Rati Agnihotri

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Rati Agnihotri
Agnihotri in 2015
Born Rati Agnihotri
(1960-12-10) 10 December 1960 (age 55)
Bareilly, India
Other names Rati Virwani
Occupation Model, Actress
Years active 1979–1990
Spouse(s) Anil Virwani (1985–2015)
Children Tanuj Virwani

Rati Agnihotri (born 10 December 1960) is a veteran Indian actress. Her portfolio mainly includes films in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada.

Early life[edit]

Agnihotri was born in Bareilly Uttar Pradesh. She had her first modelling stint at age 10.[1] When she was a teenager, her father relocated the family to Madras, Tamil Nadu because of his job. There, she attended Good Shepherd's Convent School and acted in a school play.

Film career[edit]

Bharathiraja, one of Tamil film's prominent directors, was in the audience and was searching for a heroine to star in his new film. He met with Rati's father and promised the film would wrap in a month. Her father reluctantly agreed, and a sixteen-year-old Rati was very excited to star in her first film, Puthiya Vaarpugal (1979).

It was also her hero Bhagyaraj's first film, and he coached her with her lines by teaching her Tamil. The film became a blockbuster, with Rati an overnight sensation. Bharathiraja soon directed her in her second film, Niram Maaratha Pookkal (1979).[2] Even though she was Punjabi, South Indian audiences embraced her as one of their own. She reciprocated by calling herself "Tamilian at heart" and calling Madras her home.[3] She also starred in Telugu and Kannada films and made 32 films in just three years.

She worked with big banners and top stars in South Indian cinema. She had worked with director K. Balachander once before and had been Kamal Hassan's leading lady in many South Indian films, so she wasn't surprised when they approached her for the Hindi remake of their Telugu blockbuster Maro Charithra (1979). Now re-titled Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981), the film was about passionate lovers who are torn apart by their parents in the storytelling tradition of Romeo and Juliet. It became one of the top grossing hits of 1981 and marked the debut into Hindi films of five stars of the South Indian film industry: director K. Balachander, hero Kamal Hassan, heroine Rati Agnihotri, singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam and supporting actress Madhavi. She then starred in over 43 Hindi films. Her biggest hits were Farz Aur Kanoon (1982), Coolie (1983) opposite megastar Amitabh Bachchan, Tawaif (1985) for which she received her second Filmfare nomination as Best Actress, and Hukumat (1987) opposite the Bollywood icon Dharmendra.

Personal life[edit]

Rati's marriage to businessman and architect Anil Virwani on 9 February 1985,[4] coupled with her father's death,[5] convinced Rati to leave Hindi films when she was at the top.[6] In 1987, she gave birth to her only child, Tanuj Virwani, and she concentrated on raising him and focusing on other creative interests like architectural creations for her husband.[7][8][9][10] In 2015, she separated from Virwani after thirty years of marriage.[11]


After 16 years of saying no to films, Rati finally said yes realizing that her son is growing up and she had more time for herself. Her family supported her decision. Her comeback started with playing Kajol's glamorous mother in Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi (2001). More film offers came in, and she took them, such as Yaadein (2001) and Dev (2004). After a 20-year absence from South Indian films, she returned in the Tamil film Majunu (2001). She made her Malayalam debut in Anyar (2003), English debut in An Ode to Lost Love (2003), and Bengali debut in Aaina-te (2008).[12] She has acted on stage in plays such as Please Divorce Me Darling (2005) and television serials, such as Sixer (2005). Besides acting, she devotes time to social causes like cancer and AIDS.[13] Her son Tanuj Virwani followed in her footsteps by becoming an actor.[14]

Awards and nominations[edit]


She has acted in ten languages, including, but not limited to Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Punjabi[16] and English.

Her cousin is actor-writer-director Atul Agnihotri, and she played a part of a cardiac surgeon in his film Dil Ne Jise Apna Kahaa (2004).

In 2006, Rati and her husband opened a shopping mall called Virwani Plaza in Pune, where one of the stores, Om to Home – Candles and More in the Mall, houses artefacts, exclusive fashion accessories, and candles all personally designed by the actress.

Rati played Nayantara Pratap Singh in a serial named Kaajjal on SET Asia. She recently quit the show because of problems with the production company. She was a contestant on dance reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa in the 1st season in 2006.

Her sister Anita Agnihotri (Miss India) lives in Szczecin, Poland and owns an Indian restaurant, "Bombay". Her son Tanuj Virvani made his debut with Luv U Soniyo which released July 2013.



  • 2006: Kaajjal as Nayantara Pratap Singh
Year Show Standing
2006 Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa Eliminated 7th


External links[edit]