Sonam Kapoor Ahuja (born 9 June 1985) is an Indian actress who works in Hindi cinema (Bollywood). She has won a National Film Award and a Filmfare Award, and from 2012–2016, she appeared in Forbes India’s Celebrity 100 list based on her income and popularity.

Sonam, the daughter of actor Anil Kapoor, began her career as an Assistant Director on filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s 2005 highly acclaimed drama Black. She later made her acting debut in Bhansali’s romantic drama Saawariya (2007), a box office flop, and had her first commercial successes with the romantic comedy I Hate Luv Storys (2010) and the ensemble romantic comedy-drama Aisha (2010). However, this was followed by a series of commercial failures and repetitive roles, which garnered her negative reviews. The 2013 box office hit Raanjhanaa marked a turning point in her career, garnering her praise and Best Actress nominations at several award ceremonies. She had her biggest commercial successes with supporting roles in the biopics Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013) and Sanju (2018), and a leading role in the romance Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015); the latter two rank among the highest-grossing Bollywood films. Her highly acclaimed portrayal of Neerja Bhanot in the 2016 biographical thriller Neerja won her the National Film Award — Special Mention and a Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress, and she followed it with a starring role in the 2018 female buddy film Veere Di Wedding, both of which rank among the highest-grossing female-led Hindi films.

During the production of Black, Sonam developed an interest in acting when Bhansali professed that he wanted to cast her in the lead in his next film, Saawariya. She was advised to lose weight; at the time, she weighed about 80 kilograms (180 lb). Motivated by Bhansali’s confidence in her, she lost 35 kilograms (77 lb) in two years. Kapoor studied acting with Roshan Taneja, Jayati Bhatia and Feroz Abbas Khan, and has cited actresses Waheeda Rehman and Nutan as influences, admiring their “path-breaking films … [and] quality of doing different things”.

Released in 2007, Saawariya saw Kapoor play a Muslim woman awaiting the return of her lover opposite Mukerji, Ranbir Kapoor and Salman Khan. It was the first Indian feature film produced by a Hollywood studio, Sony Pictures Entertainment. Saawariya proved to be a major critical and commercial failure. Writing for BBC, Jaspreet Pandohar called the film a “misfire-on-a-massive-scale”. Raja Sen of Rediff.com described her laugh as “almost as infectious as her father’s”, but wished that she had been “allowed to simper softly, instead of having a clearly overdubbed plastic giggle plastered onto her.” The film earned her a Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut nomination and the Stardust Award for Superstar of Tomorrow — Female.

In 2009, Sonam played an aspiring singer opposite Waheeda Rehman and Abhishek Bachchan in the Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra-directed social drama Delhi-6. The film received mixed reviews from critics and was a box-office failure. CNN-IBN’s Rajeev Masand referred to Kapoor as a “revelation”, writing that she was “a firecracker, instinctive and uninhibited in what isn’t even a conventional female lead”. Sonia Chopra of Sify described Kapoor as an “earnest and effortless performer”, and found her character likeable, despite the “typical Delhi-girl recipe”.

Her first release in 2010 was Punit Malhotra’s romantic comedy I Hate Luv Storys, opposite Imran Khan. She played an engaged woman who develops a one-sided attraction to her commitment-phobic co-worker. Khan said about Kapoor’s craft, “We’d be shooting a scene from multiple angles — for three or four hours you’re doing the same scene, the same lines — and here is this person [Kapoor] who brings consistency to her work, from the way she talks, to her accent.” Although Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express called Kapoor’s performance “stiff and rehearsed”, Daily News and Analysis’ Johnson Thomas found her “likeable and believable”. I Hate Luv Storys was Kapoor’s first commercial success, earning ₹725.2 million (US$10 million) worldwide.

Sonam next played the eponymous role in Aisha, an ensemble romantic comedy-drama based on Jane Austen’s novel Emma, which was produced by her sister Rhea. She described her character as “a meddlesome busybody with a passion for matchmaking and playing Cupid”. Aisha also starred Abhay Deol, Ira Dubey, Cyrus Sahukar, Amrita Puri, Anand Tiwari, Arunoday Singh and Lisa Haydon. An Indo-Asian News Service reviewer thought that Kapoor had stood out in the ensemble with her performance, making “the best of a rather rare opportunity for an Indian leading lady to be part of a Bollywood film that salutes Victorian mores and Delhi’s elitist affectations in one clean cool sweep”.

In 2011, Kapoor starred in Thank You, a comedy about three women who teach a lesson to their philandering husbands. The film, along with Kapoor’s performance, received poor reviews; Nikhat Kazmi of The Times of India called her “terribly out of sync”. She then played the romantic interest of Shahid Kapoor in the Pankaj Kapur-directed romantic drama, Mausam, which was also poorly received. Despite doubts about her acting ability, critic Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV thought Kapoor conveyed “the essential vulnerability of a girl forever under duress, bringing out just the right mix of feminine fragility and native resolve”. The following year, Kapoor played a computer hacker opposite Abhishek Bachchan, Neil Nitin Mukesh and Bipasha Basu in the Abbas–Mustan-directed heist film, Players, a remake of 2003’s The Italian Job.

Establishing with Raanjhanaa (2013–2015)

Sonam Kapoor’s role in the Anand L. Rai-directed romantic drama Raanjhanaa (2013) marked a turning point in her career; Geety Sahgal called it her best performance to date in The Indian Express. Kapoor’s role was that of Zoya Haider, a young Muslim student from Varanasi who is drawn into politics after the murder of her Sikh lover. To prepare for her part, Kapoor interacted with students, attended workshops and practised with theatre groups associated with Jawaharlal Nehru University. She also studied Jaya Bachchan’s work in Guddi (1971), which she felt was “perfect” for her role. Discussing her character in the film, Kapoor described her approach to acting: “I have always tried to do different films and … I try to be different for every character. I like doing different things to challenge myself in every way and don’t like to repeat myself.” Although Raanjhanaa received mixed-to-positive reviews, her performance was praised; Rajeev Masand wrote that she “does some of her best work here, going smoothly from innocent to manipulative to cynical, without ever losing Zoya’s inherent vulnerability”. With worldwide earnings of over ₹1 billion (US$14 million), Raanjhanaa was a commercial success and Kapoor received her first nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress.

Sonam Kapoor is now married and is now known as Sonam Kapoor Ahuja. She continues to rule the Indian fashion firmament as one of Bollywood’s most stylish Diva. She has more than 31 million followers on Instagram.

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By- Pallab Bose & Sadaf Sharma

Credits- Instagram, Facebook, Wikipedia, Google

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