Amisha Patel Biography 1975-
Amisha Patel was born June 9, 1975, in Bombay, India. The granddaughter of Indian freedom fighter Rajni Patel, Amisha was an outstanding student who excelled at John Connon High School in Bombay before heading overseas to study economics at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Although the setting may have been different, the results were the same and Amisha graduated from the school with distinction in 1997. Amisha’s outstanding qualifications made finding a job a cinch and she briefly worked at Morgan Stanley, one of the world’s largest investment banks, before heading back home to India.
Upon arriving home, Amisha decided to explore her creative side and joined a local theater troupe. Although she clearly enjoyed acting, she never considered making a career of it until a fateful day in 2000, when she was approached by a family friend and prominent Bollywood producer, Rakesh Roshan. Roshan was in the process of creating a film to introduce his son, Hrithik, to the industry and he asked Amisha if she would be interested in playing the heroine. Amisha happily agreed and Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai, as the film was known, became a smash hit.
“KNPH, for me, was a complete learning experience, a growth platform,” she reflects. “I grew everyday, learned new things. I was completely raw to start with, but I soon learned how the film industry functions. For me it was like being back in school.” It helped that Roshan also directed the film, hence easing Amisha’s transition onto the big screen. “He was very disciplined, very efficient, always finishing ahead of schedule, and always extracting the best out of you,” she recalls. “He was like a director on the sets and an uncle off it.”
Amisha proved she was more than just a one-hit wonder through the next two years when she starred in a succession of popular films including Badri, Yeh Zindagi Ka Safar, Kranti, Kya Yehi Pyaar Hai and Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, a moving romance about a Sikh truck driver who falls in love with a wealthy Muslim girl. If Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai had put Amisha on the map, Gadar helped solidify her reputation as a bona fide star. “Suddenly, after Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, I was the new No. 1,” she says. “This really shocked me.”
Luckily, Amisha Patel managed to maintain her star status thanks to stunning performances in Yeh Hai Jalwa and Humraaz, an upbeat musical in which she showed off her acting chops as a member of a rock and roll band. “They portrayed me in a way that no one else had,” she says of the popular film. “For me, Humraaz will always be special because it’s the first time I’ve played a character with shades of gray.”
After appearing in a series of disappointing box office flops, Amisha Patel returned to the big screen with a flourish in 2007, in Bhool Bhulaiyaa. The entertaining comedy, which was directed by Priyadarshan and co-starred Akshay Kumar, proved to be a hit with fans, and it returned Amisha to the top of her profession. “It has been a process of growth for me,” she says. “When I came into the industry, I had no one to advise me. I was a babe in the woods who wanted to try her hand at everything. Now I know the kind of people I want to work with.”
Look for Amisha in Happy Birthday, a musical directed by Sriram Raghavan.