Simran Bagga (born Rishibhala Navel; 4 April 1976), also known by the mononym Simran, is an Indian film actress, producer and television personality. She has predominantly appeared in Tamil, Telugu language films, as well as a few films in Hindi, Malayalam and Kannada.
Simran in 2011
4 April 1976
|Occupation||Actor, producer, television artist, former model|
|Spouse(s)||Kamal Bagga (m.2003)|
|Parent(s)||Ashok Navel |
Simran was born in Mumbai and spent most of her childhood there. Although Simran initially aspired to become a fashion designer, she accepted offers to join the Indian film industry, which came as a result of her fame as an anchor in the show Superhit Muqabla, making her Bollywood debut in Sanam Harjai (1995). Having acted in a few Hindi films, she later achieved her first success with Tere Mere Sapne (1996) alongside Arshad Warsi. Subsequently, she made her debut in South Indian cinema through the Malayalam film Indraprastham in 1996, and starred in her first Kannada film Simhada Mari and Telugu film Abbai Gari Pelli the following year.
The same year, she debuted in Tamil through V. I. P. and was followed by a string of commercial successes in her early career. In 1999, Simran received critical praise for playing a blind woman in Thulladha Manamum Thullum. However, the turning point of her career came with the success of Vaali (1999), which made Simran the most successful actress in the industry. At the peak of her career she agreed to play the role of an antagonist in Parthen Rasithen (2000) and a suffering woman from a premarital agreement in Priyamaanavale (2000), both went on to become commercial and critical successes. She received her first Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Actress for Kannathil Muthamittal (2002), as the mother of an adopted 9-year-old daughter. Other than romantic dramas, Simran had also appeared in two comedy films alongside Kamal Haasan; Pammal K. Sambandam and Panchathantiram, both released in 2002. In Telugu, Simran starred in a series of commercially successful films; Samarasimha Reddy (1999), Kalisundam Raa (2000) and Narasimha Naidu (2001), and for latter both, she received Filmfare Award for Best Telugu Actress nominations. With the success of the 2004 Sci Fi film New, Simran left the film industry following her marriage with her childhood family friend Deepak Bagga. In 2008, she made a comeback to Tamil cinema with Vaaranam Aayiram, where she played the role of a mother and a wife to the characters played by Suriya and won the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In 1998, entertainment portal Rediff.com called her "one of Tamil cinema's top female draws". In 1999, she was featured in Forbes Magazine as the most prolific actress with a diverse portfolio from the Indian subcontinent. Well noted for her dancing and acting skills in the Indian film industry, she won three Filmfare Awards South including Best Female Debut for Once More, V. I. P. and Nerrukku Ner, one Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress for Thulladha Manamum Thullum, three Cinema Express Awards and was awarded the Kalaimamani award twice, in 1999 for her acting talent in films Thulladha Manamum Thullum & Vaali and in 2003 by appreciating her dancing skills.
Having her film career spanning from 1995, she has featured in 93 Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi films.
Personal life and background
Simran was born as Rishibhala Naval to Punjabi parents in Mumbai; her father is Ashok Naval and mother is Sharda. Simran has two sisters, Monal and Jyothi Naval, and a brother named Sumith. She did her schooling from St. Anthony's high school, Versova and finished her B.Com in Mumbai. She speaks Punjabi, Hindi, English, and Tamil. Simran is a trained dancer and can perform Bharatanatyam and Salsa.
Debut and breakthrough (1995–1997)
Simran made her debut in the 1995 Hindi film Sanam Harjai, directed by Saawan Kumar. It was the first Indian film to be shot in New Zealand and Simran stayed and shot abroad for three months, though the film was disaster at box office. Jaya Bachchan saw Simran presenting the show Superhit Muqabla on Doordarshan's Metro channel, and subsequently offered her a leading role in her production, the romantic drama Tere Mere Sapne (1996); she particularly became known for the hit song Aankh Marey opposite co-star Arshad Warsi. Simran then starred in supporting roles in Muqaddar, Angaara and Daadagiri; Bal Bramhachari, Agni Morcha, Gunda Gardi opposite Aditya Pancholi, Ayub Khan and along with Dharmendra. Meanwhile, she has been acting in South Indian languages and was a huge star in Tamil and Telugu cinema.
Her first South Indian film was the Malayalam film Indraprastham. In 1997, she appeared in her Kannada debut Simhada Mari, opposite Shivarajkumar. Prior to her debut in Tamil films, Simran was associated with two projects which failed to materialize in 1996, Parthiepan's Soththukatchi and Bharathiraja's Siragugal Murivadhillai.
Her Tamil cinema debut was in 1997, marked with films Once More and V. I. P.. But she signed her first Tamil movie with multi-starrer Nerukku Ner. Yet the former two projects were released prior to the release of Nerukku Ner and earned her recognition.
In Once More she played the love-interest of Vijay along with veteran actors Sivaji Ganesan and Saroja Devi directed by S. A. Chandrasekhar. The film was a box office hit and stated that the film was a commercial family entertainer. And in V. I. P. she was seen opposite Prabhu Deva along with Abbas and Rambha, directed by D. Sabhapathi. The song "Minnal Oru Kodi" picturized with Prabhu Deva and Simran becoming a chartbuster and all-time hit for the actors. The film had no scope of performance and a critic noted as "Thankfully, not much is required from Abbas or Simran in the acting department." Both the movies emerged her to fetch Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut – South for the year. for Nerukku Ner she again played opposite to Vijay and Suriya (which marked debut of Suriya) and produced by director Mani Ratnam. Simran was signed by Vasanth after he was impressed with her looks in Tere Mere Sapne. The film well received by audiences and critics and became one of the highest grossers of the year. Though Simran had no role to speak off, her Dance for the songManam Virumbuthe Unnai made her instant sensation in Tamil movie industry. Karan Bali, writing for Upperstall noted "Heroines are just for eye-candy and among two,Simran who really shines with her glam factor and her gracious dance steps". Her next release for the year is a teenage love story Poochudava opposite Abbas directed by Udayasankar is too a commercial and also musically hit.
Her debut Telugu movie was Abbayi Gari Pelli in 1997, opposite Suman, which opened to poor reviews. But her next Maa Nannaku Pelli opposite Krishnam Raju and Meka Srikanth is a commercial and critical success. The movie earned Nandi Award for Akkineni Award for Best Home-viewing Feature Film. Then Priya O Priya remake of 1994 Bollywood film Yeh Dillagi became a titular role for the actress and also a commercial success. Filmfans association critics noted "Obviously Simran is the best debut among current new faces".
Success and stardom (1998–1999)
Following successful debuts in Tamil and Telugu films, in 1998 she had her first release in K. S. Ravikumar's Kondattam, opposite Arjun, which is a commercial failure. But she tasted the success in her other successful movies such as Natpukkaga (1998), Aval Varuvala (1998) and Kannedhirey Thondrinal (1998) with leading actors Sarath Kumar, Ajith Kumar and Prashanth respectively.
In Natpukkaga, she again team up with director K. S. Ravikumar paired opposite Sarath Kumar, the movie won several awards including Filmfare Award for Best Film – Tamil. Simran's role as modern belle prabavati who revenge Chinnayya (Sarath Kumar) for her mother's murder was praised by reviewers. Another success with Ajith Kumar in Aval Varuvala, a Tamil remake of the 1997 Telugu film Pelli. Her role as women suffers from adultery by her husband, was well received by the critics, "Simran proves that she can act too and most of her lip-sync is appreciable". The next film, Kannedhirey Thondrinal directed by Ravichandran was opened to positive reviews. For the first time, she paired with Prashanth. The success of the movie later led them to be paired in successful movies like Jodi, Parthen Rasithen and Thamizh. Her positive feedback got her a nomination in Filmfare award for her performance.
In 1999 all her movies became highly successful ventures and the year was the luckiest for the actress. Her first release for the year is Thulladha Manamum Thullum, opposite Vijay. The film had a theatrical run for more than 200 days in theatres at Tamil Nadu. As a blind woman, she was highly appreciated for her performance in the film. She received Tamil Nadu State Award for Best Actress and also nominated for Filmfare award. Behindwoods noted her performance as one of the best blind roles ever played by an actor in Tamilcinema. The film was later remade in Telugu as Nuvvu Vastavani and she reprised her role again on the requisition of the actor Akkineni Nagarjuna. Her next release opposite Ajith Kumar is Vaali, it tells the story of Deva and Shiva, two look-alike siblings, with Deva being deaf and dumb. When Shiva marries his sweetheart Priya, Deva becomes obsessed with and lusts for Priya (played by Simran). The New Indian Express labelled Simran's portrayal as "Outstanding". The film ran for more than 200 days and was a box office hit. Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan dated 16 May 1999 praised the film by giving 45 marks and mentioned "Simran proved that she can act well than her contemporaries". for which she won Cinema Express Award for Best Actress – Tamil and another nomination for Filmfare award. She revealed that after working on the film, she became "alert in her choice of films", only signing ventures which had big production banners. Another successful feather in her cap is Jodi, with Prashanth. The film opened in September 1999 to positive reviews and became an average. Her role joyful Brahmin girl appreciated by critics. Her next film was Kanave Kalaiyadhe with Murali, in which she played dual roles as bubbly Punjabi girl falls for south Indian boy (played by Murali) and a matured south Indian Brahmin girl, also gained mixed reviews. This is the only film she played dual role in her entire cinema career. Kannupada Poguthaiya with Vijayakanth was her next where she played a village belle who forced to marry the brother of the man she loves, which was an average. She then played a woman left alone in a joint family in Time opposite Prabhu Deva. The same year she did "Thottu Thottu Pesum" in Edhirum Pudhirum and "Maana Madhura" in Anthapuram items numbers and both were chartbusters.
In Telugu her only release for the year is Samarasimha Reddy, opposite Balakrishna was recorded as an All Time Industry Hit at the box office. Over the years, the movie was termed to be a trendsetter and achieved cult status
Same year Simran acted opposite Govinda in Hindi Film Anari No.1. Also, she was part of Bollywood films such as Kachche Dhaage and Sirf Tum. She made another supporting role in 2000 film Khauff with Manisha Koirala and Sanjay Dutt. Simran rejected the role in Mani Rathnam's Dil Se.. which later played by Preity Zinta.
Widespread success and critical acclaim (2000–2004)
Her success continued in 2000 with Tamil with films Priyamaanavale again with Vijay and Parthen Rasithen again with Prashanth. In Priyamanavale, she played a suffering woman from a premarital agreement was gained wide appreciation for her role. Her Filmfare Award for Best Actress nominated performance was labelled by cinematoday as "a clean family entertainer that with its Indian culture-versus foreign culture theme would appeal to family audiences" and mentioned that "the script is cleverly crafted", and that "Vijay neatly underplayed his role with Simran as the perfect foil." In Parthen Rasithen, a romantic thriller which was released on 11 August 2000, and received positive critical reception, she portrayed the role of an antagonist for the first time in her career. The film also saw a third collaboration between Simran and Prashanth following Kannedhirey Thondrinal and Jodi. Simran's performance received unanimous critical acclaim, gaining her another nomination at the Filmfare Award for Best Actress. Also, Prashanth and Simran received Best Onscreen Couple Award in Cinema Express Award. Hindu wrote "It is a spectacular role for Simran and she has made optimum use of it. A well-etched character that is suspenseful at every turn. Simran's eyes sparkle with animus, jealousy and venom in the scene in which she confronts Laila. Laila as the docile, taciturn beauty is an appealing foil to the fiery and vibrant Simran". Lolluexpress described "This movie really proved that how SIMRAN has been wasted these days. I think the best actress in Kodambakkam today is SIMRAN. After her Strong and Sexy performance in VAALEE Simran has come back with yet another Strong and good role in "Parthen Rasithen". She was the best in this movie. One could really feel her acting in her expressions. It's not that easy for heroines today to do a role like this. Especially her Villain role in the second half of the movie really proved that she is not only a Barbie Doll but a doll which can act.". Critic Balaji noted "Simran is the star of the show here. She proved in Vaali that she was not all glamour but also had the goods when it came to acting and she cements that reputation here. Her expressive eyes speak volumes whether radiating happiness or showing fiery anger and her dialog delivery enhances her performance in the second half. Quite possibly the best performance of her career so far. She also looks beautiful, especially in the dream sequence". In 2013, Vijay Sethupathi was asked about his favourite romantic moments in cinema and what Valentine's Day means to him. He commented that "I’ve always been a huge admirer of Simran. I loved her in films like V. I. P. , Once More and Parthen Rasithen". Simran's performance was featured in JFW magazine's list of "5 Heroines Who Stunned Us By Playing Negative Roles". Similarly, Indiaglitz.com also listed Simran's portrayal in their list of "The Super Villains of Tamil Cinema" and credited her for the success of the film. Her other release Unnai Kodu Ennai Tharuven opposite Ajith Kumar is a commercial and critical failure. A reviewer from The Hindu citing that "Simran shines in songs and emotional scenes too, though the actress is wasted her dates with such an underwritten film, which hardly makes an impact.".
Her Telugu films Yuvaraju with Mahesh Babu and Goppinti Alludu with Balakrishna were released same year and claimed average grossers in box office. But she received acclaim for her performances in both films. For Yuvaraju idlebrain.com referred Simran as "Simran enters the film at the time of interval and dominates the whole second half with her demure and under played emotions. But it's her demure action that won the laurels." telugucinema.com called "Coming to heroines they have been used for a glamour boost and they look good. Simran shows her acting talents while Sakshi has nothing to offer in the movie.". for Goppinti Alludu, Idlebrain.com stated "Among three heroines obviously Simran who is looking gorgeous and also emotes well." And she made dance number with Chiranjeevi in Annayya.
But she also had highly successful Kalisundam Raa with Venkatesh and Nuvvu Vastavani with Nagarjuna same year. Nuvvu Vastavani is the Telugu remake of her own Tamil film Thulladha Manamum Thullum where she reprised her role again. Same as Tamil, she received anonymous praise for her performance in Telugu too. Review from fullyhyd noted "Simran looks fabulous and emotes as blind woman more realistically". In National Award winning industry hit Kalisundam Raa, She played the highly egoistic girl Mangaa who sacrifice her love for the sake of her family was also acclaimed. "Simran is so fresh and coming up with a thumb-up performance by overshadowing others she holds the entire film" a critic noted. Which earned a nomination in Filmfare Award.
In 2001, she concentrated on Telugu films and had a mixed year with Mrugaraju and Daddy, with Chiranjeevi and Bava Nachadu, with Nagarjuna which became poor grossers. Her movie Narasimha Naidu, was with Balakrishna became industry hit and Simran as wife who becomes the victim for her husband's opponent was appreciated and gained her second Filmfare Award nomination in Telugu Cinema.
In Tamil film Industry She had only two releases. Her first release is directorial debut of cinematographer Jeeva's 12B, opposite then-newcomer Shaam and Jyothika. The plot of the movie is loosely based on the British-American romantic drama film Sliding Doors. Though the film performed modestly at the box office, Simran as "Young widow who has soft-corner on her colleague, struggles to cross her cultural lines" was highly appreciated by critics and audience. The Hindu mentioning that Simran does a commendable job in the climax.Rediff.com concluded Simran continues with her policy of shifting gradually from glam roles to the more sedate, serious ones and proves to have what it takes. Same year she worked with Balachandar in his 100th production venture Paarthale Paravasam paired with Madhavan, tells the story of a couple going through a break-up after the husband is exposed for having a child from a juvenile relationship. Though the movie is commercial failure "Simran" as "Simi" "an obsessed possessive wife" was well received by critics. Lolluexpress.com noted that Simran's performance as "Simran was too good in many places and only because of her the movie has something to watch".
In 2002, she again starred with Balakrishna in Seema Simham, which was an average grosser. Also she did several successful Tamil films; Ramana with Vijayakanth, Pammal K. Sambandam & Panchathantiram with Kamal Haasan, Thamizh with Prashanth. In A. R. Murugadoss directed Ramana She portrayed the wife of a college professor who fights against corruption. The film was received well by critics and audiences and had a cult following. Simran was nominated for Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.
Also she was cast for Mani Ratnam's Kannathil Muthamittal with Madhavan is the story of a child of Sri Lankan Tamil parentage adopted by Indian parents, whose desire is to meet her biological mother in the midst of the Sri Lankan Civil War. The film was a box-office success and was received positively by critics at its release. She won several accolades for her performance for Kannathil Muthamittal, including a Filmfare award and also briefly considered for National Film Award for Best Actress, yet she didn't lend her own voice led her to lose it. In an interview with Hindu, Maniratnam stated Simran as one of the most talented female artists he ever worked, along with Manisha Koirala, Aishwarya Rai and Revathi.
At the height of her career, Simran left the film industry after her marriage.
Return to films and television debut (2008–2017)
After her marriage, Simran took a break from acting in films and moved on to the small screen where she acted in Jaya TV's serial Simran Thirai, which consisted of mini-serials all featuring Simran in the lead role and included many popular stars such as Ramji, Raaghav, Saakshi Siva and Abitha playing supporting roles. In 2009, she started acting in the Telugu serial Sundarakanda, telecast on Gemini TV, where she did a guest role. The serial was dubbed in Tamil as Sundarakandam and telecast on Polimer TV. In 2012, she hosted Jackpot, a game show on Jaya TV which was earlier hosted by Kushboo and Nadhiya. She acted in Agni Paravai, a serial telecast in Puthuyugam TV. She serves as one of the judges on the reality show Dance Tamizha Dance in Zee Tamizh.
Simran made a return in 2008 with Okka Magadu, opposite Balakrishna, John Appa Rao 40 plus and Seval. Her role in Gautham Menon's Vaaranam Aayiram was critically acclaimed and she won Filmfare and Vijay awards for the same. She starred in the Tamil films TN-07 AL 4777 and Ainthaam Padai in 2009. She made a brief appearance in Aaha Kalyanam in 2014 and Trisha Illana Nayanthara in 2015. In October 2015, Simran and her husband set up a production studio called Simran & Sons, and launched two new film projects.
She made a special appearance in Kannada films Karai Oram in 2016, Koditta Idangalai Nirappuga and Thupparivaalan in 2017 and Odu Raja Odu in 2018. The same year she was approached to play a negative role by Ponram opposite Siva Karthikeyan in Seema Raja.
Petta and beyond (2019–present)
In July 2018, Sun Pictures announced that Simran had joined the cast in their production venture Petta for the first time in her career to play opposite Rajinikanth, to be directed by the notable director Karthik Subbaraj. The film was released on 10 January 2019 to positive reviews and was a commercial success as well.
On March 2002, Simran was signed up to endorse Fanta, the tangy orange-flavoured drink from Coca-Cola. According to a company spokesperson, "Film stars cut across various segments to establish a direct connect with the brand." The ad was conceived by the Lowe and directed by filmmaker Latha Menon. In the same year, Jyoti Labs launched Jeeva soap with Simran to endorse the brand and the ad. On 4 June 2008, PepsiCo announced Simran as the new brand ambassador for Kurkure for their brand in the South Indian market, joining the brand's long-standing endorser Juhi Chawla. Simran was chosen as the brand ambassador for the low-calorie sugar substitute Sugar Free Gold by Cadila Healthcare. She is also connected with General Mills India for Pillsbury Atta and has appeared in several TV commercials.
|1997||Abbai Gari Pelli||Madhumitha||Telugu|
|1997||Priya O Priya||Priya||Telugu|
|1997||Maa Nannaki Pelli||Lahari||Telugu|
|2000||Annayya||Telugu||Special appearance in song "Aata Kavala"|
|2000||Kalisundam Raa||Manga||Telugu||Nominated Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu|
|2001||Narasimha Naidu||Sravani||Telugu||Nominated Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu|
|2003||Raghavendra||Telugu||Special appearance in song "Calcutta Pan"|
|2008||John Appa Rao 40 plus||Pravallika||Telugu|
|1996||Bal Bramhachari||Seema Choudhary||Hindi|
|1996||Tere Mere Sapne||Pooja Mathur||Hindi|
|1999||Kachche Dhaage||Hindi||Special appearance in song "Khali Dil Nahi"|
|1999||Sirf Tum||Herself||Hindi||Special appearance|
|2019||Rocketry: The Nambi Effect||Meena Nambi||Hindi||Filming|
|2007||Heart Beats||Thangam George||Malayalam|
|2008||Simran Thirai||Multiple roles||Tamil||Jaya TV|
|2008||Super Super||Main Judge||Tamil||Jaya TV|
|2010–2012||Sundarakanda||Telugu||Gemini TV||dubbed in Tamil as Sundarakandam and telecast on Polimer TV & as Asoakavanam and telecast on Puthuyugam TV|
|2010–2013||Jackpot (Season 2)||Host||Tamil||Jaya TV|
|2013||Dance Tamizha Dance Season I||Main Judge||Tamil||Zee Tamizh|
|2013–2014||Agni Paravai||Madhavi||Tamil||Puthuyugam TV|
|2014–present||DTD Little Masters Season II||Main Judge||Tamil||Zee Tamizh|
|2015(April)||Dance Tamizha Dance Season II||Main Judge||Tamil||Zee Tamizh|
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