Juhi Chawla (born 13 November 1967) is an Indian actress and the 1984 Miss India winner. Primarily working in Hindi cinema, she has also appeared in Bengali, Punjabi, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu language films. The recipient of two Filmfare Awards, she has been praised for her comic timing and vivacious on-screen persona.
Juhi kumar Chawla
Chawla at Lakme Fashion Week in 2017
|Spouse(s)||Jay Mehta (m. 1995)|
Chawla made her acting debut with Sultanat (1986), and received recognition with the tragic romance Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988). She established herself by starring in several commercially successful films, including Pratibandh (1990), Bol Radha Bol (1992), Aaina (1993), Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (1993), Darr (1993), Ram Jaane (1995), Deewana Mastana (1997), Yes Boss (1997) and Ishq (1997). Chawla later garnered critical acclaim for her work in Jhankaar Beats (2003), My Brother Nikhil (2005), I Am (2011), Gulaab Gang (2014) and Chalk n Duster (2016).
Early life and background
Juhi Chawla was born on 13 November 1967 and raised in Ambala, Haryana, India. Her father was an officer of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS). She completed her schooling at Fort Convent School, Bombay (present-day Mumbai), and graduated from Sydenham College, Bombay. Chawla was the winner of the Miss India title in 1984. She also won the Best Costume Award at the Miss Universe contest in 1984.
1986–1988: Breakthrough and rise to stardom
Chawla ventured into films with the 1986 Sultanat but it turned out to be a commercial failure. She went on to act in the Kannada classic Premaloka, directed by Ravichandran in 1987. Chawla's performance was well received by both critics and audiences. She also starred opposite Prosenjit Chatterjee in two films. Her first major role in Bollywood was in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak in 1988, in which she starred with Aamir Khan. The film, a modern-day adaption of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, became both a major critical and commercial success. A film critic wrote: "Juhi Chawla already shows that she's here to stay. Not only is she naturally vivacious but she, in a wonderfully subtle way, displays Rashmi's innocence, childlikeness and determination. It's no surprise that since then Aamir and Juhi have been popular for their on-screen chemistry." Another critic wrote "Though most people credit Aamir, this film is a classic more because of Juhi. Her charm and charisma including her "next-door girl" image created a phenomenon in India; Her plain yet so elegant salwar-suits or her innocent smile that made people crazy." It won the Filmfare Best Movie Award, and Chawla became the first ever actress to win the Filmfare Award for Lux New Face of the Year and received her first nomination for Filmfare Best Actress Award. The film has since attained cult status, with the entertainment portal Bollywood Hungama crediting it as a "pathbreaking and trendsetting film" for Indian cinema.
In 1990, she starred in Pratibandh, which was a box office success and her performance was lauded by critics, as written: "Most of Juhi Chawla's sequences are worth the watch just for her terrific performance. She is simply superb as Shanti, a toy seller who finds herself charged with murder." She also received her second nomination for the Filmfare Best Actress Award for the film. Her other release of the year was the family drama Swarg alongside Rajesh Khanna and Govinda, that marked her first of many collaborations with David Dhawan and Govinda. The film was one of the highest grossers of the year.
In 1992, she appeared in Bol Radha Bol alongside Rishi Kapoor, for which she received her third Filmfare nomination for best actress. A critic wrote "Juhi was as perfect as one could wish. As a simple village belle with feisty nature she was just lovely to look at, and even after getting a sexy make-over in the second part there was still beautiful innocence to her. Her comic timing was spot on as always". Later that year, she appeared in Aziz Mirza's comedy Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, the film was her first of many collaborations with Shah Rukh Khan. The film was a success at the box office and garnered immense praise for the performances and the chemistry of the lead actors. A critic stated: "Juhi Chawla as a normal middle-class working woman is delightful to see. She's got guts to charm everyone by her very sensitive and sensible acting." Shah Rukh Khan attributed the success of the film to Chawla as she was a big star at that time and he was still a newcomer.
In 1993, she appeared in four of the top-grossing productions of the year. Her first release was the multi-starrer Lootere, opposite Sunny Deol, Naseeruddin Shah, Chunkey Pandey and Anupam Kher; the film was a success at the box office. She was praised for her acting and looks in the film; a film critic wrote "Juhi Chawla sheds her girl-next-door image with Lootere and transforms into Bollywood sex siren with 'Main Teri Rani Tu Raja Mera' song. Performance-wise Chawla steals the show. Her acting is flawless and her screen presence and beauty make it all the better." Her next release was Aaina, co-starring Jackie Shroff, and was produced by Yash Chopra, the film was a big hit at the box office, solidifying Chawla's position as the leading lady of the 1990s. The critics praised her performance in the film and wrote: "1993 was Juhi Chawla's year with such films as Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke in which she delivered an excellent comic performance, and Darr, for which many still remember her as that highly desired "K-k-k-kiran". I actually like her more either in comedy or in roles of smart and sophisticated women, but this one definitely works. Her fragility looks very natural and so does her character's gradual transformation."
Her third release was Mahesh Bhatt's romantic comedy Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke opposite Aamir Khan, which many critics called her career's best performance. Critics wrote "Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla have already proved to be a great on-screen pair and here they shine once again. Aamir Khan is effective in a suitably restrained performance but it is Juhi Chawla who steals the show with her comic nirvana. Easily she is the funniest actor in the history of Hindi cinema and it would be a tough challenge for any actor to match up to that. Moreover, her effortless dialogue delivery in Tamil (especially for someone who doesn't speak the language) only further prove what a gifted actress she is." Another critic wrote: "The film ultimately belongs to Juhi, because she is the soul of all things. She is the active reason of things happening. She is the fun. She is that innocence people love. It is difficult to imagine any other actress in this role. Such is her natural charm and comic sense in this one, and she truly deserved the Filmfare she received. Looking sweet and simple throughout the film she makes you smile with her mere presence. This is definitely her best performance. Add to it she is acting opposite Aamir, the two complement each other and share a crackling chemistry and you are left with a feeling of bliss". The pairing of Chawla with Khan (one of the most popular on screen pairings of the 1990s) resulted in hype over the film's release, and it proved a major commercial and critical success. Her comic-dramatic performance met with unanimous critical acclaim and won her several awards, including the Filmfare Best Actress Award for her performance in the film. With this win, she became the first actress to win both the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut and Filmfare Award for Best Actress award.
Her last release of the year was Yash Chopra's thriller Darr, alongside Sunny Deol and Shah Rukh Khan. The film was one of the highest grossing films of the year, making it Chawla's fourth consecutive box office hit of the year. Darr was also a major critical success, winning several awards including the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. Her performance as Kiran, a girl caught between one man's love and other man's obsession was widely appreciated and to date remains one of her most memorable performances. A critic wrote: "In Darr she gets to display all her talent, be it the frightened look on her face on seeing Rahul, be it the twinkle in the eyes during the song Tu Hai Meri Kiran or the comic chemistry with Anupam Kher, it is one of her best performances." Rediff stated "Sensuous, seductive, gorgeous, cute, vulnerable -Juhi looked every bit of a dream girl her Kiran needed to be." Chawla's curly hair and off shoulder dress became the trademark in the 90s with her film Darr. All these successes made her the most successful actress of the year.
Most of Chawla's films released in 1994 to 1996 were unsuccessful, though she appeared in Saajan Ka Ghar alongside Rishi Kapoor; Ram Jaane alongside Shah Rukh Khan, Naajayaz alongside Ajay Devgn and Loafer alongside Anil Kapoor, all of which were moderately successful at the box office. She received critical acclaim for her performance as a battered wife in Abbas Mustan's thriller Daraar and she received a Filmfare nomination for her performance in the film . Critics praised her performance writing; "Juhi was really amazing in the second half. She is both vulnerable and powerful, and she looks gorgeous. Her portrayal of the abused woman, who simply decides that enough is enough, is extremely sensitive and believable. She breaks your heart pleading with her husband as he prepares to give her a beating, you fear for her in her plight, and you are proud of her once she faces him."
She returned in 1997 with the top-grossing romantic comedies Yes Boss, Deewana Mastana and Ishq. Ishq became one of the top-earners of the year. Her performance in the film was widely appreciated. A critic wrote: "It is Juhi Chawla, however, who steals the show with her high voltage comic delivery that is, appropriately, screamingly funny. Even in the parts when Indra Kumar has seemingly asked her to "stretch" to be funny, she carries the scenes off with aplomb and skill. Her chemistry with Aamir is undeniable and the most memorable portions of the film revolve around their relationship." Another critic wrote: "Juhi Chawla is very pretty and good fun to watch, and it is her very energetic performance that makes the film extremely interesting and comical."
Her other release of the year, Yes Boss, co-starring Aditya Pancholi and Shah Rukh Khan was also a major commercial and a critical success; Chawla's portrayal of Seema Mathur was lauded by critics and she received her sixth Filmfare nomination for her portrayal of a model in the film. Critics wrote "Juhi Chawla is astonishing and enchanting as Seema. She displays both decisiveness, liveliness and confusion, and shows many sides of her personality, including dreaminess, love, anger and compassion. The growth in her character is believable, and as expected she is splendid in comic sequences." Planet Bollywood said: "This is Chawla's best movie, she stands beautiful and can easily outshine other actresses in acting as well as looks. Her acting is the strong point of the film and this film gives her the chance to portray a multilayered character and show how her versatility."
In the comedy Deewana Mastana, Chawla played Dr. Neha Sharma, love interest to both Kapoor and Govinda and ends up marrying Salman Khan. Planet Bollywood wrote: "Juhi needs to look gorgeous in the movie, while showing indifference towards the monkeys who are after her. She is impeccable in the acting requirements, but looking beautiful is not always easy since working in a David Dhawan movie requires the hero and heroine to wear garishly coloured/designed outfits. However, in the end Juhi probably won over David and in the entire film her attire and looks could both kill". The film was a major commercial success and performed extremely well at the box office. Her other release of the year was Mr and Mrs Khiladi alongside Akshay Kumar. The film turned out to be an average grosser and Chawla's performance received immense appreciation. A critic wrote: "Juhi Chawla, as usual has done wonders in the film and her chirpy, zestful role proves her comic talent, that no other Indian actress has." Another critic said "As expected Juhi Chawla dominates the show with her perfect comic timing. Indian women are never expected to be funny, but Juhi gets all the respect in my book for being the reigning comic beauty of India." Planet Bollywood while reviewing the film, wrote: "Juhi's comedic timing (as well as her look in the movie) is near perfection".
In 1998, she appeared once again alongside Shah Rukh Khan in Duplicate, the film was produced by Yash Johar and was directed by Mahesh Bhatt. The film underperformed at the box office upon its release. However, Chawla won much appreciation for her performance and her chemistry with Khan was also appreciated. A critic wrote "Juhi Chawla is one of my favourite actresses and she is simply wonderful here. I'm not sure how she manages to keep a straight face through some of Shah Rukh's more insane moments, but she plays Sonia as quite a serious career woman with a tendency to lecture in English. Although I do prefer her romance with Shah Rukh in Yes Boss they still make a sweet couple here." The same year, she appeared in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's swan song Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate alongside Anil Kapoor; her performance was appreciated by the audiences and critics alike. Rediff while reviewing the film wrote: "Only Juhi as the daughter is not based on any character from Hrishida's collection. She carries off her role with her inevitable chirpiness, and looks very good too. Hrishida was right when he told me that Juhi's serene face suited the kind of sacrifice she would make in the film. Only Jaya Bhaduri has managed that serenity in Hrishida's films." However, the film flopped at the box office. The same year, she also appeared in Priyadarshan's rural drama Saat Rang Ke Sapne opposite Arvind Swamy. Though the film underperformed at the box-office, Chawla's portrayal of a gypsy met with immense critical appreciation. The same year, she also appeared in the Malayalam detective comedy film Harikrishnans opposite Mohanlal and Mammootty. Her performance in the film was met with appreciation. The film received a great pre-release hype due to the combined screen presence of Mohanlal, Mammootty and Juhi Chawla. Harikrishnans was the highest grossing Malayalam film of 1998.
In 1999, she appeared in Arjun Pandit alongside Sunny Deol, the film was a success at the box office and Chawla received favorable reviews for her role with shades of grey in the film, a critic while reviewing the film for planet Bollywood wrote: "Juhi is great during the climax as already mentioned, her character has several shades, in the first half she is bubbly and fun-loving and later on her character takes a U-turn, her performance shows her versatility and she clearly overshadows the hero in the film, she gives a great performance. Juhi makes the best of what she is given." The same year, she also starred opposite Sanjay Dutt in the adventure film Safari, the film was a flop. However, Chawla's chemistry with Dutt was appreciated; a critic wrote: "Juhi and Sanjay visibly had great fun playing all this – watching them is sheer delight. Juhi is a dream – be it with leather cap and aviator goggles, in an appealing native outfit or after an involuntary mud-bath." Another critic wrote: "Juhi is very funny as Anjali, she finds herself out of her depth. In her element she is feisty and self-assured, making her a good foil for Sanjay's macho Kishan. They are sweet together."
2000–2009: Continuing in other roles and critical acclaim
In 2000, she, alongside Shah Rukh Khan and Aziz Mirza, opened a production company called Dreamz Unlimited. The romantic comedy Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani was the company's first production starring Chawla and Khan. Upon release, the film underperformed at the box office, though over the years it has been appreciated for its bold theme on media wars. Chawla's performance as the journalist Ria Banarjee received immense appreciation from the critics. Rediff wrote: "This is probably one of Juhi's best performances. She has never looked better and once again, like Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke, she shows a flair for comedy". Another critic wrote: "Juhi Chawla, a veritable goddess of the silver screen, gives her character the right amount of charisma, charm and sophistication. Another bonus is that Juhi looks stunning in every scene". Her other release of the year was Rakesh Roshan's delayed release Karobaar: The Business of Love, the film was in the making for over five years and when it was released it flopped at the box office, though Chawla's performance was praised. Planet Bollywood wrote: "While watching Karobaar, Juhi Chawla's transformation as an actress from a perky-and-cute Juhi of the early 1990s to the voluptuous beauty she is today is apparent. Her performance is also quite good. She delivers in the emotional sequences and looks very good. This movie is certainly one for all Juhi fans, if you want to watch her progress over the years.".
In 2001, she appeared in the action comedy One 2 Ka 4 with Shah Rukh Khan, in their seventh collaboration together and with Jackie Shroff, the film was a flop at the box office. Chawla played three roles in the film; a haryanvi maid, a bar dancer and an undercover cop, her performance met with appreciation from the critics, saying: "The one who completely blew me away is Juhi. A gifted comedienne, she is absolutely charming and hilarious in a comic role which seems to be tailor-made for her. This is one of her most entertaining performances". Another release of the year was the comedy Aamdani Atthani Kharcha Rupaiyaa opposite Govinda. After these films Chawla moved towards more serious and offbeat cinema.
Throughout the next years of the decade, Chawla started appearing in independent and art films, and her work in the genre included the critically acclaimed films 3 Deewarein, 7½ Phere and My Brother Nikhil, which Taran Adarsh termed as "amongst the finest in her career" and Khalid Mohamed praised as "perfect," stating that "her effortless blend of conflicting emotions is what A-class acting is all about. Ms Chawla is a diamond in this little gem of a movie." She won a Star Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress for 3 Deewarein.
She was seen in Nikhil Advani's Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute To Love for which she received good reviews. Critics wrote: "among women it is Juhi Chawla with her sensitive approach who has the greatest acting prowess" She starred with Urmila Matondkar in Bas Ek Pal (2006) and with Manoj Bajpai in Swami. Chawla then appeared in Ravi Chopra's Bhoothnath with Amitabh Bachchan, in which she made her singing debut with the song "Chalo Jaane Do", the film was a moderate success and Chawla was appreciated for her role. Another film called Krazzy 4 with Irfan Khan and Arshad Warsi was released in 2008, the film failed to do well at the box office. In 2009, she appeared in a guest appearance in Luck By Chance to play a comic part for which she dyed her hair blonde. The film and Chawla's performance got extremely positive reviews and got a good opening at the box office.
Chawla has appeared in several non-Hindi language films. She has appeared in various Punjabi films: Shaheed Uddham Singh (2000), Des Hoyaa Pardes (2004), Waris Shah: Ishq Daa Waaris (2006) and Sukhmani – Hope for Life (2010). Her first Malayalam film was Harikrishnans, which also starred actors Mohanlal and Mammootty. In the beginning of her career, she acted in Kannada films, which include the successful Premaloka and unsuccessful films such as Shanthi Kranthi and Kindara Jogi. She acted with popular Kannada actor Ravichandran in all these three films.
Work After Hiatus (2010–present)
In 2011, Chawla starred in Onir's critically acclaimed feature I Am (2011). Unfolded in several chapters, the film starred Chawla alongside Manisha Koirala in an episode named "I Am Megha". She played the title role of which critic Taran Adarsh commented: "It's a delight to watch Juhi and Manisha, after a hiatus. Both deliver striking performances – even getting the language right." For her performance, Chawla was awarded the Best Actress award at the 13th London Asian Film Festival and Award for Excellence in Hindi Cinema at the Asiavision Movie Awards. Chawla's performance also earned her a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress. In 2017, she played an Indian defence minister in the Alt Balaji web series The Test Case.
Chawla is the only top actress in the 1990s who has never worked with Salman Khan in a full-fledged role opposite him, although Salman Khan did a friendly appearance as her husband in the 1997 release Deewana Mastana.
After appearing in offbeat films and occasionally playing guest roles throughout the decade, Chawla made a full-fledged comeback in 2014 with the heavily hyped woman-centric Gulaab Gang alongside her once arch-rival Madhuri Dixit. This was the first time in her long career that she played an antagonist. Her negative role in the film was widely appreciated and her performance earned rave reviews. Many critics called it her career's best performance, and many critics said that Juhi Chawla's villainous avatar overpowers Madhuri Dixit Nene's heroic act.
Bollywood life wrote: "It's quite surprising as well as delightful to watch Juhi, who is known for her angelic roles, playing a mean evil politico head. She sends policemen on sick-leave when they refuse to bow in front of her. She takes revenge from people who call her "Soumitra" instead of addressing her as the "Madamji". She mocks tears during a political speech as she talks about her late husband and in the next scene curses the insurance company for not giving her the due money. Bollywood has got it's [sic] new villain in Juhi. Though the dhak-dhak girl enjoys more screen presence as compared to Juhi, it's the latter who shines brighter in this film."
Emirates wrote: "This, however, works in favour of Juhi, who emerges far more influential and striking as the conniving politico head "Madam". Devoid of any references to her earlier Bollywood image, Juhi sticks to her character, and brilliantly plays her various insecurities and her determination to strike out at anyone in the race to political glory. And this, despite being given a role that's got far less prominence in the script than rebel frontrunner Rajjo. Although the character could have appeared jaded, Juhi plays it with impeccable restraint and concentrates on her wavering temperament with incredible flair, making this her most significant performance to date."
Another critic wrote: "Though the project was widely promoted as a Madhuri Dixit film in its entire promotional campaign and print advertisements. But in reality its Juhi Chawla who makes a more killer impact in her first ever role of a vamp unarguably. Hence as an exciting surprise, here we have the beautiful Juhi in a completely new negative avatar played real well, offering a lot more than the viewer's expectations from the talented actress. In other words, where Madhuri's decent attempt struggles to make an instant connect due to her mixed language (accent) or all meaningless songs (dances), there Juhi takes the full advantage of this unintentional flaw and emerges as a clear winner in this on-screen contest, evidently."
She was also nominated for the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In 2016, she starred as the main protagonist in the woman-centric drama Chalk n Duster with Shabana Azmi. The film received positive to mixed reviews from critics and Chawla's performance was appreciated.
In 1998, Chawla participated in a concert tour entitled Awesome Foursome alongside Shahrukh Khan, Kajol, and Akshay Kumar across the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States of America, and resumed the tour in Malaysia the following year.
In 2009, Chawla featured as a talent judge, for the third season of Sony Entertainment Television India's dance reality show, Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa alongside Saroj Khan and Vaibhavi Merchant. In 2011, she hosted Colors's kid's chat-show Badmaash Company- Ek Shararat Hone Ko Hai.
In 2008, Chawla, in partnership with Shah Rukh Khan and her husband Jay Mehta, acquired ownership rights for the franchise representing Kolkata in the Twenty20 cricket tournament Indian Premier League (IPL) for US$75.09 million, and named the team Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). The team won in 2012 and repeated the feat in 2014.
She was appointed the brand ambassador by the Government of India for the Ministry of Women & Child Development's third edition of Women's Organic Festival of India.
Juhi Chawla married industrialist Jay Mehta in 1995. The couple have two children: a daughter Jhanvi born in 2001 and a son Arjun born in 2003. In an interview Juhi revealed that Jhanvi wants to be a writer, instead of joining films.
Jay Mehta and Juhi Chawla are the co-owners of the Indian Premier League team Kolkata Knight Riders in partnership with Shahrukh Khan under their company Red Chillies Entertainment. Her brother Bobby Chawla was the CEO of Red Chillies Entertainment. He suffered a massive stroke in 2010 after a dinner party. After being in coma for about four years, he died on 9 March 2014. Her sister, Sonia, died from cancer on 30 October 2012.
Awards and nominations
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