Swaroop Sampat is an Indian actress, model and teacher who was crowned Femina Miss India 1979 and represented India at Miss Universe 1979. She started acting in theatre before moving to the big screen with films such as 'Naram Garam', 'Nakhuda', 'Himmatwala', and 'Karishma', and gained recognition for her role on the television comedy series 'Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi'. She took a hiatus from acting to raise her children, but occasionally appeared on screen; notable among them is the 2002 film 'Saathiya'. Later in the decade, she produced the drama series 'Teen Bahuraaniyaan' and 'Laagi Tujhse Lagan'. She has recently resumed acting with films like 'Ki & Ka' and 'Uri: The Surgical Strike', apart from appearances in short films and on television. She was a model for the kumkum company 'Shringar'. She collaborated with UNICEF and travelled to remote villages in India to promote special teaching programs for disabled children. A teacher at Lavad Primary School, Gujarat, she was one of the top 10 finalists for the Global Teacher Prize in 2019, selected from 10,000 nominations covering 179 countries. Her husband is actor, comedian and politician Paresh Rawal.
Rise to Stardom
Swaroop Sampat became involved in theatre while studying in college. She was reluctant at first to participate in the Miss India contest, but was encouraged by her father, and also received the support of her brother and her then boyfriend Paresh Rawal. She began getting acting offers after winning the contest, and started her career in 1981 with movies such as 'Naram Garam' and 'Nakhuda'. However, it is her role as Renu in the TV comedy 'Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi' that made her popular in 1984. Choosy about her assignments, she reportedly selected this show over another popular series because she found the simplicity of this show touching. As an actor, she "always focused on quality over quantity" and prioritized family, which led to her decision to cut down acting assignments after having kids. She began producing television shows in the late 2000s, and recently made a comeback to acting.
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Transition into Teaching
While raising her two sons, Swaroop Sampat became involved in the Parent Teacher Association of her children’s school. By chance, the teachers of the school were busy when the Maharashtra government decided to send a few of them to learn about teaching and handling differently-abled children, and the school authority sent her and another PTA member instead. She enjoyed the course and began teaching at the school soon after, often employing her expertise in the drama to make the process unique and effective.
Determined to learn further, she applied to the University of Worcester which, impressed with her resume, encouraged her to pursue a Ph.D. and even offered her a scholarship. Starting in 2007, she travelled across India and held workshops with teachers and students to impart her knowledge, mostly for free. In 2009, she was selected by the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, now the Prime Minister of India, to head a unique educational program for children that taught "students life-enhancing skills by dramatizing real-life scenarios".
Family & Personal Life
Swaroop Sampat was born on November 3, 1958, in Gujarat, India, to Gujarati theatre actor Bachu Sampat and his wife, a renowned surgical oncologist. She was the first daughter to be born in her family in 120 years and was pampered by everyone. She completed her graduation from Elphinstone College in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Much later, in 2006, she obtained her Ph.D. in Education and Drama from the University of Worcester in England.
Swaroop Sampat and Paresh Rawal, both theatre enthusiasts, first met during the 1970s when both were still in college. Paresh, who fell in love at the first sight, walked in with a friend while Swaroop was handing out brochures, and told his friend that he was going to marry her. However, as she later recalled, he was not able to talk to her for nearly a year. She initially ignored him, but became interested after she watched him perform in a play during intercollegiate competitions. After the play ended, she went backstage to congratulate him on a brilliant performance and they began dating soon after.
They continued to date throughout the 1980s and decided to get married in 1987. The intimate wedding event, which took place under trees in the Lakshmi Narayan temple compound in Mumbai, was attended by close friends and family members only. It was the first daughter’s wedding in 129 years in her family. The couple has two sons: Anirudh and Aditya. Anirudh was an assistant director on the 2016 Bollywood film 'Sultan' and also assists veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah in his plays. Aditya, who studied screenplay at the University of New York, recently surprised even his father by making his acting debut in the web-film 'Bamfaad'.