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Sonam Kapoor

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Sonam Kapoor
Sonam Kapoor standing in a red dress.
Kapoor in December 2014
Born (1985-06-09) 9 June 1985 (age 30)[1]
Mumbai, India
Ethnicity Punjabi[2]
Occupation Actress
Years active 2007–present
Parent(s) Sunita and Anil Kapoor
Relatives See Kapoor family

Sonam Kapoor (pronounced [soːnəm kəˈpuːr]; born 9 June 1985) is an Indian actress who performs in Bollywood films. She is the daughter of actor Anil Kapoor. One of the highest paid actresses and most popular celebrities in India, Kapoor was nominated for three Filmfare Awards and won two Stardust Awards.

Kapoor studied theatre and arts at the United World College of South East Asia in Singapore and assisted the director Sanjay Leela Bhansali on his 2005 drama film Black. She made her acting début in 2007 with Bhansali's romantic drama Saawariya. Though the film was not a success at the box office, Kapoor's performance earned her a nomination for the Filmfare Best Female Debut Award. She then featured in the drama Delhi-6 (2009) and had her first commercial success with the romantic comedy I Hate Luv Storys (2010).

After appearing in a series of commercial failures, Kapoor earned her first Filmfare Award for Best Actress nomination for the romantic drama Raanjhanaa (2013). She featured briefly in the successful biographical sports film Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013) and played the lead in the romantic comedy Khoobsurat (2014). In 2015, Kapoor received praise for her performance in Sooraj R. Barjatya's Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, which emerged as one of the highest grossing Bollywood films of all time.

Early life[edit]

Sonam Kapoor was born in the suburb of Chembur, Mumbai, on 9 June 1985.[1][3] Her father is actor and producer Anil Kapoor, the founder of the Anil Kapoor Films Company. Her mother is Sunita Kapoor, a former model and designer.[4][5][6] The family moved to the suburb of Juhu when she was one month old.[7] Kapoor has two younger siblings: film producer Rhea and brother Harshvardan.[8] Her paternal grandfather, film-maker Surinder Kapoor, died in 2011.[9] Kapoor is the niece of film producer Boney Kapoor and actor Sanjay Kapoor. Actress Sridevi, who is Boney's wife, is her aunt.[10] Her paternal cousins are the actors Arjun Kapoor and Mohit Marwah.[11][12] Kapoor shares a close bond with her maternal grandmother, whom she admits has had a major influence on her personality.[2]

Sonam Kapoor and her father Anil Kapoor posing for the camera
Kapoor with her father Anil in 2011

Kapoor was educated at the Arya Vidya Mandir school in Juhu.[13] Kapoor said she would bully boys in school: "I would push them, [and] beat them". She described herself as a "naughty" and "carefree" child.[14] In an interview with India Today, Kapoor said that she loved sports at school, playing rugby and basketball.[15]

Kapoor recalled that she got her first job at age 15 as a waitress, though it only lasted a week.[16][17] As a teenager, she suffered from obesity: "I had every issue related to weight that I could have. I was unhealthy, I had bad skin, and I had hair growing on my face!"[18][19] Kapoor's condition led to her being diagnosed with borderline diabetes and polycystic ovarian disease.[18]

Kapoor enrolled at the United World College of South East Asia in Singapore for her pre-university education, where she studied theatre and arts.[7] She attended the University of East London, studying economics and political science.[20] Actress Rani Mukerji, who was then working on her forthcoming project Black, visited her in Singapore during a holiday. Kapoor expressed her desire to work with Mukerji as a crew member of the film. On her father's recommendation to the film's director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, she worked as an assistant director on the film.[21][22] In a 2013 interview with The Times of India, the actress said that she initially aspired to be a director and writer.[7] While working on Black, Bhansali expressed interest in casting Kapoor as the lead in his next film, Saawariya. She was advised to lose weight; at that time she weighed about 80 kilograms (180 lb).[23] Motivated by Bhansali's confidence in her, she lost 35 kilograms (77 lb) in two years.[18][23][24] Before beginning work on the film, Kapoor studied acting under the mentorship of the theatre personalities Roshan Taneja, Jayati Bhatia and Feroz Abbas Khan.[7]

Acting career[edit]

Début and career fluctuations[edit]

Based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky's short story "White Nights", Saawariya (2007) tells the story of a tramp who falls in love with a woman awaiting the return of her lover. The film features Kapoor alongside Ranbir Kapoor, Rani Mukerji and Salman Khan.[25] Saawariya was the first Indian feature to be produced by a Hollywood studio (Sony Pictures Entertainment) and was a highly anticipated film.[26] Film critics were disappointed with the film, which the BBC's Jaspreet Pandohar called a "misfire on a massive scale".[27] Raja Sen of added: "The gorgeous Sonam Kapoor is armed with a great laugh—almost as infectious as her father's—and one wishes she was allowed to simper softly, instead of having a clearly overdubbed plastic giggle plastered onto her."[28] The film failed to perform well at the box office.[29] Nevertheless, she earned a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut and won the Stardust Award for Superstar of Tomorrow – Female for her performance in the film.[30][1]

Kapoor's second release was in 2009. Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra cast her as an aspiring singer in the drama Delhi-6, co-starring Waheeda Rehman and Abhishek Bachchan. Despite critical acclaim, the film underperformed at the box office.[31] CNN-IBN's Rajeev Masand called Kapoor a "revelation" in the film, adding that she is "a firecracker, instinctive and uninhibited in what isn't even a conventional female lead".[32] Sonia Chopra of Sify wrote that Kapoor was an "earnest and effortless performer so she does make you like the character somewhat, despite the typical Delhi-girl recipe".[33]

Sonam Kapoor is directly looking towards the camera.
Kapoor at a promotional event for I Hate Luv Storys in 2010

The romantic comedy I Hate Luv Storys (2010) from director Punit Malhotra was Kapoor's first release of 2010. Co-starring Imran Khan, the film tells the story of an engaged woman who develops a one-sided attraction towards her commitment-phobic co-worker. Khan said of her craft: "We'd be shooting a scene from multiple angles—for three or four hours you're doing the same scene, the same lines—and here is this person [Kapoor] who brings consistency to her work, from the way she talks, to her accent."[34] Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express dismissed Kapoor's performance as "stiff and rehearsed" although Daily News and Analysis‍ '​ Johnson Thomas found her "likable and believable".[35][36] I Hate Luv Storys became Kapoor's first commercial success, earning 725.2 million (US$11 million) worldwide.[37][38][39]

Kapoor portrayed the eponymous protagonist in Aisha (2010), a romantic comedy produced by her sister Rhea. Described as India's first "fashion film",[40] the film is a modern-day adaptation of Jane Austen's novel Emma. It also features Abhay Deol, Ira Dubey and Amrita Puri in prominent roles.[41] In an interview with India Today, Kapoor explained that her character "is a meddlesome busybody with a passion for matchmaking and playing cupid".[42] A writer for NDTV found Kapoor to be the stand-out performer in the film, writing that "she makes the best of a rather rare opportunity for an Indian leading lady to be part of a Bollywood film that salutes Victorian mores and Delhi's elitist affectations in one clean cool sweep".[43]

Kapoor's first film release of 2011 was Thank You, a comedy about three wives who want to teach a lesson to their philandering husbands. The film met with poor reviews as did Kapoor's performance; Nikhat Kazmi of The Times of India found her portrayal to be "terribly out of sync".[44] Kapoor starred in the Pankaj Kapur-directed romantic drama Mausam, in which she and co-star Shahid Kapoor played star-crossed lovers. The film received mixed reactions from the critics and was a box office failure.[45] Despite expressing doubts about her acting ability, critic Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV thought that Kapoor successfully conveyed "the essential vulnerability of a girl forever under duress, bringing out just the right mix of feminine fragility and native resolve".[46] Kapoor's only release of 2012 was Abbas-Mustan's action film Players, a remake of The Italian Job (2003). The role was originally written for Katrina Kaif, who was unavailable to appear in the film, and that Kapoor was contracted as a replacement.[47] Co-starring Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu and Neil Nitin Mukesh, she played a computer hacker in the film. Writing for, Raja Sen stated: "[she] truly entertains with her childish attempt to pass off as a Gold-medalist hacker."[48] Trade journalists had high expectations for the film, but it ultimately failed commercially.[49][50] The series of poorly received films failed to boost her career.[51][52]

2013 onwards[edit]

Sonam Kapoor attending a promotional event in 2013
Kapoor promoting Raanjhnaa on Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa in 2013

Kapoor's role in the romantic drama Raanjhanaa (2013) proved to be a breakthrough for her.[53][54][55] Writing for The Indian Express, Geety Sahgal called it her best performance to that point.[56] The film tells the story of Zoya Haider, a young Muslim student from Varanasi who is drawn into Indian politics after the murder of her Sikh lover. In preparation for the part, Kapoor interacted with students, attended workshops and practiced with theatre groups associated with Jawaharlal Nehru University.[57][58] She observed Jaya Bachchan's work in Guddi (1971), which she felt was "perfect" for her role.[13] While discussing her character in the film, she described her approach to acting: "I have always tried to do different films and ... I try to be different for every character. I like doing different things to challenge myself in every way and don't like to repeat myself."[59] Raanjhanaa met with mixed reviews, but Kapoor's performance was praised. Rajeev Masand wrote that Kapoor "does some of her best work here, going smoothly from innocent to manipulative to cynical, without ever losing Zoya's inherent vulnerability".[60] With global earnings of over 1 billion (US$15 million), Raanjhanaa emerged as a commercial success.[61] Among other honours, Kapoor received her first nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress.[62]

Greater success came to Kapoor later that year when she played a brief role in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013), a biopic on athlete Milkha Singh. Made on the budget of 300 million (US$4.5 million), she was paid 11 (16¢ US) for playing her part. She cited her admiration for director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and the film as the reasons for the salary.[63][64] Critically acclaimed, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was one of the top-grossing films of the year.[65][66] Critic Sarita A. Tanwar explained in her review that despite the limited scope of her role, Kapoor proved to "be the perfect warm counterpart to Milkha".[67]

In Yash Raj Films' Bewakoofiyaan (2014), a comedy-drama set in the inflation-hit economy of India, Kapoor played Mayera, a banker, opposite Ayushmann Khurrana and Rishi Kapoor. Film critic Anupama Chopra found the film to be "exhaust[ing]" and wrote that Kapoor was unable to make a mark in it as her role was poorly written: "She attempts to imbue Mayera with some texture but it's an uphill climb."[68] Her second film release of 2014 was the romantic comedy Khoobsurat, an adaptation of the 1980 film of the same name, in which she played, opposite Pakistani actor Fawad Afzal Khan, a physiotherapist, a role based on the one played by Rekha in the original. Kapoor became India's first actress to star in a film produced by Walt Disney Pictures.[69] Khoobsurat performed moderately well financially and garnered her a Best Actress nomination at Filmfare.[70][71][72] Andy Webster of The New York Times added that Kapoor shared some of Anne Hathaway's "early incandescence" and a "Julia Roberts-like smile".[73] However, Reuters' Shilpa Jamkhandikar called her "loud and exasperating, rather than the vivacious, klutzy do-gooder she is portrayed as".[74]

Kapoor next played the titular role of a runaway bride in Dolly Ki Doli (2015), a comedy film co-starring Pulkit Samrat, Rajkummar Rao and Varun Sharma.[75] To prepare for her role, she read books on confidence tricks.[76] Writing for Mint, Udita Jhunjhunwala panned Kapoor's performance and said that her "range is too limited to bring alive a character that may have had heaps of potential on paper".[77] Kapoor next starred in Sooraj R. Barjatya's family drama Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015), opposite Salman Khan.[78] One of the highest grossing Bollywood films of all time,[79] the film saw Kapoor enact the role of Rajkumari Maithili Devi, a princess on the lookout for love. Despite criticising its logic, Filmfare's Rachit Gupta praised Kapoor's performance: "she definitely looks like royalty and her performance of a love lorn princess adds a nice touch to the proceedings [of the film]".[80]

As of November 2015, Kapoor is currently shooting for the Ram Madhvani's Neerja Bhanot, a biopic on the flight attendant of the same name.[81] She is also committed to starring in the film adaptation of Anuja Chauhan's novel Battle For Bittora.[82]

Personal life and other work[edit]

Kapoor has cited actresses Waheeda Rehman and Nutan as her sources of inspiration.[83] She is trained in Kathak, classical music and Latin dance.[84] Regarding her religious affiliations, the actress said, "I am quite religious. It's a great way of reminding myself that I need to be thankful for so much."[85]

In a 2009 interview, Kapoor spoke about her suffering from insulin resistance; she has since launched an initiative to create awareness of diabetes.[86] While filming Prem Ratan Dhan Payo in Gondal, Gujarat, she was diagnosed with swine influenza in February 2015 and was flown to Mumbai in an air-ambulance. She recovered from the infection the following month.[87][88]

The Indian media has often speculated about a romantic relationship between Kapoor and her co-actors, but she has denied the suggestions.[89][90] Tabloid reports romantically linked her with Ranbir Kapoor during the production of Saawariya, but they each strongly denied it.[91] The media then speculated on a romantic relationship with Punit Malhotra (the director of I Hate Luv Storys). The media reported that the couple separated in 2013.[92][93] In 2014, she began a romantic relationship with entrepreneur-model Sahir Berry; they broke up a few months later.[94][95] She has since decided to keep her personal life away from media attention and has expressed a desire not to publicly talk about it.[96]

In addition to acting in films, Kapoor has supported charitable organisations for a number of causes. In 2009, Kapoor participated in the International Indian Film Academy Awards charity fashion show, which supports widows and orphans of Indian film industry workers.[97] On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), she sent a letter to Maharashtra Home Minister R. R. Patil to discourage the use of glass-coated manja—which is used for flying kites—as it kills birds after they become entangled in them.[98] In 2012, she asked her fans to donate to the Ogaan Cancer Foundation on the occasion of her birthday; she also collaborated with the foundation to create awareness for breast cancer.[99] She is the brand ambassador for Elle Breast Cancer Campaign.[100]

In 2012, Kapoor auctioned some of her clothes on stylist Pernia Qureshi's online fashion boutique Pernia's Pop-Up Shop, whose proceeds were donated to Smile Foundation, an organisation that promotes the cause of children's welfare.[101] In 2014, she attended a charitable art exhibition organised by the Rouble Nagi Art Foundation.[102] The same year, she donated some of her clothes and accessories to a website that raised funds for In Defense of Animals, an organisation that supports animal rights.[103] She walked the ramp in a 2015 fashion show by Manish Malhotra for the Mijwan Welfare Society, a non-profit organisation dedicated to empowering girls.[104] She featured at no charge alongside Hrithik Roshan in the music video for "Dheere Dheere", from which all profits were donated to a charity.[105]

Media image[edit]

A shot of Sonam Kapoor, looking gently towards the camera
Kapoor at the Femina Women Awards in 2014

Born into a family of popular actors, Kapoor appeared in the media from an early age.[106] Praised for her style and sense of fashion, Kapoor attracts media attention at public events and film promotions.[107][108] However, Kapoor has often been criticised for her traditional Indian dresses, the Hindustan Times opining that she "isn't able to do much justice to Indian clothes".[109]

Known in the Indian media for her outspoken nature,[110] Kapoor has been the subject of several controversies.[111] Her statements on her contemporaries and other people from the Indian film industry have often attracted wide media attention and, at times, criticism.[112][113] In 2011, a controversy arose when she raised her middle finger during a press conference, later justifying the gesture by saying it was "a part of today's youth".[111] With a Twitter account since 2009 and an official Facebook page, she is one of the most popular Indian celebrities on social media.[114][115]

Analysing Kapoor's career, Emirates 24/7 wrote that she featured in a series of films, for which she was "written off by the critics as yet another star kid who crashed and burned without any talent".[64] A reviewer for reported that she is one of the most popular actresses in Bollywood regardless of her films' failures at the box office.[106] Following the success of Raanjhanaa and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Subhash K. Jha credited her as one of the "top-most" actresses in India.[116]

One of the highest-paid actresses in Bollywood, Kapoor is described as a style icon by the Indian media.[117][118][119][120][121] In 2009, Kapoor became the first Indian actress to feature in The Hollywood Reporter‍‍ '​‍s "Next Generation: Asia Class", a list dedicated to newcomers in film.[122] The actress was ranked seven in The Times of India‍‍ '​‍s listing of the "Most Desirable Woman" in 2010 and was placed at the fourteenth, twenty-eighth and fourteenth positions for the next three years.[123][124] She has featured in the UK magazine Eastern Eye‍‍ '​‍s "World's Sexiest Asian Women" list from 2011 to 2014, ranking among the top ten each year.[125] placed her in their list of "Bollywood's Best Dressed Actresses" in 2012 and 2013.[126][127] In 2012 and 2013, she held the forty-eighth and forty-fifth positions, respectively, on the Indian edition of Forbes' "Celebrity 100", a list based on the income and popularity of India's celebrities.[128][129] The following year, she reached the thirty-first position, with an estimated annual earning of 112 million (US$1.7 million).[130] The actress appeared in The Huffington Post‍‍ '​‍s list of "100 most influential women on Twitter" in 2015.[131]

As well as endorsing brands such as Colgate, Electrolux, Lux, Mont Blanc, Oppo Mobile, Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A. and Signature, Kapoor is the Indian ambassador for the international cosmetic brand L'Oreal.[132][133] reported in 2012 that she received 30 million (US$450,000) for each endorsement, making her one of the highest paid celebrities for endorsements in India.[106]


Films that have not yet been released Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Title Role Notes
2007 Saawariya Sakina
2009 Delhi-6 Bittu Sharma
2010 I Hate Luv Storys Simran Kaur
2010 Aisha Aisha Kapoor
2011 Thank You Sanjana Malhotra
2011 Mausam Aayat Rasool
2012 Players Naina Braganza
2013 Bombay Talkies Herself Special appearance in song "Apna Bombay Talkies"
2013 Raanjhanaa Zoya Haider
2013 Bhaag Milkha Bhaag Biro
2014 Bewakoofiyaan Mayera Sehgal
2014 Khoobsurat Dr. Mrinalini "Milli" Chakravarty
2015 Dolly Ki Doli Dolly
2015 "Dheere Dheere" Music video
2015 Prem Ratan Dhan Payo Rajkumari Maithili Devi
2016 Neerja Bhanot Film has yet to be released Neerja Bhanot Filming

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Film Award Category Result Ref.
2008 Saawariya Filmfare Awards Best Female Debut Nominated [30]
2008 Saawariya Screen Awards Most Promising Newcomer Nominated [134]
2008 Saawariya Zee Cine Awards Best Female Debut Nominated [135]
2008 Saawariya Stardust Awards Superstar of Tomorrow – Female Won [1]
2010 Delhi-6 Asian Film Awards Best Newcomer Nominated [136]
2010 Delhi-6 Screen Awards Best Actress (Popular Choice) Nominated [134]
2010 Delhi-6 Stardust Awards Superstar of Tomorrow – Female Nominated [134]
2011 I Hate Luv Storys Stardust Awards Best Actress in a Comedy or Romance Nominated [134]
2012 Thank You Stardust Awards Best Actress in a Comedy or Romance Nominated [137]
2012 None Zee Cine Awards International Icon – Female Nominated [138]
2014 Raanjhanaa BIG Star Entertainment Awards Most Entertaining Actor in a Social/Drama Film – Female Nominated [139]
2014 Raanjhanaa Screen Awards Best Actress (Popular Choice) Nominated [140]
2014 Raanjhanaa Filmfare Awards Best Actress Nominated [62]
2014 Raanjhanaa Zee Cine Awards Best Actress Nominated [141]
2015 Khoobsurat Stardust Awards Best Actress in a Comedy or Romance Won [142]
2015 Khoobsurat BIG Star Entertainment Awards Most Entertaining Actor in a Comedy Film – Female Nominated [143]
2015 Khoobsurat Screen Awards Best Actress (Popular Choice) Nominated [144]
2015 Khoobsurat Filmfare Awards Best Actress Nominated [70]

Other honours[edit]

  • 2010: DNA After Hours Style Award 2010
  • 2011: NDTV Brand Ambassador of the Year[145]
  • 2011: Hello Hall of Fame Awards's Face of the Year[1]
  • 2013: Hindustan Times' Style Icon (Reader's Choice)[146]
  • 2013: GQ Woman of the Year[147]
  • 2013: Vogue Beauty Award Beauty of the Year[148]
  • 2014: Hello Hall of Fame Awards' Entertainer of the Year[149]


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