Saturday, December 6, 2008
Ishaa Koppikar was born in Mumbai, India. Her family is of Mangalorean origin and she has one younger brother. Koppikar graduated in Life Sciences at Ramnarain Ruia College in Mumbai. It was during her time at college that she appeared in a photoshoot for Indian photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha. The shoot led to work in advertising as a model, notably for L'Oreal, Rexona, Camay, Tips & Toes and Coca-Cola. Koppikar contested the 1995 Miss India Contest, winning the Miss Talent Crown. Her modelling work gave her an introduction to the film industry and to her first film appearance in the Tamil movie Kaadhal Kavithai in 1998. Since then, Koppikar has made over forty films and has several Hindi films in production or due for release in 2008. She continues to model for fashion designer Anita Dongre and is currently the Indian representative of the Italian fashion company Police Watches and Jewellery. Outside her work in film, music and television, Koppikar is a spokesperson for the animal rights organisation PETA.
Film career: South India
The 1997 Hindi film Ek Tha Dil Ek Thi Dhadhkan, directed by Shahrukh Sultan, is often quoted as being Ishaa Koppikar's first film, but there is no evidence the project was ever released. Koppikar's career must therefore be said to have begun with the 1998 Tamil film Kaadhal Kavithai, co-starring alongside Prashanth, and directed by Agathyan, with music by Maestro Ilaiyaraaja. Koppikar was awarded the Filmfare Best Female Debut Award. Continuing her Tamil film career, Koppikar's second movie was En Swasa Kaatre in 1998, opposite Arvind Swamy, directed by K. S. Ravikumar, with music by renowned music director A.R. Rahman. 1998 saw a third film, this time a cameo appearance in Praveen Kanth's Jodi, starring Prashanth and Simran.
In 1999, Koppikar alternated between appearances in the Telugu comedy Chandralekha, co-starring Nagarjuna and Ramya Krishnan, directed by Krishna Vamshi; and the Tamil gangland movie Nenjinile, starring Vijay and directed by S. A. Chandrasekhar.
By 2000, Koppikar's sights were on Bollywood, but this did not stop her appearing in four Kannada films: Hoo Anthiya Uhoo Anthiya with Ramesh and directed by Praveen Naik, with music by Karthik Raja; Nuvvu Vasthavani, starring and directed by Ravichandran; alongside actor-director Ravichandran again in O Nanna Nalle; and finally Surya Vamsha, directed by S Narayan and starring Vishnuvardhan in a double role as father and son.
After four films in 2000, and a detour to Mumbai for a brief appearance in Fiza and an item number in Rahul, Koppikar returned to the south in 2001 for Sundar C's Tamil project Kaathal Solla Vanthen. This was another film never to leave the development stage although a soundtrack of the same name was made available. However, the Telugu comedy Prematho Raa, starring Venkatesh and Simran, and directed by Uday Shankar, saw Koppikar's penultimate South Indian role. She signed off her South Indian career in the Tamil action film Narassima, directed by Tirupathisamy and starring Vijayakanth.
Film career: Bollywood 2000-2002
Taking time out from four Kannada films in 2000, Koppikar appeared alongside Karisma Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan in Khalid Mohammed's Fiza. An item number appearance in Prakash Jha's Rahul completed Koppikar's introduction to Hindi film. Brief returns to South India in 2001 were coupled with two more Bollywood films: Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat, directed by Rajiv Rai and starring Sunil Shetty alongside a young Arjun Rampal; and K. Raghavendra Rao's urban comedy Aamdani Atthani Kharcha Rupaiyaa, opposite Govinda, Juhi Chawla and Johnny Lever.
By 2002 Koppikar appeared to be consigned to support roles until she was asked by Ram Gopal Varma to appear in an item number for his underworld movie Company starring Ajay Devgan, Vivek Oberoi and Manisha Koirala. The number in question was Khallas, choreographed by Ganesh Hegde and the effect on cinema audiences and critics was to leave Koppikar with the enduring nickname Khallas Girl. A second notable item number, Ishq Samundar, in Sanjay Gupta's Reservoir Dogs remake Kaante, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt and Sunil Shetty, was enough to raise Koppikar's profile and in the following year she took the Stardust Award for Most Exciting New Face for Khallas.
Film career: Bollywood 2003-present
Koppikar's relentless career produced five films in 2003. In Dil Ka Rishta, directed by Naresh Malhotra, she played opposite Aishwarya Rai and Arjun Rampal. Prawaal Raman's portmanteau film Darna Mana Hai saw her alongside college whipping boy Aftab Shivdasani. Dr Chandrakprakash Dwivedi cast her in the role of Urmila Matondkar's sister in the sectarian film Pinjar, also starring Manoj Bajpai. A brief appearance in JP Dutta's war movie LOC Kargil paired her opposite Sunil Shetty again. And in Harry Baweja's Qayamat: City Under Threat, Koppikar played one of three terrorists fighting off co-stars Ajay Devgan and Sunil Shetty; a role which would bring her a Filmfare nomination in the Best Villain category.
In 2004 Ishaa Koppikar's films were releasing on average every two months. Both Mani Shankar's science fantasy Rudraksh and Kundan Shah's madcap comedy Ek Se Bhadkhar Ek teamed Koppikar next to perennial acting partner Sunil Shetty. In Krishna Cottage, she was cast opposite Sohail Khan for Santram Verma's creepy ghost story. Inteqam, directed by Pankaj Parashar and co-starring Manoj Bajpai, saw Koppikar revive the role played by Sharon Stone in the original Hollywood version: Basic Instinct. Another cameo appearance in Kunal Kohli's Hum Tum with Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukerji could have left a comedy taste to 2004, but this would be the year of street protests following Karan Razdan's controversial Girlfriend, co-starring Amrita Arora and Aashish Chaudhary caught in a lesbian love triangle. For this film, she trained to build some impressive muscles. The film provoked public poster burning and calls for the film to be banned. The Khallas Girl was in the news again.
In 2005, Koppikar eased up somewhat only releasing four films. Sangeeth Sivan's bawdy comedy Kyaa Kool Hai Hum, with Anupam Kher, Ritesh Deshmukh and Tusshar Kapoor saw Koppikar nominated in four separate award ceremonies (IIFA, Filmfare, Zee Cine Award and Star Screen Awards) for best comedy role. Two more comedies saw her make guest appearances: David Dhawan's Salman Khan vehicle Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya, and Abbas Mustan's whodunit, 36 China Town with Akshaye Khanna and Kareena Kapoor. A return to Ram Gopal Varma's Factory saw her alongside Chunkey Pandey in Vishram Sawant's gangster flick D: Underworld Badhshah, starring Randeep Hooda.
Ishaa Koppikar in the song Aaj Ki Raat
Farhan Akhtar directed a 2006 remake of the Amitabh Bachchan hit Don: The Chase Begins Again, this time with Shahrukh Khan in the lead. Koppikar was cast as Khan's moll Anita. By now the success of Don was in contrast to Koppikar's stuttering career with a string of films stuck in production or abandoned. Vicky Ranawat's Haseena Smart Sexy and Dangerous crept out towards the end of 2006, Jagdish A Sharma's murder mystery Garhee appeared on dvd, Hansel Mehta's Raakh was dropped, whilst Koppikar's highest profile film of 2007, Nikhil Advani's multi starrer Salaam-e-Ishq, saw her sharing limited screen time with Sohail Khan. Ram Gopal Varma's much discussed Shabri, directed by Lalit Marathe -a role which led to Koppikar being unrecognised in character and barred from the film set by security men- has yet to attract a distributor. To date only Ram Gopal Varma's Darling, with Fardeen Khan and Esha Deol has seen Koppikar continue any kind of momentum. Atul Agnihotri's Hello, based on the novel One Night in a Call Centre by Chetan Bhagat, has a 2008 release date and may be the first of several new movies which include Jahnu Barua's Har Phall, Manoj Tiwari's Hello Darling, Right Ya Wrong by Neeraj Pathak and Kaushik Ghatak's Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi.
Between filming Koppikar, like many Bollywood actors, performs in stage music shows. In addition to this she has appeared in two music videos: Patli Kamar by KK for a private album commissioned by Sony in 2001/2002; and Bandish Projekt's Bhor (Satyam Shivam Sundaram) in 2004, choreographed by Bosco-Caesar. In 2006 she appeared onstage in the Indian Idol Grand Final to dance with the two finalists, and 2007 saw her as one of three judges in the celebrity dance competition Nach Baliye3, alongside director David Dhawan and Vaibhavi Merchant. Koppikar served as a judge in the Miss Universe 2008 contest, held on the 14th July in Vietnam alongside, amongst others, fashion designer Roberto Cavalli and former winner in 2004 Jennifer Hawkins.
In 2008 some sections of the media started to refer to Koppikar as Eesha Koppikhar, following another name spelling change on the advice of numerologist Niraj Mancchanda.
En Swasa Kaatrae
Hoo Anthiya Uhoo Anthiya
O Nanna Nalle
Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat
Aamdani Atthani Kharcha Rupaiyaa
Dil Ka Rishta
Qayamat: City Under Threat
Darna Mana Hai
Ek Se Badhkar Ek
Inteqam: The Perfect Game
Kyaa Kool Hai Hum
Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya?
Darna Zaroori Hai
36 China Town
Don - The Chase Begins Again
Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute To Love
Haseena - Smart, Sexy, Dangerous
Ek Vivaah... Aisa Bhi
Right Yaa Wrong