Amrita Arora

Amrita Arora

Amrita Arora has a vitality that is very appealing. Fondly called “Amu,” Malaika Arora’s younger sister is confident, clear-headed, and charming. Like most young girls growing up watching Bollywood films, she was addicted to the films of Madhuri Dixit and Sridevi. “They inspired me to be an actress, as much as my sister did.” Amrita watched with admiration as her sister practiced for the incomparable “Chaiyya Chaiyya” song sequence in Dil Se (1998) with Shah Rukh Khan and this deepened her resolve to become a part of Bollywood.

Amrita started her career by winning the MTV VJ Hunt, and hosted shows like “MTV Houseful” and “Chill Out” for over two years. “I grew up watching this channel so it was amazing to have such a ball hosting shows, doing gigs and earning all that pocket money!” She was at the Natraj Studio filming an advertising campaign when she met Aamir Khan who predicted “You will definitely be an actress one day.” Amrita does not think he remembers that, but for her they were the nicest words anyone could have said to her.

Her initial films did not do well but she was unfazed and continued to take on parts with zeal and determination. Her efforts were rewarded with a string of hit films. Girlfriend (2004), her most visible and controversial film, dealt with the theme of lesbianism. While the moral brigade and media tore the film to shreds, Amrita spoke up to defend it with commendable rationality and clarity. Her song sequence “Dilli Ki Sardi” in the film Zameen (2003) has become incredibly well known and provided an opportunity for her to work with directors like Mahesh Manjrekar—”He really pushes the boundaries of his actors”—and Vikram Bhatt—”You have to unlearn everything with him and then learn so much. He is from a different school of acting altogether.”

Amrita loves London because it has an “electric vibe” and she often meanders around central London, relaxing in cafés and window-shopping. “I like the Edgware Road district with its Lebanese, Arabic, and Iranian communities and food. Another favorite is Chai in Primrose Hill, who do a wonderful variety of teas and desserts and even serve a masala tea from India.” Amrita’s boyfriend, Usman Afzal, is a cricketer with the English team. She loves to watch him play, accompanied by a basket of French fries with Mexican chili. She is also addicted to watching British sitcoms like Nighty Night, Only Fools and Horses, and Footballers’ Wives.