Childhood & Early Life
Isha Sharvani was born on September 29, 1984, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. Her father is an India-based Australian musician named Vissaro. Her mother, Daksha Seth, is a popular Indian artist and trained classical dancer. Hence, since her childhood, Isha was exposed to an extremely artistic environment, which helped her nurture her artistic side. She grew up with her younger brother, Tao Issaro.
Isha began training in dance under her mother’s tutelage when she was 7 years of age. As a child, Isha moved to different cities across India for her parents’ jobs. She traveled to cities such as Delhi, Vrindavan, and Bangalore. She finally settled with her family in Trivandrum, Kerala.
Her mother ran a dance school called the ‘Academy for Art Research, Training, and Innovation’ in Trivandrum. Isha initially attended the dance school because it gave her a strong reason to avoid going to school.
She learned various dance forms such as Kalaripayattu, Kathak, and Chhau. Along with that, she also learned Western dance forms such as hip-hop and break dance. She was also trained in Malkam dance, a traditional Indian folk-dance form. She also began performing internationally, participating in several dancing competitions.
She trained for more than 10 hours each day but never thought of making a career in acting. She lived in a highly disciplined environment. Her mother’s dance school did not distinguish between boys and girls, and both were treated equally.
As a result, she became a “tomboy.” She wore jeans and T-shirts whenever she was not dancing.
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In 2005, Isha was busy making a career as a dancer. Around the same time, famous Indian filmmaker Subhash Ghai was looking for a young girl who could dance well, to cast in his next film, ‘Kisna.’ He spotted Isha and e-mailed her for a meeting. Isha cleared the audition and was signed to play the female lead, ‘Lakshmi.’
However, her acting career did not begin as expected. The film, which was set in the 1940s (during the final years of British occupation of India), turned out to be a major box-office debacle. Although the music of the film was appreciated, the film was rejected by both audiences and critics. Isha’s dancing abilities were, however, appreciated.
She was next seen in a commercial opposite Hrithik Roshan, for ‘Parle Hide & Seek’ biscuits. The advertisement saw her make the best of her dance skills. Despite the failure of her debut film, her popularity soared.
In 2006, she appeared on the big screen yet again, with a comedy film titled ‘Darwaza Bandh Rakho.’ The film was appreciated for its fresh take on the comedy genre. It received a handful of good reviews, but most critics panned the film. In the absence of any big names from Bollywood, the film turned out to be a major box-office disaster.
The same year, she was seen playing the female lead in the Zayed Khan-starrer ‘Rocky- The Rebel.’ The movie was the Hindi remake of a successful Tamil film named ‘Raghavendra.’ The film was a huge box-office debacle and was also rejected by critics.
However, despite her back-to-back unsuccessful films, Isha’s career did not slow down. She continued to get good roles. In 2007, she appeared in a lead role in the comedy film titled ‘Good Boy, Bad Boy.’ The film received abysmal reviews but managed to recover its costs.
As her films failed, she resorted to playing second leads. In 2008, she appeared in the Ajay Devgn-directed film ‘U, Me aur Hum,’ in which he also played the lead role, alongside his wife, Kajol. The film received mixed reviews and was a box-office success.
The following year, Isha appeared in the most critically acclaimed film of her career. She starred as ‘Nikki Walia,’ a star kid, in Zoya Akhtar’s directorial debut film, ‘Luck by Chance.’ The movie revolved around the inner politics and workings of the Hindi film industry. Although the film was a box-office disappointment, it managed to earn positive reviews from critics. Isha’s performance as the spoilt daughter of a popular yesteryear actor won accolades.
However, by then, it was too late for her to build her career. Her Hindi film roles had reduced significantly. In 2013, she appeared in the Hindi–Tamil bilingual film titled ‘David.’ The movie was critically acclaimed.
The same year, she appeared in the Malayalam film titled ‘5 Sundarikal’ and then appeared in two more Malayalam films, ‘Iyobinte Pustakam’ and ‘Double Barrel.’
In 2017, she made a critically acclaimed comeback to Hindi films, with the Irrfan Khan-starrer ‘Qarib Qarib Singlle.’ The film received positive reviews and was a moderate box-office success. Her performance as ‘Gauri’ won Isha a lot of praises.
Isha also appeared in the fifth season of the celebrity dance reality show titled ‘Jhalak Dikhhla Ja.’ She was one of the strongest candidates on the show and was touted as a potential winner. However, following an injury in the final stages of the season, she withdrew from the competition.