Kareena Kapoor, granddaughter of Raj Kapoor, voiced her intent to be an actress long before her older sister Karisma faced the camera for the first time. She grew up loving the old-style movies of Nargis, Madhubala, and Meena Kumari and the charm of classic 1950s cinema. She was confident one day she would be able to emulate her heroines and be a successful Bollywood actress.
Kareena’s first film, Refugee (2000), created a lot of buzz and excitement as it also launched the career of Abhishek Bachchan. While the film was only a moderate success, both Kareena and Abhiskek got great reviews for their performances. Kareena, in particular, used her natural beauty to great advantage. Her minimal make-up was a refreshing look for Bollywood and her confidence astounding. She often mentioned that she always had a strong premonition that she would be an actress and was aware of the talent that lay within her. Many believed that her performance in Refugee was equal to that of a veteran actress.
Kareena’s next film, Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai (2001), was a box- office hit and gave her early commercial success. She then went on to star in Santosh Sivan’s Asoka (2001) with Shah Rukh Khan where she had an amazing ethereal look as the jungle warrior girl—her ethnic tattoos became very fashionable. Her talent and reputation was cemented and the role brought her the first of many Best Actress awards. She played a character that completely captured people’s imaginations and established Kareena’s strong connection with audiences. She began to represent the cool and individual attitude of today’s modern youth. Young brands sought her out for advertising campaigns and she remains a favorite with the media.
Her acting continues to enthral. She made a foray into realistic cinema with Chameli (2003), playing the difficult role of a street- smart tough prostitute with grit. Her recent work with the director Vishal Bharadwaj will be interesting to watch—she has just finished Omkara, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello, and will also play the lead in his next film, Mr Mehta & Mrs Singh. She continues to go from strength to strength and at only twenty-six, Kareena clearly has a long and successful career ahead of her.