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Ameesha Patel was born on June 9, 1976, in a Gujarati family. Very few know that Ameesha is the granddaughter of the famous lawyer-politician Barrister Rajni Patel, who was the Congress Pradesh Committee President of Mumbai. (All photos/mid-day archives)
Ameesha Patel, elder sister of actor Ashmit Patel, started learning Bharatnatyam when she was five and has given many live performances. Though Ameesha didn't really taste success in her acting career, you would be surprised to know that she has been a brilliant student and has excelled on the educational front.
After schooling, Ameesha Patel went to the US for further studies and did two years of Biogenetic engineering. Later, she switched to Economics and graduated with a gold medal. Yes! She can be truly called 'Beauty with brains'.
After returning to India, Ameesha Patel started working with her dad Amit Patel in his office, but her heart wasn't in it. She quit and later worked for a finance company, however, she wasn't really happy there too, though she was good at her work. After convincing her parents for almost a year, Ameesha finally got a nod and entered showbiz. But, with a condition that she should do quality films and not go on a signing spree.
In 2000, Ameesha Patel made a smashing Bollywood debut with Hrithik Roshan in Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai. After her debut, she delivered hits like Gadar, opposite Sunny Deol, and Humraaz, opposite Bobby Deol and Akshaye Khanna. But besides a few hits, she could not sustain her success at the box office.
Ameesha Patel has earlier spent her birthdays on film sets, Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai (2000), Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2001), Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007), Humraaz (2002) and Race 2 (2013). 'And they all turned out to be lucky,' she said.
2000 was a significant year for the economic analyst turned model. Ameesha made her debut in the blockbuster Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai opposite future Bollywood superstar Hrithik Roshan. She received the offer to star in the film courtesy her father's schoolmate actor-director Rakesh Roshan who was also making the film.
Though she initially dropped out to pursue her academic interests, the role went to Kareena Kapoor instead. But Kareena opted out of the film and Patel was given the opportunity once again during a family lunch with Rakesh Roshan in presence. The film was a tremendous success and established her as a rising star.
2001 saw Ameesha Patel don the role of a Pakistani woman in love with an Indian man in the critically and commercially successful Gadar: Ek Prem Katha alongside Sunny Deol. Set during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1947, the film went on to become one of the highest-grossing films of the 21st century earning Rs 973 million in India.
Ameesha's career experienced a mixture of failure and success in 2002. Films like Kranti, David Dhawan's Yeh Hai Jalwa were flops. However, she found success with the smash-hit Abbas-Mustan thriller Humraaz which also starred Bobby Deol and Akshaye Khanna. Her portrayal as a woman with grey shades won her plaudits from critics and audiences alike.
Ameesha met filmmaker Vikram Bhatt in 1999 on the sets of 'Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage' and started dating him since the film's release. Her relationship with the director caused a rift between the actress and her parents. The couple later broke up in January 2008. Post breaking up with Bhatt, Ameesha went on to date UK businessman Kanav Puri only to break up with him in 2010 to focus on her career.
Ameesha was also running through a financial crisis after her parents apparently spent all her hard-earned money for their personal gratification. The actress sent a legal notice in 2004 to her father for mismanaging her assets amounting to Rs 120 million. Shortly after her breakup with Vikram Bhatt in 2008, her parents seemed to be willing to reconcile but the relationship remained strained.
But despite these setbacks, she periodically tasted box office success with films like Kya Yehi Pyaar Hai opposite Aftab Shivdasani.
She found some box-office recognition in the 2005 historical epic Mangal Pandey: The Rising which saw her essay the role of Jwala, a soft-spoken Bengali widow who gets rescued from committing Sati by a British officer. She was cast in the role as a replacement for Aishwarya Rai under the recommendation of Aamir Khan. Despite this in the following year, all her films were unsuccessful. Patel did get critical praise for her performance as the wife of an unfaithful husband in Ankahee but the movie failed to fare well at the box office.
During this time, Ameesha Patel appeared in a number of TV talk shows like Rendezvous with Simi Garewal, The Manish Malhotra Show and many others.
Ameesha found renewed success with the 2007 film Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. playing the role of a talkative wife of a husband with gay leanings. She also starred in the hit 2007 film Bhool Bhulaiyaa, a Bollywood remake of director Priyadarshan's popular Malayalam film Manichitrathazhu, also starring Akshay Kumar and Vidya Balan.
A lull came in Ameesha Patel's professional life post 2007 and she did cameos in Om Shanti Om and Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic.
Patel's bikini number 'Lazy Lamhe' in the 2008 Kunal Kohli film Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic won her praise.
Ameesha finally made peace with her family, especially with brother Ashmit, who was seen accompanying her at many events. When asked, her mother Asha revealed in an interview that they had finally ended their 5-year estrangement.
In 2011, Ameesha Patel launched her production company - Ameesha Patel Productions - with her friend and business partner Kuunal Goomer.
Ameesha Patel returned to the big screen in 2013 with the critically panned but commercially successful film Race 2 as Anil Kapoor's ditzy assistant.
After Race 2, Ameesha Patel also appeared in Neil Nitin Mukesh-starrer Shortcut Romeo. However, the film flopped at the Box Office.
After Shortcut Romeo, Ameesha Patel was set to star in Sunny Deol's Bhaiaji Superhit. The film also starred Preity Zinta. However, the film after multiple delays, finally hit screens in 2018, almost five years after its announcement.
Ameesha Patel lost her cool during one of the media interactions during the filming of Bhaiaji Superhit. A media person referred to her as Ameesha and the actress told the scribe to call her 'Ameeshaji' instead. When asked why she wasn't seen on the big screen after Shortcut Romeo, Ameesha Patel had angrily retorted saying that if he had brains, he would know that she was busy setting up her production house.
According to reports, the reason for Ameesha Patel's foul mood was because the Bhaiaji Superhit team failed to inform her about the scheduled press interaction. Not just Ameesha Patel, her co-star Preity Zinta apparently stormed off the sets due to not being informed about the press meet.
Coming back to Ameesha Patel's next film, she also has her long-in-the-making home production Desi Magic in her kitty, which roughly went on floors in 2013. And the film has still not hit the theatres.
Asked about Desi Magic's release, Ameesha Patel admits it has been a long journey. 'By now, I should have been on the set of my next home production, but due to certain issues, the film is taking time. We changed the script to an extent and made the scale bigger and better. So, we are not really complaining about the delay, if anything, it has only helped make the film better.'
Ameesha believes the time spent on making a film doesn't matter as long as the result is good. 'The audience comes to the theatres for a good film and not for a film that's made on time. We have seen several of them not even surviving till Monday (day four). Kuunal (Goomer, production partner) and I are not making a small film. As first-time producers, we are making a big, entertaining film and that too on our own,' she reasoned.
Ameesha Patel has many a time been humiliated by netizens for showing off a tad too much in photos shared on her Instagram account.
Not only was the Gadar: Ek Prem Katha actress been shamed for the 'skin-show', but she was also trolled for her 'lack of work'.
However, she remains unaffected and chooses to live her life on her own terms! And we totally like that attitude.