Famed actress-turned-producer, Anushka Sharma is a name that most of us are familiar to in India. Whether one first saw her as a Wendell Rodricks’s model, or in the attire of a dance instructor teaching groovy steps to Shah Rukh Khan’s Raj in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (the most probable option), or for those who don’t follow the film and fashion world at all, in a tabloid with her then-rumoured beau Virat Kohli, there’s no denying that Anushka is someone who can make heads turn with her talents, looks and personality. And now she had morphed into a wise and brave producer, who backs bold projects.
She is one of the highest-paid actresses in Bollywood appearing in Forbes India’s Celebrity 100 since 2012. She has also been featured by Forbes Asia in their 30 Under 30 list of 2018. Anushka has also won multiple awards for her films, and she is the ambassador for multiple brands, also having designed her own line of clothing for women named Nush. Anushka has also been a vocal advocate of various causes like gender equality and animal rights. What’s more, she now expecting her first child with Indian cricketer Virat Kohli, whom she married in 2017. Here’s taking a look at Anushka’s life from being an army kid, to a celebrity, and one of the most powerful women in the Hindi film industry today.
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Anushka was born on May 1, 1988, in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. He father is an army officer, while her mother is a homemaker, she also has an older sibling. Anushka grew up in Bangalore, where she attended an army school. She later completed her Bachelor in Arts degree from Mount Carmel College in Bangalore. It’s said that she initially wanted to pursue a career in journalism or modelling, and had no aspirations to become an actress. After graduation, Anushka shifted to Mumbai to further her modelling career. She made her modelling debut in 2007 at the Lakme Fashion Week for designer Wendell Rodricks’s Les Vamps Show. She was then picked to be his finale model at the Spring Summer 2007 Collection. It was also around this time that she joined an acting school and began auditioning for film roles.
Anushka made her acting debut in Aditya Chopra’s Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008), where she starred alongside Shah Rukh Khan. The film catapulted her into fame, and she scored two Filmfare nominations as well. She was signed for a three-film deal by Yash Raj film studio and starred in the company’s other two films, namely Badmaash Company (2010) and Band Baaja Baaraat (2010). After fulfilling the terms of her contract, Anushka’s first venture not to be produced by Yash Raj Films was Patiala House (2011), a film directed by Nikhil Advani and co-starring Akshay Kumar. In the same year, she reunited with her Band Baaja Baaraat co-star Ranveer Singh for the Maneesh Sharma comedy-drama Ladies vs Ricky Bahl.
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In 2012, Anushka starred in Yash Chopra’s swansong Jab Tak Hai Jaan alongside Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif. The film won her a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress. She next appeared in Vishal Bhardwaj’s political satire Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola (2013) and Rajkumar Hirani’s religious satire PK (2014). Since then, Anushka has starred in main and supporting roles in multiple films, including Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet (2015), Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do (2015), Ali Abbas Zafar’s Sultan (2016), Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016) and Imtiaz Ali’s Jab Harry Met Sejal (2017). And it’s also worth mentioning that all the roles that Anushka has played in her films have varied from each other in large degrees; from a reporter to a jazz singer, to a dancer, to a wrestler, she has managed to shine through all.
In 2015, Anushka co-founded a production house named Clean Slate Filmz. The company’s first release was Navdeep Singh’s thriller NH10 (2015), in which Anushka herself played the lead role. The film was screened at the fifth Beijing International Film Festival and earned many positive reviews. The company’s next project was Anshai Lal’s Philauri (2017) which was co-produced with Fox Star Studios. In 2018, Anushka produced and acted in the horror film Pari, and two years later produced another horror film Bulbul (2020) for Netflix. Clean Slate Filmz also rolled out its first web-series Pataal Lok in 2020, for which Anushka served as the executive producer. Many film critics have found recurring themes of feminism in several of her company’s projects, and have credited her for being courageous and non-conformist in her choices as a producer.
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Amongst her latest film stints, apart from the ones in her own company, have been Sanju (2018), Sui Dhaaga (2018) and Zero (2018). She is working on her next project for Netflix, which will be a drama series Mai about a middle-aged housewife fighting crime. And if it’s going to be anything like her previous works, it sure will be something to look forward to.
Dyuti Gupta is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author’s own.