Kareena's transition from 'Refugee to 'Heroine'


Kareena Kapoor also known as Bebo comes from a reputed family of actors. She followed the foot-steps of her sister Karisma Kapoor and entered the Hindi Film Industry in the year 2000. Today she is one of the most sought-after actors. But this had not been the case from the beginning. This 31-year old actor has come a long way since her Refugee days. 21st of September, 1980 marks her birthday. Let us focus on her life and her evolvement as an actor over the past years.

Early life-

She is the grand-daughter of legendary Raj Kapoor. Her parents are the noted actors Randhir Kapoor and Babita. She belongs to the first family of actors in Bollywood and thus acting has been in her blood.

After finishing her education at Welham’s Girls School she studied Commerce. Then she developed an interest in Law. However, after completing her first year in Law she started working towards pursuing her dream of becoming an actor. After taking up classes at an acting institute she made her breakthrough into films.

Her career- transition from Refugee to Heroine

Kareena was supposed to make her debut with the Hrithik Roshan starrer “Kaho Naa….Pyar Hai” in the year 2000. However, after working for the film initially she opted out. The film was being directed by Rakesh Roshan (Hrithik’s father) and it was obvious that the film was a launch pad for Hrithik. Fearing that she would not have a substantial role and would get over-shadowed by Hrithik’s presence she opted out.

In that same year, she made her debut with “Refugee”. The film starred Abhishek Bachchan who too was making his first appearance in films. It was a war drama and was directed by J.P Dutta. The movie was not that much of a success but her talent did show through in the film and she won her first Filmfare award for “Best Debut”.

In 2001 she starred opposite Jeetendra’s son Tusshar Kapoor in the film “Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai”. The film did quite well at the box office. Her first non-commercial film was “Ashoka” that starred Shah Rukh Khan. The film was critically acclaimed but her performance received mixed reactions from the audiences and critics alike.

The final release of that year was “Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham” which was a melodrama. Her character was called Poo where she had to portray a whimsical and superficial-natured girl. She did it convincingly and the film was the biggest film of that year.

The next two years she had a setback in her career with films like “Khushi”, “Mujhse Dosti Karoge” and “Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon” bombing at the box-office. Her acting abilities then were scrutinised and questioned. Her mannerism in these films looked like a caricature, artificial and repetitive.

She took the flak received from the critics on her stride and made a more calculative career move and chose films that were made on serious subjects such as “Chameli” where she played a prostitute. In Mani Ratnam’s “Yuva” which was a multi-starrer, she held her own ground. The film “Dev” won her tremendous critical acclaim. Aitraaz and Hulchul are some of the other films where her acting abilities stood-out.   

After faltering again for some time she played the role of Desdemona in Vishal Bharadwaj’s “Omkara” which was based on Shakespeare’s “Othello”. With this film she set a new benchmark. She gave a power-packed performance. She did not have too many lines in the film but she emoted effortlessly.

However, the film that she owes her success to is Imtiaz Ali’s “Jab We Met” for which she also won the “Best Actress” award. This film released in 2007 and has been a cult film. She had to portray the character of an effervescent girl named Geet. Before Kareena was known for her animated mannerisms in films that was not likeable. But in this film she acted with a control and did not go overboard. Her portrayal of Geet was endearing and won her great accolades. This film just cemented her position in this Industry and since then her stardom has only grown.

The next year she had a few back to back flops such as “Tashan”, and “Kambakkht Ishq”. The film “Kurbaan” was highly appreciated and though the film flopped her performance remains incomparable.

In 2009 released “3 Idiots” starring Aamir Khan. The film was a huge success and broke all records. Her part in the film was not meaty but then she was spunky and spontaneous in the film and portrayed her role gracefully.

The next year released “We Are Family” and the third instalment of the Golmaal series. The former received lukewarm response at the box office but her performance did not go unnoticed.

In 2011 released two of the year’s biggest films-“Bodyguard” starring Salman Khan and “Ra. One” starring Shah Rukh Khan. Both the films had Kareena as the female lead and this gave her tremendous commercial success.

This year released “Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu” starring Imran Khan. The film was a success. The film was loosely based on the Hollywood film “What happens in Vegas”. The character of Riana Braganza in this film was that of a free-spirited and affable girl. She portrayed this character naturally and this thoroughly shows her maturity as an actor. Her next release was “Agent Vinod” which bombed at the box-office.

The most-awaited film of the year is “Heroine” which Kareena claims completes her journey as an actor in the Hindi Film Industry. The film is directed by Madhur Bhandarkar. The film was initially offered to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who because of her pregnancy had to opt out.

The film is woman-centric and Kareena carries this film on her shoulders. Kareena has many shades to her character of Mahi that she portrays in the film. This film marks her evolvement and growth as that of an actor. She has come a long way and has shown tremendous maturity and development in her acting skills and expressions. She is a refined actor today and this shows in her career graph.

Personal Life-

Kareena started dating actor Shahid Kapoor in the year 2004. They broke up just before the film “Jab We Met” which was their last film together released in 2007.

Kareena fell for Saif Ali Khan on the sets of Tashan. They made it public the same year she split with Shahid.  Kareena and Saif today are the super-couple of Bollywood. The news of their marriage this year in October is getting stronger day by day.

Kareena has set a benchmark in this Industry and she has proved herself as one of the best actors. We hope her film “Heroine” that is releasing on her birthday breaks all records and puts her on another level of stardom.