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Sonali Bendre

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Sonali Bendre
Bendre in 2017
Born (1975-01-01) 1 January 1975 (age 49)
Alma materRamnarain Ruia College
Years active1994–present
(m. 2002)
FamilyBehl family (by marriage)

Sonali Bendre (born 1 January 1975) is an Indian actress who primarily works in Hindi and Telugu films. She did modelling assignments prior to making her acting debut with Aag (1994), which won her the Filmfare Award for New Face of the Year. Bendre is a recipient of several accolades, including two Filmfare Awards and four Screen Awards.

Bendre played the leading lady in such commercially successful films as Diljale (1996), Major Saab (1998), Sarfarosh (1999) and Hum Saath Saath Hain (1999). Her performance in Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai (2000) won her the Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress. Bendre has also worked in the Tamil film Kadhalar Dhinam (1999) and the Telugu film Murari (2001). She earned a Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu nomination for the latter. Her other successful Telugu films include Indra, Khadgam, Manmadhudu (all 2002) and Shankar Dada MBBS (2004). Bendre then starred in the Marathi film Anahat (2003).

This was followed by a hiatus from acting. She has since appeared as a judge on various reality shows like India's Got Talent and India's Best Dramebaaz. Later, Bendre starred in the television series Ajeeb Daastaan Hai Ye (2014) and The Broken News (2022).

Along with her acting career, Bendre is a celebrity endorser for brands and products. She is married to filmmaker Goldie Behl with whom she has a son.

Early life[edit]

Sonali Bendre was born on 1 January 1975[1][2][3] in present-day Mumbai, Maharashtra. She has 2 sisters. Her father was a civil servant.[4] She completed her schooling from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Bangalore and completed her graduation from Ramnarain Ruia College, Mumbai.[5]


Modelling and film debut (1994-1995)[edit]

Bendre was a model before entering the Star Dust Talent Search. She made her film debut with Aag (1994) at the age of 19.[6] For this, she won the Filmfare Award for Lux New Face of the Year and Screen Award for Best Female Debut.[7][8] The same year, she also appeared in Naaraaz, for which she was awarded Filmfare's Sensational Debut Award.[9] Bendre had three releases in 1995 with The Don, Gaddaar and Takkar.[10] Bendre later received recognition with the song "Humma Humma" from the film, Bombay.[11][12]

Breakthrough and establishment (1996–2000)[edit]

Bendre at an event

The year 1996 marked a turning point in her career, where she had five releases. She starred in opposite Sunil Shetty in three films - Rakshak, Apne Dam Par and Sapoot.[13][14] Later, she played a village girl in English Babu Desi Mem opposite Shah Rukh Khan.[15] Lastly, she appeared in Diljale opposite Ajay Devgn, which proved to be her breakthrough performance. It was a box-office hit.[16] Avinash Ramchandani of Planet Bollywood said, "Sonali Bendre is dashingly beautiful".[17] In 1997, Bendre starred in Bhai opposite Sunil Shetty, Tarazu opposite Akshay Kumar[18] and Qahar opposite Sunny Deol.[19]

1998 was another successful year for Bendre. She first appeared in Keemat – They Are Back opposite Saif Ali Khan, in Humse Badhkar Kaun and Angaaray opposite Nagarjuna.[20] She then appeared opposite Shah Rukh Khan in Duplicate, which was an average success.[8] She received Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Female nomination for the film. Her next two films opposite Ajay Devgn were major box office success, Major Saab,[21] where India Today called her "insipid"[22] and Zakhm, where Anish Khanna noted that she made "an impact".[23][24]

In 1999, Bendre appeared opposite Aamir Khan in Sarfarosh.[25] Filmfare noted, "Sonali does justice to her first real role, the only one worth talking about, that is." She received IIFA Best Actress Award nomination.[26] Bendre next portrayed Dr. Preeti in Hum Saath-Saath Hain opposite Salman Khan, which became the highest-grossing film of the year.[27] While Anupama Chopra from India Today quoted, "The women mostly doll up, dance and cook", Alok Kumar opined, "Sonali don't really do much, but looks good doing whatever she does".[28][29] She then appeared in Dahek opposite Akshaye Khanna.[30] The same year, she made her Tamil film debut with Kadhalar Dhinam opposite new actor Kunal, a box office success.[31] Then, she had another Tamil release with Kannodu Kanbathellam opposite Arjun Sarja.[32][33]

Bendre had five releases in 2000. She first made brief cameos in Chal Mere Bhai[34] and Dhai Akshar Prem Ke.[35] She then appeared in a supporting role in Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai with Anil Kapoor. She won Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress, for her performance[8][36] Reviewer from Planet Bollywood opined, "Bendre turns in a charming performance as Khushi. She looks beautiful and, for once, shows a glimmer of talent."[37] Then she played the lead in Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hain opposite Govinda.[38][39] In the same year, she made her Kannada film debut with Preethse, a remake of Darr, opposite Shiva Rajkumar and Upendra. M D Riti of Rediff.com said, "Bendre looked pretty but her role lacked significance."[40]

Further success and break from films (2001–2012)[edit]

Bendre appeared in three films in 2001. She made her Telugu film debut with Murari opposite Mahesh Babu.[41] A critic of Sify found her to be "charming". It was a box office success.[42][43] She next appeared in Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega opposite Saif Ali Khan. Taran Adarsh stated, "Sonali Bendre doesn't get enough scope to display histrionics."[44] She then appeared in the song "Saajan Ke Ghar Jaana Hai" in Lajja.[45] Lastly, Bendre appeared opposite Ajay Devgn in Tera Mera Saath Rahen. Priyanka Bhattacharya of Rediff.com noted, "Sonali Bendre looks pretty but is not given much scope to act."[46]

In 2002, Bendre starred in three successful Telugu films. She first appeared in Indra opposite Chiranjeevi.[47] Reviewer from Idlebrain.com noted, "Sonali suited the role to tee and did her bit to perfection."[48] She next appeared in Khadgam opposite Ravi Teja.[49] Lastly, she appeared opposite Nagarjuna in Manmadhudu.[50] A critic from Sify stated, "Sonali is excellent and has played her role with conviction."[51]

Bendre in 2012 on the sets of Hindustan Ke Hunarbaaz

Bendre had five film releases in 2003. She made her Marathi film debut with Anahat,[52] for which she won Star Screen Award for Best Actress - Marathi. Pankaj Upadhyaya opined, "Sonali Bendre has never looked so good, so sensual."[53] She next appeared in Pyaar Kiya Nahin Jaatha opposite Diwakar Pundir. Later, appeared in Telugu film Palnati Brahmanayudu opposite Nandamuri Balakrishna. Rediff.com's reviewer found Bendre to be "good as the villain".[54] Bendre took on supporting parts in her two last released films of the year - Chori Chori opposite Ajay Devgn, Sukanya Verma noted, "Bendre is required to look both beautiful and jealous and does it admirably."[55] and in Kal Ho Naa Ho alongside Shah Rukh Khan.[56]

In 2004, Bendre starred in Shankar Dada M.B.B.S., a remake of Munna Bhai M.B.B.S, opposite Chiranjeevi. It was commercially successful.[57] A reviewer of idlebrain.com stated, "Sonali Bendre is totally cool. She is the perfect choice for this role and has acted with ease.".[58] She then made a special appearance in Aga Bai Arrecha!'s song "Cham Cham Karta Hai". In 2007, Bendre starred in a theatre play called Aap Ki Soniya. Post this, Bendre took a break from acting in films and shifted to television.[59]

Bendre made her television debut hosting the dance show Kya Masti Kya Dhoom....!. She went onto become a talent judge for Mr & Mrs Television, the reality shows Indian Idol 4, India's Got Talent, Hindustan Ke Hunarbaaz and India's Best Dramebaaz.[60] She has hosted the 50th Filmfare Awards with Saif Ali Khan and Farida Jalal on 26 February 2005.[61]

Intermittent work (2012–present)[edit]

Bendre turned narrator for the show Mission Sapne on Colors TV in 2014.[61] Bendre made her film comeback with Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobaara! in 2013, where she appeared opposite Akshay Kumar.[62] Her part was described by director Milan Luthria as, "Sonali's character is called Mumtaz. The character doesn't fit into the usual mould of a mother or a sister or bhabhi but has an identity of its own. That is what makes it special. And that's why Sonali agreed to be a part of the film."[63] Anupama Chopra from Hindustan Times opined, "Sonali Bendre shines in the few scenes she has."[64]

From 2014 to 2015, Bendre portrayed a strong housewife Shobha Sachdev opposite Apurva Agnihotri and Harsh Chhaya, in her television acting debut, in the Life OK's series Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh.[65][66]

In 2022, her delayed 1997 film Love You Hamesha, opposite Akshaye Khanna, was released on YouTube.[67][68] She also turned judge for DID Li'ls Masters Season 5 in 2022, marking her television comeback after 4 years.[69] In her final work of the year, Bendre made her streaming debut with The Broken News, portraying a news channel head.[70] Namrata Thakker noted, "Sonali stands out, delivering a nuanced performance. She aces the emotional scenes."[71] While Saibal Chatterjee added, "Bendre, brings remarkable maturity and balance to bear upon her interpretation of her role."[72]

In 2024, Bendre reprised her character, in the second season of The Broken News.[73] Writing for The Indian Express, Shubhra Gupta was appreciative of her performance and called her the "strongest reason" to watch the series.[74]

Personal life and off-screen work[edit]

Bendre with husband Goldie Behl in 2015

Bendre first met filmmaker Goldie Behl, son of director Ramesh Behl on the sets of her film Naaraaz.[75][76] Bendre married Behl on 12 November 2002 in Mumbai.[77] They have one child, a son born in 2005.[78][79]

On 4 July 2018, Bendre announced that, she has been diagnosed with a metastatic cancer and was undergoing treatment in a New York City hospital.[80][6] Despite having stage 4 cancer, the actress became cancer free in 2021.[81]

When Michael Jackson performed at a concert in Mumbai in 1996, Bendre had the opportunity to welcome Jackson.[82] She was dressed in a traditional Marathi sari and welcomed Jackson by applying the traditional 'tilak' on his forehead.[83][84] Bendre co-owns Pune Jaguars, a team at "The Tennis Premier League".[85] She has ramp walked for Made In India and Pidilite - CPAA charity.[86][87] She has also been cover model for various magazines including Vogue.[88][89] Bendre supports a number of causes,[90] including children's education and has been actively supporting cancer survivors. She says, "In whatever capacity I can, I will always be there to help and support the cause of cancer survivors."[91]


In 1998, Bendre was charged with poaching two blackbucks on the outskirts of Kankani village in Jodhpur district of Rajasthan during the filming of Hum Saath Saath Hain along with co-stars Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Tabu and Neelam Kothari.[92] A lower court charged her with the others under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and the IPC. She had filed a revision petition before a sessions court which discharged her of Section 51 (causing harm to wildlife) of Wildlife Act and both of 147 (punishment for rioting) and 149 (unlawful assembly of persons) of the Indian Penal Code.[93] The Rajasthan State Government then filed a revision petition before the Rajasthan High Court at Jodhpur which again added Section 149 against her, which had been dropped earlier. 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.[94] Although Bendre was acquitted in the blackbuck poaching case on 5 April 2018,[95] the Rajasthan High Court issued her with a notice, challenging her acquittal on 11 March 2019.[96]

In 2001, Bendre was arrested by Mumbai Police for wearing thigh-length, lemon yellow kurta with Om and Om Namah Shivay printed on it.[97]

Reception and public image[edit]

Bendre in 2012

Bendre has often been regarded as one of the most stylish actresses in Bollywood.[98][99] Rahul Gangwani of Filmfare termed her "beautiful and fresher than the first rains" and said, "Even though Sonali hasn't appeared on the big screen for a decade now, the craze for her remains unbeaten."[100] Rediff.com included her in their "Bollywood's Most Beautiful Actresses" list and noted, "One of the most underrated actresses, Sonali has traditional beauty."[101] India Today termed the actress, "The poster girl of the late 90s".[102] News18 called her the "Golden Girl of Bollywood" and added, "Bendre, renowned for her work in Hindi films and beyond, has carved a niche for herself as a style icon."[103]

Bendre has said her films, Naaraaz, Zakhm and Sarfarosh, are among the best moments from Indian cinema.[104] Actor Nandamuri Balakrishna has compared her with actress P. Bhanumathi, while praising her performance in Palnati Brahmanayudu.[105] In a 1999 Interview with Rediff.com, she revealed her acting approach. She said,

"I take it as it comes. If I feel strongly about something I voice my opinion, if the director agrees fine, or let him convince me. It comes from having a relationship with the director. You talk out the scene with your directors and your co-stars."[106]

In addition to her acting career, Bendre is a celebrity endorser for brands and products, including Nirma soap.[107] She has also endorsed fairness cream,[108] clothing brand Radha, with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Oriflame India.[109][110] Bendre was placed 36th in FHM India's 100 sexiest women list.[111] In 2015, Bendre wrote a book named, "The Modern Gurukul: My Experiment with Parenting", which talks about her achievements and challenges as a first-time mother.[112] Bendre appeared on Forbes India's Celebrity 100 list of 2016, ranking 99th, with an estimated annual income of 65 million (US$780,000).[113] In 2018, Bendre was among the most searched personality on Google in Pakistan.[114]



Year Title Role Language(s) Notes Ref.
1994 Aag Parul Hindi [115]
Naaraaz Sonali [116]
1995 The Don Anita Malik Hindi
Gaddaar Priya
Takkar Mohini
Bombay Herself Tamil Special appearance in the song "Humma Humma" [39]
1996 Rakshak Dr. Pooja Malhotra Hindi
English Babu Desi Mem Bijuriya [117]
Diljale Radhika [118]
Apne Dam Par Herself Special appearance in the song "Aara Hile Chapara Hile"
Sapoot Kajal Singhania
1997 Bhai Meenu Hindi
Tarazu Pooja
Qahar Neelam
1998 Keemat - They Are Back Mansi Hindi
Duplicate Lily [118]
Humse Badhkar Kaun Anu
Major Saab Nisha [119]
Angaaray Roma
Zakhm Sonia Maheshwari [104]
1999 Sarfarosh Seema Nagrath Hindi [120]
Kadhalar Dhinam Roja Tamil [121]
Kannodu Kanbathellam Kalyani [122]
Hum Saath Saath Hain Dr. Preeti Shukla Hindi [123]
Dahek Sabina / Neelima Bahkshi [124]
2000 Chal Mere Bhai Piya Hindi Cameo appearance
Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai Khushi Malhotra [125]
Dhai Akshar Prem Ke Nisha Cameo appearance
Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hain Saavni [126]
Preethse Kiran Kannada [127]
2001 Murari Vasundhara Telugu [128]
Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega Sapna Chopra Hindi [129]
Lajja Herself Special appearance in the song "Mujhe Saajan Ke Ghar Jaana Hai"
Tera Mera Saath Rahen Madhuri Khanna
2002 Indra Pallavi Telugu
Khadgam Swathi [130]
Manmadhudu Harika
2003 Anahat Queen Sheelavathi Marathi [131]
Pyaar Kiya Nahin Jaatha Disha Hindi
Palnati Brahmanayudu Siva Nageswari Telugu
Chori Chori Pooja Hindi
Kal Ho Naa Ho Dr. Priya Malhotra Cameo appearance
2004 Shankar Dada MBBS Dr. Sunita "Chitti" Telugu
Aga Bai Arrecha! Herself Marathi Special appearance in the song "Cham Cham Karta Hai"
2013 Once Upon A Time in Mumbai Dobaara! Mumtaz Khan Hindi
2022 Love You Hamesha Shivani Hindi Delayed release [132]


Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2001–2002 Kya Masti Kya Dhoom Host
2008 Mr & Mrs Television Judge
2008-2009 Indian Idol Season 4
2009-2012 India's Got Talent Season 1-3 [133]
2012 Hindustan Ke Hunarbaaz [134]
2014 Mission Sapne Narrator
2014–2015 Ajeeb Daastaan Hai Ye Shobha Sachdev [135]
2013–2016 India's Best Dramebaaz Judge Season 1-2
2021 Super Dancer Guest Season 4
2022 DID Li'ls Masters Judge Season 5

Web series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2022-present The Broken News Amina Qureshi [136]


Film and Television awards[edit]

Award Year Category Work Result Ref.
Bollywood Movie Awards 2001 Best Supporting Actress Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai Nominated [137]
Filmfare Awards 1995 Lux New Face of the Year Aag Won [138]
Sensational Debut Naaraaz Won [9]
Filmfare OTT Awards 2022 Best Supporting Actress - Drama Series The Broken News Nominated [139]
Filmfare Awards South 2001 Best Actress – Telugu Murari Nominated [140]
Indian Telly Awards 2002 Best Anchor Kya Masti Kya Dhum Nominated [141]
2012 Best Judge Panel India's Got Talent 3 Won [142]
2015 Best Onscreen Couple Ajeeb Daastaan Hai Ye Nominated [143]
International Indian Film Academy Awards 2000 Best Actress Sarfarosh Nominated [144]
2001 Best Supporting Actress Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai Nominated [145]
Planet Bollywood People's Choice Awards 1998 Best Supporting Actress Zakhm Nominated [146]
2000 Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai Nominated [147]
Sansui Viewers' Choice Movie Awards 2001 Best Supporting Actress Nominated [148]
Screen Awards 1995 Most Promising Newcomer – Female Aag Won [149]
Discovery of the Year Won
2001 Best Supporting Actress Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai Won [150]
2004 Best Actress – Marathi Anahat Won [151]
Zee Cine Awards 1998 Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Female Duplicate Nominated [152]

Other recognitions[edit]

Year Award Category Result Ref.
2018 Women Achiever's Awards Pride of Maharashtra Won [153]
2019 I Am Woman Awards Woman of Substance Won [154]
Vogue Beauty Awards Beauty Warrior Won [155]
2023 Bollywood Hungama Style Icons Most Stylish Beautiful Diva Won [156]
2024 Fashion Icon of the Year Pending [157]
Haute-Stepper of the Year

See also[edit]


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  4. ^ Kamat, Payal. "Goldie Behl's Maha Mantra". Mid Day. Retrieved 7 April 2019. .....brother-in-law's place in the prized locality of Dadar.... My father-in-law, for instance, was a civil servant who worked in the CWC.........[Sonali Bendre]'s family is CKP....
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