Biography|September 30, 2012 12:19 pm

Kareena Kapoor Biography

Kareena Kapoor born on 21 September 1980 and nicknamed “Bebo”, is an Indian actress who appears in Bollywood films. During her career Kapoor has been noted for her performances in a range of film genres, from contemporary romantic dramas to comedies, period films to major Bollywood productions and less-publicised independent films.

Born into a family where her parents, Randhir Kapoor and Babita, and elder sister Karisma were actors, Kapoor faced the media spotlight at a young age but did not make her acting debut until the 2000 film Refugee. Her melodrama Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham…became India’s highest-grossing film in the overseas market in 2001, and is one of her greatest commercial successes to date. After receiving negative reviews for a series of repetitive roles, Kapoor accepted more demanding parts to avoid being typecast and was recognised by critics for displaying greater versatility as an actress. Her portrayal of a sex worker in Chameli (2004) proved to be the turning point in her career, and she was later noted for her performances in the critically acclaimed films Dev (2004) and Omkara(2006). She went on to play the lead female role in the Imtiaz Ali-directed romantic comedy Jab We Met (2007, for which she received the Filmfare Award for Best Actress) and the drama 3 Idiots (2009, the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time).

Inspired by Bollywood actresses like Nargis and Meena Kumari and her sister Karisma, Kapoor is known for her fashion style and her film roles (both of which have made her a trend-setter for young women). Her contributions to the film industry have garnered hernumerous achievements (including nine nominations and six Filmfare Awards), making her a leading actress in Hindi cinema. In addition to film acting, Kapoor is a stage performer and has launched her own clothing line (in association with retail chain Globus). Her off-screen life, including her relationship with actor Saif Ali Khan, is the subject of widespread media coverage in India.

Born in Mumbai, India, on 21 September 1980 into the Kapoor film family, Kapoor is the younger daughter of actors Randhir Kapoor and Babita (née Shivdasani) her elder sister Karisma is also an actress. Often informally referred to as Bebo, she is the granddaughter of actor and filmmaker Raj Kapoor and niece of actor Rishi Kapoor. According to Kapoor, the name “Kareena” was derived from the book Anna Karenina, which her mother read while she was pregnant with her. She is of Punjabi descent on her father’s side, and on her mother’s side she is Sindhi.

As a child she had strong aspirations to become an actress, and was particularly inspired by the films of Bollywood actresses Nargis and Meena Kumari. Kapoor, who describes herself as a “very naughty [and] spoilt child”, would regularly dress up in her mother’s clothes and perform in front of the mirror. Despite her family background, her father disapproved of women entering the acting profession because he believed it conflicted with the traditional maternal duties and responsibility of women in the family. This led to a conflict between her parents, and resulted in Kapoor’s mother leaving with her daughters.

After her parents’ separation she was raised in Lokhandwala by her mother, who worked at several jobs to support her daughters until Karisma debuted as an actress in 1991. In an interview with Vir Sanghvi, Kapoor said that growing up in a household filled with women helped her become strong and independent. Following her parents’ reconciliation in October 2007, Kapoor explained that they “were never officially divorced … [but] … liv[ed] separately.” Asked about her relationship with her father, Kapoor remarked “My father is … an important factor in my life. [Although we did not see him often in our initial years, we are a family now”.

Kapoor attended Jamnabai Narsee School in Mumbai, followed by Welham Girls School (a boarding school) in Dehradun. She later recalled, “I learnt so much from being at Welham” and described her experience there as “one of the finest parts of my life”. According to Kapoor, she was a good student and received first-class honours in all subjects except mathematics. After graduating from Welham she studied commerce for two years at Mithibai College in Vile Parle (Mumbai), but later confessed that she only studied there because it was close to her family.

Kapoor then registered for a three-month summer course in microcomputers at Harvard University in the United States. She later developed an interest in law, and enrolled at the Government Law College in Churchgate; during this period, she became immersed in law books and developed a long-lasting passion for reading.[10] However, after completing one year at Churchgate Kapoor decided to return to her initial plan to become an actress. She began training at an acting institute in Andheri mentored by Kishore Namit Kapoor, a member of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).

During her years in the film industry, Kapoor has been involved with humanitarian causes. In November 2003 she performed at the Marco Ricci Each One Reach One Benefit Concert, a fundraiser for the World Youth Peace Summit. In 2005, she and other Bollywood stars participated in the HELP! Telethon Concert to raise money for victims of the2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. Later that year, she visited the desert heartland of Rajasthan to boost morale of jawan (infantry) troops in a special Holi weekend episode of the NDTV show, Jai Jawan. The programme consists of entertainers who visit Indian troops in isolated regions (with an NDTV crew). During her 2010 appearance in the NDTV Greenathon, Kapoor adopted the village of Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh to provide it with electricity. While there, she also raised awareness of the need for a greener environmental future.

Several months later Kapoor participated in UNESCO and FIFA’s international campaign, 1GOAL Education for All. The project consisted of a group of individuals raising public awareness and involvement in education for children. On joining the project, she said “Education is a way to emancipation. It is not just freedom from poverty but also from hopelessness. Countries in Southeast Asia have a high level of poverty […] and we should do something to help erase this. I would like to contribute in some way or other to help spread this awareness”. In March 2011 Kapoor was appointed ambassador for the Shakti Campaign, a project launched by the NDTV television network to combat violence against women in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

Kapoor has gained a reputation for frankness in discussing her public and private life with the press. As a child she regularly attended award ceremonies and events with her mother and sister, and would also accompany Karisma on-set during filming. In an interview with Filmfare, she explained that growing up in a film family helped her develop a sense of professionalism and dedication towards her craft. Kapoor’s private life has been the subject of media attention in India, with press coverage of her relationship with actor Saif Ali Khan. The couple—dubbed “Saifeena” by the entertainment media—has been one of the country’s most-reported celebrity stories since 2007.

As one of her most distinctive physical features, Kapoor’s lips have been identified by the Indian media as her trademark. Her personality has been open to debate and criticism. While a segment of the press has described her as friendly and extremely close to her family, others have described her as arrogant and vain—an image she gained in the wake of her superficial character, Poo, in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… (2001). She subsequently featured in films portraying similar characters, and this further established her off- and on-screen personae. Before the release of Chameli (2004) (in which she played a sex worker), Kapoor stated that “there is a certain image that people identify you with [and] [i]t always follows you whichever role you play. I am trying to transgress this image and become more screen-friendly than image-friendly”. Chameli helped Kapoor reinvent her on-screen persona, and she later explained that her honesty and openness was often perceived by the media as arrogance.

Kapoor is also known for an assertive and moody nature. In an early interview, she confessed to being “a hypersensitive [and] emotional girl” who is “nothing without [her] family”. She describes herself as an “introvert, yet […] extremely candid and blunt”, reasoning: “Total faith and complete belief in myself is my attitude towards life, films and virtually everything else. I am all about doing what I feel is right. It is not easy to pin me down as I can be a bundle of contradictions”. When asked about the comparison with her sister, Kapoor explained that they were “poles apart” and credited her mother for allowing them to be themselves. In an article discussing the careers of Indian women in various fields, the magazine Verve mentioned Kapoor’s outspoken views and assertive nature as making major contributions to her career; they “add[ed] to her superstar aura.”

Today, Kapoor is considered as one of the most popular Bollywood celebrities in India. Her look and performances have established her as a style icon for young women. In a 2009 poll conducted by the newspaper Daily News and Analysis Kapoor was voted one of India’s most popular icons; with her partner Saif Ali Khan, she was listed amongst the top celebrity endorsers for brands and products worldwide. She became the only Indian actress to be featured on CNNGo’s list of “Who Mattered Most in India”, and was later selected by Verve for its list of the country’s most powerful women from 2008 to 2010. Kapoor placed eighth in Filmfare Magazine’s annual “power list” (her second consecutive appearance; the previous year, she placed tenth). In June 2010 Kapoor was described as “India’s Most Beautiful Woman” by People, whilst UK magazine Eastern Eye named her “Asia’s Sexiest Woman” in 2011.

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