Karisma Kapoor is a Bollywood Icon. The actress is also a Hindi mega-star. She headed her career with the semi-hit film, Prem Qaidi (1991). After that she several times playing in flop films, but she routinely gave minimal one hit film every year since her debut in the industry. Moreover she reached the record 17 hit films that entered the list of 10 biggest-selling films for nine consecutive years (from 1992 to 1999). Her blockbuster film, Raja Hindustani (1996) became an authentication that she's not the instant actress.
Great grand daughter of Prithviraj Kapoor, Grand daughter of the showman Raj kapoor, and daughter of star parents Babita and Randhir Kapoor, this blue eyed lady was a student of Sophia College before starting her career with Prem Qaidi.
But even though she appears to have suddenly hogged the limelight, hers is not one of those storybook careers. Although she's poised to challenge the big guns as Bollywood's biggest box-office draw, she's had a long climb to the top. Despite her prestigious debut in Prem Qaidi, her film career progressed in anything but a straight line. She has spent years slogging away, lending her best to hits and croppers alike. But even when critics threw verbal tomatoes at some of the stinkers she worked in, they spared her performances. However, makers never considered her for better parts because they thought she wasn't capable enough to carry a film on her shoulders. But she never gave up hope. A child of showbiz, she knew the ups and downs. She was very aware of the essential fragility of the entire situation. She learnt to play the game: in tinsel town, even an ingenue can't be too young. And through an early starter in the stardom stakes, she achieved much more than expected, for a twenty-one year old.
What's also most notable and has played a major role in her current success is that she has set her own new standards for beauty. While still as svelte and comely as ever, her face is fuller, more womanly. Her eyes are no longer dewy, they bespeak experience. Her baby pinks and blues have been discarded for a more vibrant and funky wardrobe. Her hair looks full and alluringly frames a well made-up face. Her attitude is less spur-of-the-moment and more introspective. It's a miracle what hair, make-up and good designer clothes can do. Today, she's as different as a change from East to West, from winter to summer. She's expanded the options and grounded the future with more possibilities.
Pictures like Sapne Sajan Ke, Jagruti, Deedar, Prem Shakti and many more were a total flop at box office. RajKumar Santoshi's Andaz Apna Apna restarted her career. Anari was also a hit but from her films with Govinda directed by David Dhawan she started climbing the steps of success. Her first hit was Raja Babu followed by Coolie No.1, Saajan Chale Sasural, Jeet and Raja Hindustani which were the major hits of year 1996. Her excellent performance in Raja Hindustani nominated her for the Filmfare Awards and finally she grabbed the Best Actress Award. Her dancing numbers like Sundara Sundara..(Rakshak) and Sona Kitna Sona Hai... (Hero No.1) reveal her modern dancing skills. In Ajay she showed more traditional dance stuff like in the songs Chand Sa Chehra, Ruk Majnoo and Chanchal Chooriyan. What also pleases her no end is her highly successful collaboration with David Dhawan and Govinda. With the success of Raj Kanwar's Jeet and Dharmesh Darshan's Raja Hindustani and the immense appreciation and accolades for her work in them, she has grounded her future in films.
She has worked hard to get where she is and her mobility, change and continual reinvention of the self have been the key ingredients to success. She's focussed, full of life and energy, real achiever, independent and very strong. She certainly has the great skills, ability and intelligence as her other successful contemporaries. But what sets her apart is from her other successful contemporaries is her fierce competitive edge. She's got enough energy for a thousand people because she loves what she does. She's really enjoying herself and it shows. Coming across as very together and organised, she's quite happily managing her career well. Today her body language is smart and alluring, a charm that effortlessly overlaps more standard erotic appeal. Fans - including swarms of gushing teenagers - carry on about her as the girl they'd most like to be, have as a best friend, adopt, or marry. Producers rave about her boffo box office returns. She was the Bollywood's highest-paid actress of her time, between 1 to 2 Crore Rupees per film.
Her performances have always earned plaudits, but it has taken an earnest and mature effort in Raja Hindustani to assure her status as an actress of calibre. She was absolutely magnificient in the emotional sequence in the film where she pleads for her newborn infant, one of the best pieces of acting one has ever seen. She obviously does have a very sharp sense of pathos to add to her exquisite sense of comic timing. According to her makers, Karisma comes to an understanding of her part so effortlessly that one suspects she really is playing herself. Her recent releases (and there have been so many of them) have been the sort to inspire penetrating gazes. With her pretty looks and buoyant manner it's not hard to know what to make of a movie star whom other actors and directors repeatedly describe as 'fun to work with'.
The following year, she won the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award and the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Yash Chopra's super-hit, Dil To Pagal Hai opposite Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit.
Karisma took a year break from films in 1998. Her diminutive comeback in 1999 proved to be good as she took part in the year's most successful films. Karisma starred in four absolute hits. David Dhawan's comedy Biwi No.1 opposite Salman Khan became the biggest hit of the year. She proved to have success with comedy films, as David Dhawan's another film Haseena Maan Jaayegi did fairly well at the box office.
Karisma also collaborated for the first time with the Rajshri Productions banner with Hum Saath-Saath Hain: We Stand United which also resulted in a hit. Her last release in 1999, Jaanwar opposite Akshay Kumar, was another box office hit, making her the most successful actress of the year.
In 2000, she won her second Filmfare Best Actress Award for her performance in Khalid Mohamed's Fiza. Her performance in the film was much appreciated as she surprised the audiences and the critics showing great emotional range and depth. She also achieved critical acclaim for her role in the Cannes-reputed director Shyam Benegal's Zubeidaa (2001), which garnered her the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Performance. Her performance in Shakti - The Power (2002) was highly appreciated and earned her Best Actress in a Sensational Role at Bollywood Awards 2003.
In 2003, she played the leading role in the television series Karishma: The Miracles of Destiny. After her film, Baaz: A Bird In Danger which also released in 2003, she took a sabbatical from full time acting for three years. On 29 September 2003, she married industrialist Sanjay Kapur, CEO of Sixt India. In typical Kapoor tradition, Karisma was married at the home of her grandfather (the late Raj Kapoor): R K Cottage. The couple opted for an hour-long Sikh wedding. The couple has one daughter named Samaira, who was born on 11 March 2005.
Her most recent release was the delayed film, Mere Jeevan Saathi (2006) in which she played a negative role. Karisma also made a brief appearance in a mega song from Farah Khan's ode to the seventies, Om Shanti Om (2007) starring Shahrukh Khan.
In October 2008, alongside actor Arjun Rampal and director/choreographer Farah Khan, Karisma began judging the dance show Nach Baliye 4.
Karisma gave birth to her second child, a baby boy Kiaan Raj Kapoor on 12th March 2010.