role of adult Tapasya Thakur, a rich girl who gets manipulated by her maternal grandmother upon feeling less loved than her friend by her own parents.[21] Uttaran opened up newer international markets for Indian Television, making Desai a household name beyond the country's shores.[22] For Uttaran, Desai received numerous accolades and nominations including the ITA Award for Best Actress Popular and Indian Telly Award for Best Actress in a Negative Role Popular in 2010. In January 2012 she opted out of the show. On 7 November 2012, she returned to Uttaran with positive shades, however it didn't work well and left the show again in 2014 citing creative differences.[23][24]

In 2010, Desai participated in Sony TV's comedy reality TV show Comedy Circus 3 Ka Tadka as a wildcard entrant with Vikrant Massey.[citation needed] Desai then participated as a member of the team "Massakalli Girls" in season 2 of the dance Reality tv show Zara Nachke Dikha which aired on Star Plus. Her team emerged as winners.[25] In the same year, Desai also appeared as panelist in Imagine TV's reality show Meethi Choori No 1 and participated in Sony TV's comedy reality show Comedy Circus Mahasangram.[26]

In 2011, Desai participated in Star Plus's comedy reality TV show Comedy Ka Maha Muqabala, where her team emerged as runner-ups.

In 2012, Desai appeared as Shivani in the Vikram Bhatt-directed horror anthology series Haunted Nights, aired on Sahara One.[citation needed] She then participated in the dance reality TV show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 5 which aired on Colors TV[27] and ultimately emerged as the first runner up. She also appeared on the Shekhar Suman hosted show Movers and Shakers.[28] Later in 2012, Desai made a cameo appearance in the Salman Khan starrer Hindi film Dabangg 2.

In 2013, Desai played the part of Natkhat Sali in Colors TV's stand-up comedy show Nautanki: The Comedy Theatre.[29]

In 2014, Desai appeared as a victim of blind faith and a woman who is tortured by her own family in the episode-based shows Savdhaan India[citation needed] and CID[30] respectively.

In 2015, Desai participated in Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi 6. She was eliminated, but was brought back on the show as a wild card entrant.[31] She was again eliminated just before the finale along with Sana Khan.[32] She then participated in Nach Baliye 7 with her then spouse Nandish Sandhu and they became 1st runners-up.[33] In October 2015, Desai appeared as a deaf and mute girl in Palash Muchhal's music video titled Teri Ek Hassi alongside Nandish Sandhu. It was sung by Jubin Nautiyal.[34] Later in the year, Desai briefly appeared in Colors TV's Ishq Ka Rang Safed where she played the grey role of Tulsi, a widow with hidden motives.[35]

In 2016, Desai essayed the negative role of dark supernatural character Preeti in &TV's Adhuri Kahaani Hamari.[36] She also participated in Box Cricket League in March 2016. Desai then appeared in Palash Muchhal's dance based music video titled Sajna Ve alongside Salman Yusuff Khan. It was sung by Monali Thakur and Dilip Soni.[37] Desai then participated in Balaji Telefilms' comedy reality show Mazaak Mazaak Mein, aired on Life OK.[38] Desai also completed the 2016 anthology drama film Rare & Dare Six-X, that also starred Rituparna Sengupta and Shweta Tiwari in important roles.[39]

2017–2020: Dil Se Dil Tak and beyond[edit]

Desai at Golden Petal Awards 2017, where she was nominated under Best Actress Category for her work in Dil Se Dil Tak

In 2017, Desai starred in Colors TV's drama series Dil Se Dil Tak, opposite Sidharth Shukla and Jasmin Bhasin. Desai was cast in the role of Shorvari Bhanushali, a woman caught between love for her husband and her desire to be a mother.[40] The series was loosely based on the Hindi film Chori Chori Chupke Chupke (2001).[41] Desai described her role as someone who "doesn’t express through words. She uses gestures, eyes and her facial expressions to express what she is feeling. That is interesting. In fact, as an actor, this gives me a lot of scope for performance.".[42] For her role in the series, she was nominated under Best Actress category at Golden Petal Awards 2017.[43]

In the same year, Desai made her Gujarati film debut with Bhavin Wadia's romantic thriller Superstar, where she was cast opposite Dhruvin Shah.[44][45]

Desai began 2019 with the lead role in DD National's comedy series Chalo Saaf Karein. Launched by Doordarshan along with the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, the show revolved around cleanliness and sanitation with a comic twist.[46] Desai played the role of Palak, an ambitious Delhi University graduate and a strong follower of Gandhian ideology and Swachhta, who intends to open a residential English medium school in her village.[citation needed] The series also featured Ashish Lal, Aruna Irani and Anita Raj in pivotal roles.[47] Later in the year, Desai participated in the reality show Bigg Boss 13, where she finished as 3rd runner up.[48][49]

In 2020, Desai essayed the role of Shalaka on Colors TV's supernatural fantasy thriller television series Naagin 4: Bhagya Ka Zehreela Khel alongside Nia Sharma, Anita Hassanandani and Vijayendra Kumeria.[50] Desai next appeared in the short film Tamas alongside Adhvik Mahajan, where she played the role of Sania[51] and participated in Ladies vs Gentlemen, a reality interactive game show hosted by Ritesh Deshmukh and Genelia D'souza in the same year.[52] In December 2020, Desai featured in Palash Muchhal's dance based music video titled Ab Kya Jaan Legi Meri alongside Shaheer Sheikh and Sana Saeed. It was sung by Palash Muchhal and Amit Mishra.[53]

2021–present: Professional expansion[edit]

In 2021, Desai made her digital debut alongside Tanuj Virwani in the web series titled Tandoor. Directed by Nivedita Basu, Tandoor is a romantic investigative thriller about a married couple whose lives take an unexpected turn after a murder.[54] Desai essayed the role of Palak, an aspiring politician in the series.[55] In May 2021, it was announced that Desai will collaborate with singer Rahul Vaidya for a music cover.[56] In September 2021, Desai appeared in Altamash Faridi's music video titled Subhan Allah.[57] Later in the year, Desai collaborated with Rahul Vaidya again for a music video titled Zindagi Khafa Khafa.[58] In November, Desai entered Bigg Boss 15 as a wilcard contestant and became the 5th Runner Up, thus creating history by becoming the only person to become finalist in two different seasons of Bigg Boss.[59]

In March 2022, Desai featured in three music videos titled Qatilana, Biraj Mein Jhoom and Tere Pind.[60][61][62] Thereafter, Desai entered the sixth season of Naagin series for a cameo to portray the dual role of two adversarial shape-shifting serpents, reprising the role of Shalaka (from season 4) with positive shades in addition to the negative role of Shanglira.[63] In April 2022, Desai collaborated with Neha Bhasin for a music video titled Parwah.[64]

Off-screen work and media image[edit]

Desai is a trained classical dancer.[65]

Writing for The Indian Express, journalist Sana Farzeen stated: "Not someone to play the perfect heroine, Rashami has experimented with her roles and played strong characters."[66] Apart from acting, Desai supports various causes. Desai walked the ramp at Caring with Style fashion show to raise money for cancer patients in 2015[67] and 2018[68] for designers Shaina NC and Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla respectively. In 2015, she walked the ramp of a fashion show to support Smile Foundation, a non-governmental organisation working towards underprivileged children's education and health.[citation needed] Desai also walked the ramp for Terry Fox Foundation and Maheka Mirpuri.[69] Desai was part of the Swachh Survekshan 2017, an initiative for an environmentally cleaner India (Swachh Bharat Abhiyan).[70]

Desai walked the ramp for designers Rohit Verma and Anu Mehra at Bombay Times Fashion Week in 2020[71] and 2021.[72]

In 2013, 2014 and 2018, she was among the highest-paid television actresses of India.[73] As per reports, Desai was also the highest paid contestant in Bigg Boss 13 and Bigg Boss 15.[74] In 2020, Desai became the first Indian Television actor to collaborate with Google for cameos.[75] Desai was ranked 22nd in BizAsia's list of top 30 TV Personalities in 2020.[76]

Desai endorsed Wheel alongside Salman Khan in 2010.[77] In 2021, Desai became the brand ambassador of JioMart.[78] Desai also endorses Hangyo.[79][80]

Personal life[edit]

Desai with her ex-husband Nandish Sandhu

She married her co-star from Uttaran, Nandish Sandhu, on 12 February 2012, in Dholpur.[5] In 2014, they separated, and in 2015, the couple filed for divorce after almost four years of marriage.[6]

In 2018, Desai met Arhaan Khan, they both participated in Bigg Boss 13 in 2019, where Arhaan proposed to Desai, and Desai accepted the proposal.[81] Later, it was revealed by Salman Khan that Arhaan was married before and had a kid which he had kept secret from Desai.[82] In 2020, after coming out from the Bigg Boss house, Desai broke up with Arhaan.[83][84]



Year Title Role Language Notes Ref(s)
2002 Kanyadaan Assamese Cameo [85]
2004 Yeh Lamhe Judaai Ke Sheetal Hindi Bollywood Debut
Tulsi Bhojpuri
Balma Bada Nadaan
Hum Balbrahma Chaari Tu Kanya Kumari
2005 Gazab Bhail Rama
Kab Hoi Gauna Hammar Gauri National Award for Best Feature Film in Bhojpuri [16][17]
Nadiya Ke Teer
Shabnam Mausi Naina Hindi
2006 Bambai Ki Laila Chapra Ka Chaila Bhojpuri
Gabbar Singh
Kable Aayee Bahaar
Kangna Khanke Piya Ke Angna
Pappu Ke Pyar Ho Gail
Sathi Sanghati
Tohse Pyar Ba
2007 Dulha Babu
Sambar Salsa English
2008 Bandan Toote Na Bhojpuri
Pyar Jab Kehu Se Hoi Jala
Shahar Wali Jaan Mareli
2009 Hum Hai Gawaar
2010 Sohagan Bana Da Sajana Hamaar
Umariya Kaili Tohre Naam
2012 Dabangg 2 Bride Hindi Cameo appearance in the song "Dagabaaz Re"
2017 Superstar Anjali Kapadia Gujarati Nominated— Gujarati Iconic Film Award for Best Actress
Six X Shweta Bhardwaj Hindi Unreleased
2020 Tamas Saina/Sania Hindi/Urdu Short film

Web series[edit]

Year Title Role Language Ref.
2021 Tandoor Palak Sahni/Palak Sharma Hindi [86]
2022 Ratri Ke Yatri 2 Ruby [87]


Year Title Role
2006–2008 Raavan Mandodari
2008 Pari Hoon Main Pari Rai Choudhary/Nikki Shrivastav
Ssshhhh...Phir Koi Hai Priya
2009 Meet Mila De Rabba Dr. Meher Datta
2009–2014 Uttaran Tapasya Thakur
2010 Comedy Circus 3 Ka Tadka Contestant
Meethi Choori No 1 Panelist
Zara Nachke Dikha Contestant/Winner
Comedy Circus Ke SuperStars Host
2012 Haunted Nights Shivani
Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 5 Contestant/1st runner-up
2013 Nautanki: The Comedy Theatre Natkhat Sali
2014 CID Sakshi
Savdhaan India Mata
2015 Nach Baliye 7 Contestant/1st runner-up
Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi 6 Contestant/9th place
Ishq Ka Rang Safed Tulsi
Romansa Cinta Uttaran Herself
2016 Adhuri Kahani Hamari Preeti
Box Cricket League 2 Contestant
Mazaak Mazaak Mein
2017–2018 Dil Se Dil Tak Shorvori Bhattacharya
2017 Rasoi Ki Jung Mummyon Ke Sung Contestant
2019 Chalo Saaf Karein Palak
2019–2020 Bigg Boss 13 Contestant/3rd runner-up
2020 Naagin 4 Nayantara/Shalaka
Ladies vs Gentlemen Panelist
2021–2022 Bigg Boss 15 Contestant/5th runner-up
2022 Naagin 6 Shanglira/Shalaka

Guest appearances[edit]

Year Title Role
2011 Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 4 Herself
Dance India Dance 3
Ratan Ka Rishta
2012 Bigg Boss 5
Movers & Shakers
2013 Bigg Boss 6
Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 6
2014 Nach Baliye 6
2015 Jamai Raja
Farah Ki Daawat
2016 Ek Tha Raja Ek Thi Rani
2017 Bigg Boss 10
Ek Shringaar-Swabhiman Shorvari
Shakti - Astitva Ke Ehsaas Ki
Bigg Boss 11
Entertainment Ki Raat Herself
2018 Tu Aashiqui Shorvori
Belan Wali Bahu
MTV Ace of Space 1 Herself
Naagin 3
2019 Khatra Khatra Khatra
Kitchen Champion 5
2020 Mujhse Shaadi Karoge
Naagin 5 Shalaka
2021 Bigg Boss 14 Herself
Bigg Boss OTT
Bigg Boss 15
2022 The Khatra Khatra Show

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Singer(s) Label Ref.
2015 Teri Ek Hassi Jubin Nautiyal Zee Music Company [88]
2016 Sajna Ve Monali Thakur and Dilip Soni [89]
2020 Ab Kya Jaan Legi Meri Palash Muchhal and Amit Mishra Pal Music [90]
2021 Kinna Sona Rahul Vaidya Rahul Vaidya RKV [91]
Subhan Allah Altamash Faridi Brown Pitch Productions [92]
Zindagi Khafa Khafa Rahul Vaidya Ishtar Music [93]
2022 Qatilana Ajay Keswani and Aakansha Sharma Desi Beats [94]
Biraj Mein Jhoom Anuradha Palakurthi Juju Juju Productions [95]
Tere Pind Gurlez Akhtar and Fateh Shergill Prime Records [96]
Parwah Neha Bhasin Neha Bhasin Official [97]
Khayalat Faisla Khan Jass Records Worldwide [98]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Rashami Desai awards and nominations
Rashami Desai graces the Indian Television Academy Awards 2017 (06) (cropped).jpg
  1. ^ Certain award groups do not simply award one winner. They recognize several different recipients, have runners-up, and have third place. Since this is a specific recognition and is different from losing an award, runner-up mentions are considered wins in this award tally. For simplification and to avoid errors, each award in this list has been presumed to have had a prior nomination.
Year Award Category Film/Show Result Ref(s)
2009 Indian Telly Awards Popular Actor in Negative Role (Female) Uttaran Nominated [99]
Indian Television Academy Awards GR8! Ensemble Cast Won [100]
2010 Best Actress (Popular) Won [101]
Indian Telly Awards Most Popular Actor in a Negative Role (Female) Won [102]
Big Star Entertainment Awards Most Entertaining Actor Female Nominated [103]
Gold Awards Best Actor in a Negative Role (Female) Won [104]
2011 Star Guild Awards Best Actor-Female in a Drama Series Won [citation needed]
FICCI Frames Excellence Awards Best TV Actor (Female) Won [105]
Apsara Awards Best Ensemble Cast Won [106]
Gold Awards Best Actor Female (Popular) Nominated [107]
Best Actress (Critics) Won [108]
2012 Apsara Awards Best Actress in Drama Series Nominated [109]


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