Born in: Tamil Nadu, India
Career: Actress and Model
Shilpa Shetty is a Bollywood actress known for her acting skills as well as hourglass figure. Apart from being seen in Hindi films, she remains involved in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada movies as well. Shetty started her career as a model and gradually made her way into films. She debuted in Bollywood with the film ‘Baazigar’, which was released in 1993. Since then, she has starred in around 50 Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada language films. Shetty was the first Indian celebrity to be invited for the British Celebrity Big Brother TV show. She won the same, after going through an international racism controversy.
Childhood and Early Life
Shilpa Shetty was born on 8th June 1975, in Tamil Nadu, India. Hers is a traditional, close-knit family that belongs to the matrilineal Bunt community of Tulu Nadu. In spite of being born in Tamil Nadu, Shetty has always described herself as a Mangalorean. The eldest daughter of Surendra and Sunanda Shetty, she has one sibling, sister Shamita. After attending St. Anthony Girls' High School, located in Chembur, she went to Podar College. In school, she was the captain of the volleyball team.
Shilpa Shetty was hardly 16 years old when she entered the world of modeling, with Limca providing her one of the first assignments. Two years after this, she was seen in the first movie of her career, ‘Baazigar’ (1993). The film proved to be a box office success and earned her the nomination for Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award. The 1994 movie ‘Aag’ served as Shetty’s launch pad, as a leading actress. A moderate success, it was followed by the successful film ‘Main Khiladi Tu Anari’.
The same year, she was also seen in ‘Aao Pyar Karen’. The year 1995 saw Shilpa starring in ‘Hathkadi’, alongside Saif Ali Khan, Govinda and Madhoo. The following year, ‘Chhote Sarkar’, ‘Himmat’ and ‘Sahasa Veerudu Sagara Kanya’ (Telugu) were the films in which she played the female lead. 1997 proved to be one of the busiest years in the life of Shilpa Shetty. She was seen in as many as six films, starting with Telugu film ‘Veedeva Dani Babu’. Apart from that, there was another film ‘Dus’ that got shelved.
The year 1998 saw Shilpa Shetty performing in ‘Pardesi Babu’. The movie not only won her critical acclaim, but also got her the Bollywood Movie Award for Best Supporting Actress. ‘Jaanwar’ and ‘Lal Baadshah’, her films in 1999, were duds at the box office. Then, came ‘Dhadkan’ (2000), a moderate success, and won her nominations in Best Actress category, in different award ceremonies. 2001 was her year for South Indian movies - ‘Bhalevadivi Basu’ (Telugu), ‘Maduve Agona Baa’ (Kannada) & ‘Preethsod Thappa’ (Kannada)
The only exception to this was ‘Indian’, a Hindi movie she did the same year. The 2002 movie ‘Rishtey’, in which Shetty was seen with Anil Kapoor and Karisma Kapoor, had her in a comic role. Apart from being appreciated, she also received a nomination under the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award category. ‘Karz’, ‘Hathyar’, ‘Chor Machaaye Shor’, ‘Badhaai Ho Badhaai’ and ‘Junoon’ were other films that she did the same year. 2003 saw Shetty in only two movies – ‘Ondagona Baa’ (Kannada) and ‘Darna Mana Hai’.
In 2004, she played the role of a Muslim orphan and disenchanted table dancer, in ‘Garv’. The same year, she was seen in ‘Phir Milenge’, a movie in which she played the role of an HIV-infected person, which won her great critical acclaim as well as Filmfare Best Actress nomination. The 2005 action thriller ‘Dus’ (2005) further solidified her position as an actress who could do meaningful roles. She also starred with her sister in the film ‘Fareb’ in 2005. In 2006, Shetty had a single release - ‘Shaadi Karke Phas Gaya Yaar’.
The film was a flop, but earned her some rave reviews. She made her debut on small screen in 2006, as a judge on Jhalak Dikhlaja, a dance show on Sony Entertainment Television. Shetty was once featured in Mani Ratnam's stage show, Netru, Indru, Naalai. The year 2007 started on a good note for her, as her first movie ‘Life In A...Metro’ turned into a box office success. It became the first Bollywood movie to premiere at Leicester Square. Last, she was seen in the movie ‘Apne’, a moderate success.
Big Brother (2007)
In 2007, Shilpa Shetty became the first Indian celebrity to feature in ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ show of UK. During the show, she was allegedly made a target of racism and bullying by other housemates, mainly Jade Goody, Jo O'Meara and Danielle Lloyd. Many disparaging conversation took place, some followed by Shetty almost in tears, and the incident got snowballed into an international racism controversy. Shetty finally won the contest, after gaining 63% of the public vote and later, apologies were tended to her.
After the show ended, Shetty was invited to a reception at the House of Commons by Keith Vaz MP. There, she met the then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair. In March 2007, she was invited to meet Queen Elizabeth II, at Marlborough House in London. She became a celebrity in UK and was even offered a role in British EastEnders soap opera, which she turned down. She was the subject of a Sky One documentary entitled "The Real Shilpa Shetty" and received numerous commercial offers as well.
In February 2006, Shilpa Shetty lent support to a BBC World Service Trust television show, which was designed to target the problem of HIV-AIDS in India. In April 2007, she appeared with Richard Gere at a press conference in New Delhi. It was a part of a campaign to promote of AIDS awareness and preach safe sex to truck drivers in India. Shetty is also involved with PETA. In March 2006, it was reported that she joined PETA, for an advertising campaign against the use of wild animals in circuses. She also posed for photographs, in a figure-hugging tiger costume, inside a cage.
Shilpa Shetty has been embroiled in a number of controversies, with the Big Brother scandal being one of them. In 2003, owners of Praful Sarees lodged complaints against her parents for threatening them, through Mumbai-based underworld figures, and asking for money. In April 2006, Shilpa Shetty and Reema Sen were issued non-bailable warrants by a Madurai court. The warrants were for "posing in an obscene manner", in photographs that were published by a Tamil newspaper.
In early 2007, Shetty was involved in the Celebrity Big Brother controversy. Just as she had managed to get over with it, another one appeared to shake her life. In April 2007, she paired with Richard Gere for promotion of AIDS Awareness. During one of the events, Richard Gere kissed here in jest, several times on the cheek. Protests broke in several cities of India, against the kiss that was said to be an attack on India's cultural and moral values. Legal action was also sought against Shetty and Gere, which has been suspended by the Supreme Court
In the 1990s, Shilpa Shetty was reported to be having an affair with co-actor Akshay Kumar. The couple broke up in 2000, after Akshay started dating Shetty's friend and fellow actress, Twinkle Khanna. Thereafter, she was subjected to the rumors of her affair with director Anubhav Sinha, which she quashed later. Presently, she is alleged to be dating London-based NRI Raj Kundra. Shetty has said that she plans to marry in three years.
Though her native language is Tulu, Shetty can speak a number of other languages. These include English, Tamil, Kannada, Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati, Telugu, Urdu and basic French, which she speaks with varying levels of fluency. One of her nicknames is "Silly Pooh". Shilpa Shetty is a trained Bharatanatyam dancer and also has a black belt in Karate. She lives in Mumbai with her parents and younger sister Shamita Shetty - a budding Bollywood actress.
1998 - Bollywood Movie Award - Best Supporting Actress for Pardesi Babu
2004 - Giant International Award for Phir Milenge
2005 - AAHOA Award for Phir Milenge
2005 - Indian "Diva of the Year" by SaharaOne Television viewers
2007 - IIFA Special Award for Global Impact.
2007 - Silver Star Award for her outstanding contribution to humanitarian causes
2007 - Rajiv Gandhi National Quality Award
2008 - Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role - Female for Life in a...Metro
1994 - Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for Baazigar
2001 - IIFA Best Actress Award for Dhadkan
2003 - Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for Rishtey
2003 - Star Screen Award Best Comedian for Rishtey
2005 - Star Screen Award Best Actress for Phir Milenge
2005 - Filmfare Best Actress Award for Phir Milenge
2005 - Zee Cine Award Best Actor- Female for Phir Milenge
2005 - IIFA Best Actress Award for Phir Milenge
2005 - Bollywood Movie Award - Best Actress for Phir Milenge
1993 - Baazigar
1994 - Aao Pyaar Karen, Main Khiladi Tu Anari, Aag
1995 - Hathkadi, Mr. Romeo
1996 - Chhote Sarkar, Himmat, Sahasa Veerudu Sagara Kanya (Telugu)
1997 - Dus (Incomplete), Gambler, Prithvi, Insaaf, Zameer: The Awakening of a Soul, Auzaar, Veedeva Dani Babu (Telugu)
1998 - Pardesi Babu, 1998 Aakrosh
1999 - Jaanwar, Shool (Special appearance), Lal Baadshah
2000 - Azad Kanaka (Telugu), Dhadkan, Tarkieb, Khushi (Tamil), Jung
2001 - Indian, Bhalevadivi Basu (Telugu), Maduve Agona Baa (Kannada), Preethsod Thappa (Kannada)
2002 - Karz, Rishtey, Hathyar, Chor Machaaye Shor, Badhaai Ho Badhaai, Junoon
2003 - Ondagona Baa (Kannada), Darna Mana Hai
2004 - Phir Milenge, Garv: Pride and Honour
2005 - Dus, Fareb, Khamosh: Khauff Ki Raat, Auto Shankar (Kannada)
2006 - Shaadi Karke Phas Gaya Yaar
2007 - Life In A...Metro, 2007 Apne, Om Shanti Om (Special Appearance)