Urmila Matondkar (born 4 February 1974) is an Indian film actress, who has appeared in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Marathi language films. Her film roles contributed to a then-new screen persona for a Hindi film heroine, in which she was known for her intense style and dancing skills.
Matondkar made her acting debut as a child in Shyam Benegal's 1980 film Kalyug, and went on to feature in several other films as a child. As an adult, her first release was the Malayalam film Chanakyan (1989). She went to star in several Bollywood films, including the Ram Gopal Varma-directed musical drama Rangeela (1995), the drama Judaai (1997), and the crime thriller Satya (1998), all of which earned her Filmfare Award nominations. These roles established her in Bollywood and earned her the tag of a sex symbol. Matondkar also gained recognition in Telugu and Tamil cinema with roles in Antham (1992), Gaayam (1993), Indian (1996), and Anaganaga Oka Roju (1997).
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Urmila garnered critical praise for portraying a range of intense, psychological characters. Among these roles were that of a serial killer in Varma's Kaun (1999), an obsessive lover in Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya (2001), a possessed woman in Varma's Bhoot (2003), and a violent avenger in Ek Hasina Thi (2004). For her performance in Bhoot, she won the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress. She has also played leading roles in lesser-publicised films of independent directors, including Tehzeeb (2003), Pinjar (2003), Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara (2005), Bas Ek Pal (2006), and the Marathi film Ajoba (2014).
Urmila Matondkar was born in Mumbai on February 4, 1974. Her father was a lecturer. Her mother tongue is Marathi.
As a child artist (1977-1983):
Urmila's first role as a child artist was in 1977 in the film 'Karm'. 1981 with Kalyug and she achieved success at the age of 9 in Shekhar Kapur's Masoom in 1983.
Professional expansion (1989-1994):
She made her adult debut as an actress with the film Bade Ghar Ki Beti. She next starred in the fantasy film Chamatkar, along with Shahrukh Khan. In 1989, Urmila was paired opposite Kamal Haasan in the Malayalam blockbuster Chanakyan. She went on to frequently collaborate with film director Ram Gopal Verma, who is known for his thrillers. Her first film with him was Antham (Telugu film), which was a bilingual film and was titled as Drohi (1992 film) in Hindi. She has also made her appearance in Doordarshan Serial Bible Ki Kahaniyan. Since then, she has starred in numerous subsequent RGV pictures, like Gaayam (Telugu).
Rangeela and commercial success (1994-2003):
Urmila returned to film as the female protagonist Mili Joshi, in the romantic comedy Rangeela (1995). Featured opposite Aamir Khan, the film relates the story of two people with contrasting personalities. The film was received favourably by critics and became successful at the box office with gross earnings of ₹1160.5 million (US$18 million). Gomolo described "urmila looking the glam girl as ever and superb performances", at the 41st Filmfare Awards, Rangeela was nominated for twelve awards including a Best Actress nomination for Matondkar. Following RGV projects were Anaganaga Oka Roju (1997), Daud (film) (1997), Satya (1998), Kaun (1999), Mast (2000), Jungle (2000), Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya (2001), Bhoot (2003), and Ek Hasina Thi (2004).
In 1997 her film Judaai was a hit but her other releases such as Daud and Aflatoon were not as successful. Her performance in Judaai earned her a Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award nomination.
In 1998, she earned critical acclaim for her performance in Satya, for which she received another Filmfare nomination. The film was received favourably by critics and became successful at the box office with gross earnings of ₹690.1 million (US$11 million). Mohammad Ali Ikram of Planet Bollywood described Matondkar as "Urmila Matondkar as Vidhya, an aspiring singer caught in the deceptive web of Satya's love, proves she is a multi-faceted actress. If in one movie this actress can be street-smart and sexy (Daud), the next minute she is convincingly conservative, innocent and docile".
In 1999, she got rave reviews for her performance as a psychopath in Kaun, which was a moderate success. Khalid Mohamed of The Times of India (who would later cast her in Tehzeeb) wrote that she "rivets the viewer's interest, carrying off entire reels on her shoulders, through a gamut of quicksilver facial expressions. Vulnerable and baffled, she is utterly believable as the traumatised girl-next-door." She saw further success with Jaanam Samjha Karo, Hum Tum Pe Marte Hain and Khoobsurat, all moderate successes at the box office. However, Matondkar's performance was generally well received by critics ( Rediff describing "Urmila is just about the only heroine who can give Karisma a run for her money when it comes to pelvic thrusts").
During the 2000s, Matondkar revealed strong, dramatic and psychological features in her roles, and delivered a number of critically acclaimed performances. In 2000, Matondkar co-starred in David Dhawan comedy Kunwara, the film under-performed at the box office grossing of ₹430.3 million (US$6.8 million). She won favourable reviews for her role as an obsessive lover in Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya (2001), and received various Best Villain nominations for her performance.The film was received favourably by critics and became successful at the box office with gross earnings of ₹280.5 million (US$4.5 million).
In 2003, she was part of several projects. She played the role of a north Indian girl in the background of the 1947 India partition in the critically acclaimed Pinjar. She played the title role in Khalid Mohammed's drama Tehzeeb, starring along Shabana Azmi. However, she was mainly noted for her performance in Bhoot, a horror movie. Matondkar enacted a ghost-possessed woman; her performance was much appreciated by critics and audiences and she won her first Filmfare Award under the Best Actress (Critics' Choice) category, as well as various Best Actress awards at different award ceremonies, such as Star Screen Awards, Zee Cine Awards and Bollywood Movie Awards. She later received the national honour Rajiv Gandhi Award for the film, as a recognition to her achievement in Bollywood. Taran Adarsh wrote of her performance, "...the film clearly belongs to Urmila Matondkar all the way. To state that she is excellent would be doing gross injustice to her work. Sequences when she is possessed are simply astounding. If this performance doesn't deserve an award, no other performance should. It beats all competition hollow."Khalid Mohamed wrote, "Matondkar is consistently excellent - controlled and persuasively vulnerable - as the beleaguered wife, evoking your concern and empathy. She's the major triumph of Bhoot actually."
Continuing in other roles and Critical acclaim (2004-2008):
In 2004, she got critical recognition for her performance as a merciless avenger in Ram Gopal Verma's Ek Hasina Thi, co-starring Saif Ali Khan. She played the role of a deceived woman who is jailed because of her lover, played by Khan, and later flees from prison to avenge him. Once again, Matondkar was nominated for a Filmfare for her performance in the film. Ek Hasina Thi was a financial success with global revenues of ₹170.4 million (US$2.7 million).
Next year in 2005, she tried her hand with another horror film, playing the title role in the film Naina, which failed. However, her performance as the caring daughter of Anupam Kher in Jahnu Barua's art film Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara was very well received, and she won her second Bollywood Movie Award for Best Actress.
Apart from holding a successful acting career, she is regarded as an outstanding dancer and has been a featured performer in many Bollywood item numbers. Her best-known item number is the Chamma Chamma sequence from the 1998 China Gate. Other hit numbers include Aaiye Aajaye from the hit film Lajja. She was signed to perform the item song in Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag, a remake of the 1975 blockbuster Sholay. She played the role originally played by Helen.
In 2007, Matondkar lent her voice for Asha Bhonsle's album Asha and Friends Vol 1, where she performed with Bhosle the duet song "Mehbooba Dilruba". In fact, throughout the 1990s - 2000s, Bhosle sang the maximum number of songs for Urmila. In that same year, she was seen on the second season of the dance reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa on Sony Television as a judge along with Jeetendra and Shiamak Davar.
In 2008, Matondkar was seen with Himesh Reshammiya in a remake of the 1980 film Karz, titled Karzzzz. Even though the film was dubbed a failure critically, Urmila was praised for her acting and adding her own flavour to the role of Kamini. In 2012, Urmila Matondkar stated her comeback with an animated Hindi feature film Delhi Safari.
As a reality show judge (2008-2012):
In 2008, Matondkar debuted on Indian television as a host of a reality show named Waar Parriwar.
In 2011, Matondkar was one of the judges on the dance reality show named Chak Dhoom Dhoom on Colors channel, along with Javed Jaffrey and Terence Lewis.
In 2012 Urmila Matondkar is a judge on a Marathi dance reality show Dance Maharashtra Dance on Zee Marathi.
In 2014, Urmila Matondkar made her Marathi film debut with the movie 'Ajoba'.
See also: List of awards and nominations received by Urmila Matondkar
See also: Urmila Matondkar filmography
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