Childhood & Early Life
Yukta was born on October 7, 1977 (or 1979, according to some sources), in Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra, India, into a Sindhi-speaking family. Her father, Inderlal, worked as the managing director of 'Ragz Clothing Company' and currently works as a real-estate agent. He also deals in stocks and bonds. Yukta's mother, Aruna, owns and runs a grooming salon called 'Swiss Chalet' in Santa Cruz, Mumbai.
Yukta lived in Dubai, U.A.E., for 7 years, when her father was posted there. She completed her primary education in Dubai. Her family moved back to India in 1986 and lived at Mahatma Gandhi Road, Mulund (West) in Mumbai.
She resumed her school in Mumbai. She then attended 'V.G. Vaze College' in Mulund and graduated with a degree in zoology. She also studied fine arts for 3 years and did a diploma course in computers from 'Aptech.' Yukta has also been trained in Hindustani classical music for 3 years.
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Yukta was 19 when she participated in the 'Femina Miss India' 1999 contest. She was eventually crowned as the 'Miss India World' (first runner-up) at the grand finale, losing the 'Miss India Universe' title to Gul Panag.
According to the 'Femina Miss India' norms, she then represented India at the 'Miss World' 1999 pageant.
On December 4, 1999, the 49th 'Miss World' pageant was held at 'Olympia,' London, with contestants from around the world competing for the title. Yukta beat all the 93 participants to earn the 'Miss World' title, becoming the fourth Indian to win the title after Reita Faria in 1966, Aishwarya Rai in 1994, and Diana Hayden in 1997.
She was crowned by the previous year's titleholder, Linor Abargil from Israel. Additionally, Yukta bagged the 'Asia & Oceania's Queen of Beauty Award' during the pageant.
In an interview later, Yukta mentioned that film producers had approached her to cash in on her 'Miss World' title by casting her in their projects. However, most of the offers she received were lousy, and the pay, too, was not good.
Yukta made her film debut with a dance number in the 2001 Tamil movie 'Poovellam Un Vasam,' which starred Jyothika and Ajith Kumar in the lead roles. Her first Hindi film, 'Pyaasa,' released the following year. The movie featured her as a business tycoon named 'Sheetal Oberoi,' opposite Aftab Shivdasani.
The film turned out to be a disaster at the box office. Critics not only panned the movie but also criticized Yukta's acting skills.
Her next release was the 2006 thriller film 'Katputtli,' in which she played 'Anju.' She made a cameo appearance in the comedy 'Love in Japan.' Both the films were massive failures at the box office.
Yukta then performed a dance number in the 2007 Bhojpuri release 'Kab Kahaba Tu I Love You,' starring Amar Upadhaya.
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Yukta's last film appearance was in the 2008 drama film 'Memsahab - Lost in a Mirage,' in which she played 'Anjali,' a riot victim pushed into prostitution. The movie was supposed to be her “comeback film,” with a strong and powerful performance. Unfortunately, this film, too, crashed at the box office.
She later ventured into politics and joined the Indian political party 'Bharatiya Janata Party' (B.J.P.) in 2004.
Family & Personal Life
Yukta was married to Prince Tuli, a New York-based businessman and financial consultant. The couple had a son, Ahhrein, in November 2010. Tuli has an MBA degree and has worked for 'JP Morgan' in New York. He has lived in the U.S. for 10 years.
They first met in 2008, when Yukta was in Nagpur, Maharashtra, for the promotion of her film 'Memsaab.' She stayed at his family-owned hotel, 'Tuli International.' They were introduced by common contacts but did not exchange contact numbers initially. Tuli eventually got to speak to her and met her a couple of times. Eventually, they decided to meet each other's parents.
They were engaged on September 7, 2008, at the 'Grand Maratha' in Mumbai, while their traditional Sikh wedding ceremony was held on November 2 that year, at a Nagpur gurudwara, followed by a reception.
Unfortunately, the marriage turned sour within the first month itself. She stayed with her in-laws for 4 years but then finally moved back to her parents' house in Mumbai.
On July 4, 2012, she filed a case of domestic violence against Tuli and his family, and on May 16, 2013, he applied for divorce.
In July 2013, Yukta registered another complaint against Tuli, and a “First Information Report” (F.I.R.) was lodged under Section 498A (cruelty and harassment) and Section 377 (unnatural sex) of the 'Indian Penal Code.' In June 2014, they had a divorce on mutual consent.
Several non-cognizable offenses were lodged against Tuli previously. In an interview later, Yukta revealed that Tuli and his entire family suffered from psychological issues. She revealed that before their marriage, her would-be sister-in-law had interrogated her about her income and assets, in a hotel.
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Additionally, Tuli had once revealed to her that every male member of his family had mistresses. She also stressed on the fact that he had lost his older brother to drugs and alcoholism. Tuli, too, was extremely violent.
Yukta has been spiritually inclined from the age of 13, and regularly visited her Guruji's ashram in Ganeshpuri, as a child. Her in-laws had accused her of making attempts to convert them into Hindus. However, she relied on spirituality while she was in the abusive marriage and even when she was going through her divorce.
Yukta also stated that Tuli was not even a good father, as he had never shown any feelings toward their son. He had continued to abuse her during her pregnancy and even after the delivery. He had even maltreated the child.
Yukta is involved with several social and charitable causes, primarily for people with HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, and thalassemia. She has also pledged her organs. In 2010, she pledged to donate her eyes.
Yukta was cast in the 2003 Jay Prakash-directed film 'Market' but had to drop out due to an injury. The makers later roped in Manisha Koirala for the lead role.
She had also started shooting for 'Insaaf - The Justice' but dropped out after a month.
Yukta was signed for the Anil Matoo-directed film 'Kab Kyon Kahan,' co-starring Chandrachur Singh. She was later replaced. The film, too, was shelved later.
She had signed a C-grade film called 'Gulabo' before she had become 'Miss World.' She, however, left the film midway, because by then, she had become popular.
She had also signed 'International Cine Inc.' production's 'Hum Teeno - Three Is Company' (2003), which was shelved later.