• Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Arts and Culture

Urmila Matondkar: From child star to cinema queen

STRIKING JOURNEY: Urmila Matondkar


ACTRESS Urmila Matondkar turns a year older and celebrates her 48th birthday on February 4.

The popular leading lady began her film journey as a child star and has delivered many memorable moments.

Eastern Eye decided to celebrate that cinematic journey by delivering an all you need to know A to Z about the strikingly beautiful star.

A is for AR Rahman: The ace music director got global fame after the success of his 1995 Rangeela (see R) soundtrack and a large part of that was due to the way Urmila performed the musical numbers on-screen with her smouldering sex appeal. Another great who found fame thanks to the hot presence of the actress in the movie was fashion designer Manish Malhotra (see F).

B is for Birthday: The actress has revealed she has never really celebrated birthdays in a conventional manner. She was taught early on to give prayers of thanks and donate money to social causes instead, which she still does every year. She does get excited for other people’s birthdays and enjoys throwing parties for them.


C is for Child artist: Urmila began her incredible acting journey as a child star in 1977 film Karm. She would subsequently appear in other high-profile films as a child actress that included award-winning classics Kalyug (1981) and Masoom (1983).

D is for Debut: After a successful career as a child star, Urmila made her lead debut as an adult with 1989 Malayalam language film Chanakyan, which was a critical and commercial success. She made her Bollywood lead debut with action drama Narsimha (1991) and Telugu language debut with Antham (1992).

E is for Election: The actress joined politics with the Indian National Congress party and ran for election for the Mumbai North constituency in 2019 but lost. She later joined the Shiv Sena party.

Urmila with Manish Malhotra
Urmila with Manish Malhotra

F is for Fashion: The Bollywood style icon has shared a close bond with ace fashion designer Manish Malhotra ever since he designed the outfits for her star-making film Rangeela. She walked the ramp for his first fashion show and gave rise to the trend of showstoppers. She has modelled for him around the world and he, of course, designed her bridal outfit.


G is for Gaayam: The actress won her first major award for Telugu language political thriller Gaayam (1993), with a Nandi award for Best Supporting Actress.


H is for Horror: Urmila headlined one of Bollywood’s all-time greatest horror films Bhoot (2003) and won herself multiple Best Actress honours, including a Filmfare Critics award. The successful film was dubbed in Telugu and remade in Tamil (Shock).

I is for Indian: Urmila made her Tamil language debut with multi-award winning film Indian, which broke box office records. It was India’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards in 1996 but was not nominated.

J is for Judge: The actress has appeared as a judge on multiple television shows, including Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 2 and hosted Waar Parriwar.

K is for Katha Sagar: While working as a child artist, the actress made her television debut in 1986 with anthology drama Katha Sagar. Other TV drama she acted in during those early days were Zindagi (1987) and Indradhanush (1989).

L is for Languages: The versatile star has acted in multiple languages, including Marathi, Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil and Hindi.

M is for Musical numbers: The actress has performed many memorable musical numbers across the years, including Chamma Chamma from China Gate (1998), Sabki Baaratein Aayi from Jaanam Samjha Karo (1999) and Aa Hi Jaiye from Lajja (2001). This led to her performing at stage shows around the world.

N is for No: The actress had famously rejected the award-winning role eventually played by Karisma Kapoor in blockbuster hit Dil To Pagal Hai (1997). Around the same time Karisma had rejected  Judaai (1997), which Urmila stepped into and won acclaim for.

O is for Online: Although she joined relatively late, Urmila is active on social media. You can find her on Twitter & Facebook: @urmilamatondkar and on Instagram: @urmilamatondkarofficial.

Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya
Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya

P is for Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya: The actress plays a villainous role of an obsessed lover in Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya, which was inspired by Hollywood film Fatal Attraction (1987). She received multiple nominations for best performance in a negative role.


Q is for Queens: Urmila became one of the highest paid leading ladies of the 1990s. The actress has said she admired cinema queens Meryl Streep, Jodie Foster, Madhubala and Nutan.


R is for Rangeela: The movie that turned Urmila into a global star and a pin-up was multi-award-winning musical romance Rangeela (1995). She received her first Filmfare Best Actress award for a movie that became iconic and turned her into an instant icon.

S is for Sriram Raghavan: The acclaimed filmmaker made his film debut as a writer-director with Ek Hasina Thi (2004), which featured one of Urmila’s best on-screen performances. It would gain her critical acclaim and multiple Best Actress nominations.

T is for Troubles: The actress revealed that she had to struggle a lot during the
early days of her career because of Bollywood nepotism, despite being praised for her all-round talent. She lost out on big projects to leading ladies with famous relatives.

U is for Underworld: The actress played a lead role in game-changing gangster drama Satya (1998). Apart from redefining a genre, the massively influential movie helped relaunch action into Bollywood and a grittier, more realistic style of filmmaking.

V is for Voice: The actress performed with Asha Bhonsle on the duet Mehbooba  Dilruba for her album Asha and Friends Vol 1. Urmila also lent her voice to animated film Delhi Safari as Begum, the mother leopard.

W is for Women’s rights: Urmila has always been a staunch supporter of women’s rights and backed various charities connected to the cause, including Angeli Foundation, which works to empower the girl child in India.

X is for X-Rated: The actress received mass public support when Kangana Ranaut unfairly and undignifiedly called her a soft-porn actress. Urmila won even more support with the classy way she handled the unprovoked attack.

Y is for Younger: She married Kashmir-based model turned businessman Mohsin Akhtar Mir on March 3, 2016, who is reportedly 10 years younger than her.

Z is for Zodiac: Urmila is an Aquarius and positive traits of the star sign include
being assertive, analytical, original, humanitarian, independent, and easygoing. Other qualities include being smart, friendly, open, and direct.

Eastern Eye

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