Four Geminis, Ekta Kapoor, Shilpa Shetty, Amisha Patel and Sonam Kapoor, Celebrate Birthdays this week

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Four Gemini film personalities, Ekta Kapoor, Shilpa Shetty, Amisha Patel and Sonam Kapoor, present an array of talent in Bollywood. They celebrate their birthdays between June and 9, this week. Smriti profiles the birthday girls in her regular column, exclusively in Different Truths.  

Ekta Kapoor, the Queen of Soap Opera, Changed the Face of the TV Industry in India

Ekta Kapoor is the eldest child of Jeetendra, a superstar of yesteryears, and Shobha Kapoor. Born on 7th June 1975, this Gemini, started producing television serials at the age of 19. Today, she is known as the queen of Indian television and her production house Balaji Telefilms is one of the leading names in the industry.

Ekta did her schooling at Bombay Scottish School, Mahim, and thereafter studied at Mithibai College. While in college, she had no clear vision of what career she wanted to choose. Seeing her heading nowhere, her father suggested her to venture into television industry and thus her production house came into existence. She produced many television soaps, Hum Paanch, Kyunki Saas bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki, Kasauti Zindagi ki, a few amongst the many.

Ekta’s serial, Kyuki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, changed the face of the television industry. This serial broke all previous records of the popularity of TV serials. Her production house has been continuously producing serials for various channels and all of them are always among the top in the TRP ratings. Many successful stars of today, such as Vidya Balan, Ronit Roy, Prachi Desai, Ram Kapoor, Sushant Singh Rajput and Rajeev Khandelwal were launched by Ekta in her serials. Actor-turned-politician Smriti Irani also received immense popularity by playing the lead protagonist in Ekta’s daily soap, Kyuki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi.

Besides producing television serials, Ekta also produced films under Balaji Telefilms. Some prominent films under her banner are Kyunki Main Jhooth Nahi Bolta, Kya Kool Hain Hum, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, and the very recent Half Girlfriend. This fiery, successful producer has been selected as one of the most powerful communicators by the Asian Week Magazine. She has also been conferred with many awards for her contribution to television.

Ekta is a very spiritual person, believes hugely in numerology and astrology. All her serials names start with the letter ‘K’, she always wears black platform heels at events or functions as suggested by an astrologer. This strong independent young woman of today has a fear of heights, darkness, and helicopter, but is an avid animal lover. She has adopted many stray dogs.

On her 42nd birthday, Different Truths wishes her more success in life and in her new venture of producing Punjabi films.

Sexy and Stunning Shilpa Shetty Stormed through Controversies  

Shilpa Shetty, the stunning actress of Bollywood, strongly represents the woman of today. She is a successful actor, entrepreneur, fights for many social causes, a PETA activist, and a mother, who beautifully balances between her personal and professional life.

Shilpa was born on 8th June 1975, to Tuluva community in Mangalore. Her father, Surendra, and mother, Sunanda, manufactured waterproof caps for pharmaceutical companies. Shilpa did her schooling and college in Mumbai, she is a trained Bharatanatyam dancer and a sportsperson. She started modelling after her tenth-grade examinations, which led to her getting offers for films.

In 1992, Shilpa was signed for a film, Gaata Rahey Mera Dil, with Ronit Roy and Rohit Roy, but the film never released.  Shilpa, however, succeeded in making a Bollywood debut through Abbas Mastan’s thriller, Baazigar, which also starred Shahrukh Khan and Kajol. The film was a major commercial success and Shilpa won Filmfare’s Best Supporting Actress Award and Lux New Face of the Year Award for the same.

After Baazigar, Shilpa’s career was a roller coaster ride. She gave a few hits alongside with many flops. Her movies Dhadkan, Rishtey, Garv, won her critical acclaim as well as box office success. For Dhadkan, she received several nominations under Best Actress category. One of Shilpa’s finest performance was in the film,Phir Milenge. In the film, Shilpa sensitively portrays the role of a successful urban woman, who contracts HIV from unprotected sex and is discarded by the society. Shilpa was nominated for Filmfare’s Best Actress Award for this performance. Film critic Taran Adarsh from indiaFM noted, “Phir Milenge belongs to Shilpa Shetty completely. She delivers, what can be rightly called, the performance of her career. The viewer feels and empathises with the character mainly because of her effective portrayal. She conveys the pain and the emotional upheaval through her expressive eyes, making it amongst the most memorable performances the year has seen so far.”

Besides Hindi films, Shilpa also worked in Tamil, Telegu and Kannada films, some of which were quite successful.

It was not just for her good looks and glass perfect figure that Shilpa made headlines. She also hit the headlines by her participation in the British reality television series “Celebrity Big Brother”, the first ever Indian to do so. Quite a few controversies occurred during Shilpa’s stay in the show. She was targeted by a few fellow contestants, who passed racist comments against her. Shilpa, however, won the show and described the experience as “incredible and overwhelming”. She further thanked the public for “a fantastic opportunity to make my country proud.”

From British television, Shilpa moved to Indian television, where she hosted “Big Boss”, the Indian version of “Big Brother” and judged many dance reality shows and though she was not very active in films, she started her production house and produced a film Dishkiyaaoon.

Controversies seem to love this sexy damsel. She again became the target of public and media, when Hollywood actor Richard Gere hugged and forcibly kissed her on the cheek during an AIDS awareness event. Protests in various cities took place, where effigies of Gere were burnt and beaten, while some groups threatened to ban Shilpa’s film and demanded an apology from her. Shetty responded to these protests by saying, “I understand this (kissing) is his (Gere’s) culture, not ours. But this was not a big thing or so obscene for people to overreact in such a manner. I struggle to understand these people’s sentiments, but mainly I do not want a foreigner to take bad memories from here.” An Indian court in Rajasthan even issued an arrest warrant against the two but eventually, a two-judge bench of Supreme Court dismissed the suit and suspended the arrest warrant.

Even her personal life is clouded with controversies. She was supposedly in a very serious relationship with Akshay Kumar, but both parted ways and in an interview, Shilpa stated, “Akshay used me and left when he found someone else.” Her marriage to business tycoon Raj Kundra was tagged with an allegation by his ex-wife, who accused Shilpa of breaking her marriage. Shilpa, however, strongly denied the allegation and her marriage is still going strong, though rumours of rift did pop up some time ago.

At present, this sexy diva is into Yoga, writing books on healthy eating, judging reality shows, various business ventures and enjoying motherhood with her adorable son. Her IPL team, co-owned by her husband Raj Kundra, which was banned allegedly on grounds of match fixing, will be participating in the next season, much to the delight of her fans.

Different Truths, wishes this lovely human being, who is known for her sense of humour and cracks jokes at herself too, a very happy birthday on June 8.

Svelte Ameesha Patel Catches Eyeballs despite her Inconsistent Career

Ameesha Patel, the svelte and sexy actress, had a dream debut in Bollywood with Kaho Na Pyaar Hai. The film produced and directed by veteran filmmaker Rakesh Roshan, was also the launching pad of his son Hrithik Roshan. The film turned the two youngsters, superstars overnight. The youth went crazy over this new young pair. The film was a huge commercial success. Rakesh Roshan, the schoolmate of Ameesha’s father, offered the role to Ameesha, immediately after she graduated from high school. But Ameesha refused as she wanted to pursue her education plans. Rakesh took Kareena for the film, but she walked out of the film in the initial stages, and as destined, Ameesha was again approached. This time she accepted the offer.

Ameesha was born on 9th June 1975, in a Gujarati family, in Mumbai. Her grandfather was a famous lawyer-politician Barrister Rajni Patel. Her father is a businessman and Ameesha’s name is a blend of the first three letters of her father’s name, Amit and the last three letters of her mother’s name Aasha. She studied at the Cathedral and John Connon High School in Bombay and obtained a degree in Economics from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S.A. Ameesha is also a trained Bharatnatyam dancer, learning dance since the age of five.

On her return to Mumbai, Ameesha acted in many plays of Satyadev Dubey’s theatre and did modelling too, tillKaho Na Pyaar Hai happened.

The huge success of Kaho Na Pyaar Hai was followed by another major commercial hit, Gadar Ek Prem Katha, in which Ameesha was paired opposite Sunny Deol. The film was a love story set against the background of India’s partition. Ameesha got rave reviews for her performance. Taran Adarsh of IndiaFM opined, “Despite being one-film-old, Amisha Patel deserves full marks for handling the complex role with elegance. She looks the character she is portraying and impresses with a natural performance.” For both her films, Kaho Na Pyaar Haiand Gadar, Ameesha received four awards.

But unfortunately Ameesha has been very inconsistent in her career. Her later films did not do very well at the box office, with her spark revealed only randomly in a few films such as Humraaj, Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd, to name a few.

Though she does not have much work on hand at present, she has been hitting the headlines for various reasons. She allegedly separated from her parents, accusing them of improperly using her hard earned money to resurrect their family business. The tiff between the family members turned very ugly until recently when her mother made a statement that all is well within the family. Her alleged affairs with film director Vikram Bhatt and businessman Kanav Puri were also hot gossips, but eventually, she broke up with both. Ameesha also got into a controversy with an Airlines while flying to the U.S.A.

On her 42nd birthday, Different Truths wishes the beautiful actress success and happiness in life.

Fashion Icon Sonam Kapoor is a Rising Star of Bollywood

Sonam Kapoor is a fashion icon for today’s youth. Her confident, strong cheerful personality inspires many. She has come a long way from the 19-year-old obese girl to be considered one of the sexiest woman in Asia.

Sonam Kapoor was born on 9th June 1985, to Anil Kapoor and Sunita Kapoor. Born exactly a decade later, she shares her birthday with Amisha Patel. Anil Kapoor, her father, is the evergreen superstar of Bollywood and her uncle Boney Kapoor a prominent film producer. Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh, two popular actors of today are her cousins.

Despite coming from a family totally devoted to films, Sonam had a very structured education and has graduated in Political Science and Economics. She excelled at sports such as rugby and basketball, and trained in Kathak, classical music, and Latin dance. She assisted the renowned director Sanjay Leela Bhansali in Black before he approached her for his film, Sawariyan.

Sawariyan was released in 2007 and was a major debacle. The film was rejected critically as well as commercially. Writing for BBC, Jaspreet Pandohar called the film a “misfire on a massive scale.” Raja Sen of described her laugh, “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.” Though she won the Stardust Award for Superstar of Tomorrow-Female for the same.

Sonam’s next releases were also not commercially successful, though her performance in Delhi-6 was appreciated by all. Success came to her own with Punit Malhotra’s romantic comedy, I Hate Luv Stories, but unfortunately, her next few releases were again box office failures.

A turning point in her career came with Anand. L. Rai’s, Ranjhana. 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.” 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.” The movie was commercially successful and Sonam got her first Filmfare nomination for the Best Actress.

Ranjhana steered Sonam’s character graph in an upward direction, which was followed by noteworthy performances in movies like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Khoobsoorat and Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo, to name a few. Her best performance to date was in her movie Neerja, a biopic on air hostess Neerja Bhanot. The film was a huge commercial success and won many awards for Sonam including the National Award.

Sonam Kapoor is the woman of today, strong in her views, independent and very vocal about her opinions. Her honesty has always put her into controversies. She had a twitter fight with columnist Shobha De, after the latter’s review of her film I Hate Luv Stories, by calling it “I Hate Dumb Stories”. Shobha also called Sonam “a lassie who lacks oomph”. She also called Aishwarya Rai an “aunty”, when the latter refused to walk with her on the red carpet at Cannes.

But Sonam continues to live life on her own terms, irrespective of the flaks and controversies it brings along. She is busy with many exciting upcoming projects, such as, “Veere Di Wedding”, and has opened a clothes line under the name “Rheson” with her younger sister.

Different Truths hopes that her 32nd birthday brings more zest and success in her career and life.

©Smriti Maheshwari

Photos from the internet.

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Smriti Maheshwari loves cooking, reading, mostly fiction and thrillers. She enjoys mythological stories too. She also loves meeting people and making friends, socialising, and is a big movie buff. A homemaker and a dreamer, she stays in Allahabad with her husband.