Call her Ms.
Kapoor. Call her by her nickname, Lolo (which means "sweet"
in Sindhi, her mother's first language). But if you meet her,
whatever you do, DON'T call her Karishma!
right: the popular pronunciation of Karisma's name -- arising,
no doubt, from the Urdu word 'karishma,' meaning 'miracle' --
is wrong. It's Kar-IZ-ma, as in 'charisma,' and she apparently
does mind the difference, since she often sets her interviewers
is the daughter of one of India's great acting dynasties, but
unlike her sister Kareena, who shot to instant fame with her 2000
debut, Karisma has worked for over a decade to achieve her current
popularity. Such longevity is remarkable in an industry where
most actresses fade away at age thirty. But then, Karisma started
working when she was fifteen -- thirty is still three years away.
Rumors of that other death-knell for a
heroine's career -- marriage -- have run rampant since she began
a relationship with Abhishek Bachchan, a fellow child of acting
royalty. But in a January 2002 interview with Filmfare,
Karisma denied any plans to tie the knot: "When the time
is right, I'll surely get married. Right now, my career's doing
fine. I have age on my side. So what's the hurry? Let me enjoy
a few more years of acting." (Good thing that Liz Taylor
wasn't a Bollywood actress!) And indeed, despite the official
announcement of the couple's engagement a few months later, Karisma
kept her word to Filmfare, breaking off the plans to marry in
January 2003. According to Planet Bollywood, "the last nail
on the coffin of this relationship was [Abhishek's mother] Jaya
Bachchans influence on Karisma. 'Babita´s self made
daughter,' Karisma had stopped wearing western outfits and also
doing ´item numbers´ to respect Bachchan family´s
traditional views. Karisma´s closeness to [her mother] Babita
and her rather submissive nature compared to sister Kareena are
also obvious. All the reasons cited above and also the Bachchan
family´s reservation to a court marriage led to Babita prevailing
over Karisma and calling off the engagement. " (Planet
Bollywood, Jan. 15, 2003)
This isn't the first time Karisma has
faced the marriage gossip. Back in the mid-nineties, a serious
relationship with Ajay Devgan also sparked speculation. When the
romance ended, Devgan moved on to his future wife, fellow actress
Kajol -- and thus arose one of filmdom's favorite tales.
the summer of 1995, when the breakup was still fresh, the former
lovers found themselves at the same hotel -- in adjoining rooms,
no less! -- at the Chola Sheraton in Chennai. The director and
producer of Hulchul, the film Devgan was working on, decided to
pay him a visit. But reception gave them the wrong room number.
They called up to announce their arrival, but when a woman answered
the phone, hung up in confusion. Kajol was home in Mumbai, sick,
so who was this?
But perhaps they were wrong; perhaps Kajol,
hearing of Karisma's proximity to Ajay, had decided to join him.
Calling back, they inquired of the female, "Kajol?"
Karisma's mother, Babita, was not amused,
and abrasively informed them that they had reached the room of
Karisma Kapoor. Babita then concluded that Ajay had put the two
up to a nasty game to humiliate Karisma. The producer and director,
worried they'd inadvertantly created trouble, called back to apologize
and explain the receptionist's error. Karisma answered the phone,
and, reading guilt into their apology, gave them a tongue lashing
that tied up gossip columns for several weeks after. (this anecdote
For a long time, Karisma also had
a serious grudge against Raveena Tandon sparked by her former
flame Ajay's dislike of the actress. Raveena alleges that the
actress pulled strings to have her ousted from several films.
(For more, see Raveena's
bio.) This seems to have passed, though the actresses have
not worked together.
Karisma has seemed the very model of tactful restraint, though
her irrepressible sister has allegedly dragged her into several
feuds. Thanks to Kareena's rift with Bobby Deol, the two childhood
friends supposedly no longer speak, and several gossip columnists
have reported Karisma's cold reception of Amisha Patel -- her
sister's archrival -- at a recent party to mark the start of their
While Karisma made her name in "glamor"
roles that placed the emphasis on dance items and short hemlines,
her recent performances in more artistic fare like 2000's Fiza
and 2001's Zubeidaa marked a new phase in her career. But fear
not, fellows: though now established as a skilled actress, Karisma
continues to accept roles that more prominently showcase her looks,
which, as several critics have noted, are mysteriously improving
as she ages. If dividing her attentions between commercial and
highbrow cinema means she's lost her claim to the Number One slot,
she's not worried: "See who's taken my place. My own sister.
She's become the hottest thing in town while I was away. I don't
mind giving up my position as long as it's still in the family.
But I always tell Kareena not to take all this seriously. It's
so frivolous. My advice to her is to just concentrate on her career."
(Filmfare, Jan 2002)
born: June 25, 1974
height: 5' 4"
1990 Danga Fasad
1991 Prem Qaidi
1991 Coolie No. 1
1992 Police Officers
1992 Sapne Sajan Ke
1994 Andaz Apna Apna*
1994 Gopi Kishan
1994 Prem Shakti
1994 Raja Babu
1994 Yeh Dillagi
1996 Bal Brahmachari
1996 Papi Gudiya
1996 Raja Hindustani*
1996 Saajan Chale Sasural
1997 Dil To Pagal Hai*
1997 Hero No. 1
1997 Lahu Ke Do Rang
1999 Biwi No. 1*
1999 Haseena Maan Jaayegi
1999 Hum Saath Saath Hain
1999 Silsila Hai Pyaar Ka
2000 Chal Mere Bhai
2000 Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge
2000 Hum To Mohabbat Karega
2001 Ek Rishtaa*
2002 Haan Maine Bhi Pyaar Kiya
2003 Baaz - A Bird in Danger
* acclaimed performance