Urmila Matondkar is an Indian film actress known for her performances in films like ‘Rangeela’ and ‘Satya.’ She started her acting career as a child artist and has worked in the Bollywood film industry for the major part of her life. In the initial part of her career, she had worked in Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam language films as well. Urmila has acted in many big-banner and independent films, and her collaboration with director Ram Gopal Varma has earned her a major fan following among the Indian film lovers. In the mid-1990s she established herself as the ‘sex-symbol’ of Bollywood and set a new trend with her bold and controversial roles in several movies. She became very popular due to her stylish fashion sense as well as her dancing skills. She brought about a fresh trend to the Hindi film industry at that time, a trend that was somewhat similar to the one heralded in by the likes of Parveen Babi and Zeenat Aman in the 1980s. Urmila Matondkar appeared in many movies in the 1990s but her biggest break came when she was signed by Ram Gopal Varma for the film ‘Rangeela’ in 1995 which earned her the spotlight she deserved. Later she appeared in films like ‘Judaai’, ‘Satya ‘, and ‘Kaun’. Venturing into television as well, she appeared as a judge on the television dance reality show ‘Jhalak Dikhla Ja Season 2’ in 2007.
Childhood & Early Life
Urmila Matondkar was born on February 4, 1974, in a Marathi family in Mumbai, Maharashtra. She has an elder sister, Mamta, an ex-actress, a younger sister named Pooja, and an elder brother Kedar, who has worked in the Indian Air Force as an Aircraft Maintenance Technician.
She graduated from the Pune University with a degree in philosophy; she is also an avid reader and a swimmer.
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Urmila Matondkar started her career in the film industry as a child artist back in 1977. She played a minor role in a Marathi film titled ‘Zaakol’ in 1980 and made her Bollywood debut the same year in the drama movie ‘Kalyug’.
She worked in many Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam language films over the next couple of years and then made her appearance in Shekhar Kapoor’s ‘Masoom', a role that earned her a lot of positive reviews from the critics. She was aged nine at that time.
Urmila made her debut as a leading actress in the film ‘Narsimha’. Then she appeared alongside Shah Rukh Khan in the fantasy movie ‘Chamatkar’ which became a huge success in 1989.
She continued receiving important roles in the coming years and landed a role alongside superstar Kamal Haasan in the film ‘Chanakyan’, a blockbuster Malayalam film. She worked extensively with director Ram Gopal Varma in some films which were mostly thrillers.
She featured alongside upcoming superstar Aamir Khan in ‘Rangeela’ in 1995 and witnessed her career reaching new heights with the success of the movie. The film brought her to the center of all attention and she established herself as the leading lady of Bollywood in the coming years.
Urmila Matondkar worked in a series of movies under the direction of Ram Gopal Varma (RGV) and appeared in many action and thriller movies under his banner. From 1997 to 2004, she worked in movies like ‘Daud’ with Sanjay Dutt, ‘Satya’ with Manoj Bajpayee, ‘Mast’ with Aftab Shivdasani, ‘Jungle’ with Fardeen Khan, and ‘Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya’ with Fardeen Khan under his direction. All these movies became superhits and she earned a lot of accolades for them.
Between 1999 and 2003 while working in various RGV films, she also had five other films released under various banners. These films were commercially and critically huge successes. The most notables among these were ‘Jaanam Samjha Karo’ with Salman Khan, ‘Hum Tum Pe Marte Hain’ with Govinda and ‘Dillagi’ with Sunny and Bobby Deol.
With a long string of successful films to her credit, Urmila Matondkar became a leading actress of the Bollywood film industry and was sought after by every filmmaker. She appeared in almost all genres of movies, from thrillers to family dramas and from comedies to horror films.
Her most critically acclaimed works came in the early 2000s when she appeared in the movie ‘Pinjar’ (based on 1947 India partition) and in Khalid Mohammed's drama ‘Tehzeeb’ alongside Shabana Azmi. Though both these movies attracted global praise, they did not end up being commercially successful.
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In 1995 Urmila Matondkar acted in the film ‘Rangeela’ along with rising superstar Aamir Khan as the lead heroine. ‘Rangeela’ was a superhit, both commercially and critically. The film racked up a whooping Rs.15.05 crore (US$2.3 million) at the box office. The movie was nominated for 12 categories at the 41st Filmfare Awards, including a Best Actress nomination for Urmila.
In 1998, she gave a poignant performance in the critically acclaimed movie ‘Satya’. She again won a Filmfare nomination in the best actress category. ‘Satya’ not only made her one of the most successful actresses in Bollywood but also gave her the chance to prove her versatile acting skills.
Awards & Achievements
Urmila Matondkar won the ‘Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Female’ award for her role in ‘Gaayam’ in 1993.
She won the ‘Most Sensational Actress’ award in 2001 for her role in ‘Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya’
In 2004 and 2006 she won the ‘Best Actress’ award for her roles in ‘Bhoot’ and ‘Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara’ respectively at the Bollywood Movie Awards. She also won the ‘Best Actress (Critics)’ award for her role in ‘Bhoot’ at the Filmfare Awards in 2004.
On March 3, 2016, Urmila Matondkar tied the knot with Kashmir-based businessman and model Mohsin Akhtar Mir in a small private ceremony.
In addition to establishing herself among the elite female actresses in Bollywood with her versatility and challenging roles, Urmila has also been very active with her humanitarian works in the past decade. She is especially passionate about various issues faced by women and children.
She is regarded as one of the most talented and versatile actresses of all time in the Indian film industry alongside Sridevi, Juhi Chawla, and Rekha.