Lara Dutta

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Lara Dutta
Dutta at an event to promote Kellogg’s Special K (cropped).jpg
Dutta at an event for Kellogg's Special K.
Born (1978-04-16) 16 April 1978 (age 43)[1]
EducationThe Frank Anthony Public School, Bangalore[3]
Alma materUniversity of Mumbai,[3]
Maharashtra, India
Occupation
Years active1995-present
TitleGladrags Megamodel India 1995
(Winner)
Miss Intercontinental 1997
(Winner)
Femina Miss India 2000
(Winner)
Miss Universe 2000
(Winner)
Spouse(s)
(m. 2011)
Children1
AwardsFull list

Lara Dutta (born 16 April 1978[1]) is an Indian actress, entrepreneur and the winner of the Miss Universe 2000 pageant. She was previously crowned as Miss Intercontinental 1997. In her career, she has primarily worked in Hindi films. She is the recipient of several accolades including a Filmfare Award. She established herself as one of the prominent leading lady of 2000s.

Dutta made her debut with Andaaz (2003), which won her a Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut. She appeared in several commercial successes, including Masti (2004), No Entry (2005), Bhagam Bhag (2006), Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (2007), Partner (2007), Housefull (2010), Chalo Dilli (2011), Don 2 (2011) and Singh Is Bliing (2015). She recently received critical acclaim for her role of Indira Gandhi in Bell Bottom.

Early life and education[edit]

Dutta was born to a Punjabi Hindu father and an Anglo-Indian mother in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.[4] Her father is Wing Commander L.K. Dutta (retired) and her mother is Jennifer Dutta. Her elder sister Sabrina and her younger sister Cheryl have served in the Indian Air Force.[5][6] Nitin Sawhney, who is a music composer and DJ is Dutta's cousin.[7]

The Dutta family moved to Bangalore in 1981 where she completed high school from St. Francis Xavier Girls' High School and the Frank Anthony Public School. She graduated with a degree in economics and a minor in communications from the University of Mumbai. She is fluent in English and Hindi and can also speak Punjabi and Kannada.[3]

Pageantry[edit]

Dutta won the annual Gladrags Megamodel India competition in 1995,[8][9] thus winning the right to enter the 1997 Miss Intercontinental Pageant. She was later crowned Miss Intercontinental 1997.[10] In the year 2000, she took part in the Femina Miss India contest. In the grand finale, all her fellow Top 5 delegates were asked the same question – "If you were a police officer in the Garden of Eden, who would you punish for the original sin: Adam, Eve, or the serpent?” Dutta replied by stating:

If I was a policeman in the garden of Eden, I would take all three of them to court. Every person in life is faced with temptation, but you must be able to decide for yourself, make your own choices, and live by your own rules. Above all, fear God, because he is everywhere.[11]

After this round, it was revealed that the scores of some contestants in the Top 5 had tied.[12] All the delegates were subsequently asked a common question, so as to break the tie – "If ignorance is bliss, why do we seek knowledge?” to which Dutta expressed:

Knowledge is something every man is endowed with and it is up to him to make use of it. Thirst for knowledge drives every man. They say every man dies but very few men really lived. And what is life without knowledge. Would you go through life without passing something on to your children?[12]

At the end of the event, she won the first place and the title of Femina Miss India Universe, earning the right to represent India at the 49th edition of Miss Universe.[13][14]

Miss Universe[edit]

At Miss Universe 2000 in Cyprus, she achieved the highest score in the swimsuit competition and her finalist interview score was the highest individual score in any category in the history of the Miss Universe contest, as her interview saw a majority of the judges giving her the maximum 9.99 marks.[15]

During the final question and answer round, the top 3 contestants were each asked the same question by the host, Sinbad: "Right now, there is a protest that has been staged outside the stadium posing pageants as an affront to women. Convince them that they are wrong". To which Dutta replied:

Pageants like Miss Universe gives us young women a platform to foray into the fields that we want to and forge ahead, be it entrepreneurship, be it the armed forces, be it politics. It gives us a platform to voice our choices and opinions, and makes us strong and independent that we are today.[16]

At the end of the event, Dutta was crowned as Miss Universe 2000, by the outgoing titleholder Mpule Kwelagobe of Botswana. Dutta's win led to her appointment as a UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador in 2001.[17] In the same year, Priyanka Chopra and Dia Mirza won their respective Miss World and Miss Asia Pacific titles which gave India a rare triple victory in the world of beauty pageants.[18] During her reign as Miss Universe, she visited 42 countries.[15][19]

Dutta was also elected 'Miss Grand Slam 2000' by the pageant portal, Global Beauties besting all the delegates from the Grand Slam beauty pageants of the year 2000. She is the first beauty pageant winner from India to win this title.[20] She is the second woman from India to be crowned Miss Universe, and has been the only delegate from India to win the crown since. She received the highest score in the swimsuit competition and her finale interview score is the highest individual score in any category in the history of the Miss Universe contest.[21]

She has been a UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador since 2001, shortly after her Miss Universe win. Dutta stated, "Celebrities with the power to affect their impressionable minds therefore have a moral responsibility to impart positive messages. I am committed to using any influence I may have to do just that as a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)".[22]

Acting career[edit]

Early works (2001–2004)[edit]

She signed up for the Tamil film, Arasatchi in 2002, but due to financial problems, it was only released in mid-2004. She made her Hindi debut in 2003 with the film Andaaz which was a box office success and won her a Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut. However, In the film, Dutta's voice was dubbed by Mona Shetty as the filmmakers wanted two distinct characters for the female leads and they needed Kajal, Dutta's character, to have a high-pitched voice.[23] At the beginning of 2004, Dutta made a cameo appearance in Khakee in the song "Aisa Jadoo", which went on to become a chartbuster upon release . She then went on to appear in Bardaasht, which failed to do well at the box office. Her next release Aan: Men at Work was also a flop in India. Insan, Elaan and Jurm also ended up failing to do well at the box office. She later appeared in Masti which did well at the box office.

Lara Dutta revealed in an interview that she was offered a role in The Matrix franchise but turned down the offer due to her mother's illness at the time.[24]

Before making her debut in movies, Dutta made an appearance in the music video of singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya's song titled ''Tu Chalu Hai Re''.

Initial success (2005–2010)[edit]

In 2005, Dutta appeared in Kaal, which was a moderate success at the box office. Dutta then appeared in No Entry opposite actors Anil Kapoor, Salman Khan, Fardeen Khan, Bipasha Basu, Esha Deol and Celina Jaitley, which went on to become the biggest hit of the year. She next appeared in Dosti: Friends Forever which was only an average grosser in India but became the biggest hit of the year in overseas markets. Dutta along with Sania Mirza participated in Kaun Banega Crorepati (season 2) as celebrity guests, on 13 November 2005.[25]

Lara Dutta modeling in 2005

In 2006, Lara Dutta appeared a cameo in Yash Raj Films's Fanaa in a scene that featured both leads Aamir Khan and Kajol. Dutta stated in an interview that she agreed to feature in Fanaa as she had previously turned down a cameo in Yash Raj's Hum Tum (2004).[26]

In December 2006, Dutta played Munni, a lady with suicidal tendencies alongside Akshay Kumar in Bhagam Bhag, which was one of the biggest hits of the year, as it collected over 400 million (US$5.3 million) in India alone. Her first release of 2007 was Shaad Ali's Jhoom Barabar Jhoom. in which Dutta played a double-role, of Anaida and Laila, both love interest of Rikki Thukral (played by the film's main lead Abhishek Bachchan). The film was an underwhelming success at the domestic box office but did well overseas, especially in the United Kingdom.[27] Dutta received praise for her performance in the film.[28]

Her next release, Partner where she starred opposite Salman Khan was a blockbuster in India and became the third biggest grosser of the year.[29] Dutta made a special appearance in Om Shanti Om. Dutta also presented a documentary film titled 'Sold: An MTV EXIT Special by Charmaine Choo' which followed the tragedy of trafficking in South Asia where thousand of young girls and boys are sold into modern-day slavery.[30]

In 2008, Dutta lent her voice for the animated film, Jumbo. However, the film failed to do well at the box office. She made a special appearance in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi in the song "Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte" where she paid tribute to Helen, colorfully dressed, with jewels and feathers in a high hair bun. The underlying tune is "O Haseena Zulfon Wale Jaan-e-Jahaan" from the 1966 film Teesri Manzil.

Her 2009 release, Blue, was one of the most expensive movies of Indian cinema. Dutta had initially walked away from the project because the movie was entirely shot in the ocean and she didn't know swimming. However the male protagonist, Akshay Kumar encouraged her in learning how to swim and she immediately started training with a special coach. Blue was released on 16 October 2009.[31] She stated that "The moment I got to know of it, I called Akshay and told him that I wouldn't be able to accept the assignment. He knew the reason behind my decision. Not many people are aware that I had almost drowned while shooting for Andaaz, Akshay had rescued me. When I reminded him I couldn't swim, he told me to forget my phobia and learn swimming pronto," said Dutta. "Today, I feel Blue has not merely made me overcome my phobias, but has also taught me something that will stay with me for the rest of my life".[31] Despite a promising opening, the film failed to do well at the box office.

She also appeared in Do Knot Disturb, which took a good start at the box office, however dropped in the coming days and failed to do well. Her 2010 release Housefull was a major commercial success across India. She starred opposite Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone, Arjun Rampal, Jiah Khan and Riteish Deshmukh. It was the fifth biggest hit in the country at that time as it collected 1.14 billion (US$15 million) at the box office.[32]

Recent work (2011–present)[edit]

Lara Dutta walks for Birdhichand Ghanshyamdas Jewellery in 2013

In 2011, her first movie as a producer, Chalo Dilli was released. The film was a moderate success, as it was made on a modest budget of 50 million (US$660,000). Moreover, the film and Dutta's performance was praised by critics.[33] She did an item number in the song "Zara Dil Ko Thaam Lo" alongside Shah Rukh Khan in addition to an extended special appearance in Don 2 and the film was a major success, especially Lara's item number. [34]

Following her post-pregnancy break from Hindi cinema, Dutta signed a movie titled David. Filming started by August 2012.[35] The film released on 1 February 2013 and received mixed reviews. She signed a No Entry sequel titled No Entry Mein Entry.

In 2015, she starred in Singh Is Bliing. The film was a financial success, grossing over 1.16 billion worldwide.[36][37] Her comic timing in the film was praised by critics[38] She played the role of Leena Becker in the film Fitoor, released in 2016.[39] She played a crucial supporting role in the sports drama film Azhar[40] In 2018, she appeared in the film Welcome to New York.[41]

In June 2019, Dutta appeared in the ITV 6-part drama, Beecham House where she played the role of Begum Samru.[42]

In 2021, Dutta played the role the of the former Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi in the spy film Bell Bottom along with Akshay Kumar, Vaani Kapoor and Huma Qureshi. The film opened to mixed-to-negative reviews from critics, but Dutta's performance and transformation for the role received high critical acclaim .[43]

Talk show appearances[edit]

In 2006, Lara Dutta made an appearance in the show Rendezvous with Simi Garewal hosted by actress Simi Garewal. Dutta has made three appearances in Koffee with Karan hosted by film producer and director Karan Johar. She first made her appearances in the first season alongside Bipasha Basu and second season with Katrina Kaif. Her last appearance on the show till date was in 2010 alongside her husband Mahesh.

Lara Dutta also made an appearance in the season 1 finale of 10 Ka Dum hosted by Salman Khan alongside fellow actress Rani Mukerji.[44]

Other work[edit]

Lara Dutta has hosted the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards 5 times. She first hosted the 3rd IIFA Awards in 2002 and subsequently the 7th IIFA Awards with Fardeen Khan in 2006, 8th IIFA Awards with Boman Irani in 2007 and the 10th IIFA Awards and 11th IIFA Awards in 2009 and 2010, respectively. The last two times she co-hosted with both Boman Irani and Riteish Deshmukh.

She was featured as a talent judge for the reality show High Fever.[45] Dutta was also appointed as a UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador in 2001.[46]

Lara Dutta is active in yoga, and offers a number of videos on YouTube,[47] particularly for pre-natal yoga. During her pregnancy in 2012, she launched her own DVD which consisted of prenatal routines and meditation techniques.[48][49]

Dutta launches her Prenatal Yoga DVD

In 2017 Lara Dutta began mentoring contestants of the Miss Diva contest. She stated "It's exciting to be a part of this journey in finding the perfect representative who is the Indian face of beauty, who possesses elegance, confidence, poise and intelligence. This journey has always been close to my heart and I hope this season is the one that brings us that exceptional girl who will bring the Miss Universe crown back to India".[50]

In 2019, Lara Dutta launched her own line of beauty care products named Arias, which is a vegetarian beauty line. The brand is a culmination of her own experiences as an actor, model and mother.[51][52]

Public image[edit]

Dutta has often been regarded as one of the most stylish and socially conscious actresses in Bollywood. Her modelling background opened up opportunities to play not only glamorous roles but also character driven roles in movies like Billu.[53] She is also known for her eloquent speaking skills.[54]

Dutta has also been a very vocal supporter of the Me Too movement in India. Dutta stated that "I think it is about time. It is fantastic as I feel the difference today is that women are standing up for women. I think that comes from a generation shift. The older generation was largely taught that women should be quiet and don't speak up; that they don't come to the forefront because they should be homemakers. Women today still do all of that. We always manage the home, take care of family, we are still the troubleshooters, we wear multiple hats in a day, we juggle a million works, and we don't let any of them drop. But now this generation of women have become more vocal, and they are empowering each other, which is a much better situation. I cannot stress enough about how essential it is to have a sisterhood, to support other women that are speaking up. Be unafraid and be unapologetic about the stand that you take, especially against male entitlement."[55]

Personal life[edit]

Lara Dutta had a nine-year relationship with actor and model Kelly Dorji.[56] She then briefly dated American professional baseball player Derek Jeter.[57][58]

In September 2010, she got engaged to Indian tennis player, Mahesh Bhupathi.[59][60] They married on 16 February 2011 in a civil ceremony in Bandra[61] and followed it with a ceremony on 20 February 2011 at Sunset Point in Goa.[62] On 1 August 2011, Dutta confirmed that she was pregnant with their first child.[63] Their daughter Saira Bhupathi was born on 20 January 2012.[64]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
2003 Andaaz Kajal
Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut
Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost Kesar
2004 Khakee Special appearance in the song "Aisa Jado"
Masti Monica Mehta
Bardaasht Advocate Payal
Arasatchi Lara Tamil film
Aan: Men at Work Kiran
2005 Insan Meghna
Elaan Sonia
Jurm Sanjana Malhotra
Kaal Ishika
No Entry Kaajal
Dosti: Friends Forever Kajal Sharma
2006 Zinda Jenny Singh
Alag Cameo appearance in the song "Sabse Alag"
Bhagam Bhag Munni/Nisha/Aditi
Fanaa Zeenat Cameo appearance
2007 Jhoom Barabar Jhoom Anaida Raza/Laila
Partner Naina
Om Shanti Om Herself Cameo appearance in the song "Deewangi Deewangi"
2008 Jumbo Sonia (voice)
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi Herself Cameo appearance in the song "Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte"
2009 Billu Bindiya
Do Knot Disturb Dolly
Blue Mona
2010 Housefull Hetal Patel
2011 Chalo Dilli Mihika Banerjee Also Producer
Don 2 Ayesha
2013 David Neelam
David Gayathri Tamil film
2015 Singh Is Bliing Emily
2016 Fitoor Leena Becker Special appearance
Azhar Meera Verma
2018 Welcome To New York Sophia
2021 Bell Bottom Indira Gandhi [65]

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Network Notes
2019 Beecham House Begum Samru ITV
2020 Hundred ACP Saumya Shukla Hotstar

Awards and nominations[edit]

Lara Dutta awards and nominations
Totals[a]
Wins7
Nominations19
Note
  1. ^ Certain award groups do not simply award one winner. They recognize several different recipients, have runners-up, and have third place. Since this is a specific recognition and is different from losing an award, runner-up mentions are considered wins in this award tally. For simplification and to avoid errors, each award in this list has been presumed to have had a prior nomination.
Year Award Category Film Result
2004 Filmfare Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut (joint winner with Priyanka Chopra) Andaaz Won
IIFA Awards Star Debut Nominated
Star Screen Award Star Screen Award Most Promising Newcomer - Female Won
Zee Cine Awards Best Female Debut Nominated
2005 Stardust Awards Exciting New Face Khakee Won
2006 IIFA Awards Best Supporting Actress No Entry Nominated
2008 Zee Cine Awards Best Supporting Actress Jhoom Barabar Jhoom Nominated
Stardust Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Rajiv Gandhi Awards Contribution to Film Cinema Won
2009 Stardust Awards Best Actress Billu Nominated
2011 Zee Cine Awards Best Supporting Actress Housefull Nominated
Stardust Awards Best Actress in an Ensemble Cast Nominated
2012 Searchlight Awards – Best Actress Chalo Dilli Nominated
2015 BIG Star Entertainment Awards BIG Star Most Entertaining Actor in a Comedy Role – Female Singh Is Bliing Nominated
2021 Invertis University Honorary Doctorate Won

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by Miss Universe
2000
Succeeded by
Preceded by Femina Miss India
2000
Succeeded by
Preceded by
French Polynesia Timeri Baudry
Miss Intercontinental
1997
Succeeded by
Brazil Janaína Berenhauser