Amrita Rao born 7 June 1981) is an Indian film actress and model. She has appeared in Hindi films of Bollywood and a few films in Telugu. Rao was born and raised in Mumbai; she made her screen debut in Ab Ke Baras (2002), for which she was nominated for the Filmfare Best Female Debut Award in 2003. One of her most popular roles was in the romance film Vivah (2006).
Rao’s roles in Welcome to Sajjanpur (2008) and Main Hoon Na (2004) earned her a Stardust Best Actress Award and a Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award nomination respectively. She has made special appearances in Heyy Babyy (2007), Shaurya (2008), Life Partner (2009) and Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai (2010). She has been called “Bollywood’s quintessential girl next-door” by various media outlets. Times Of India named Rao one of its “50 Most Desirable Women of 2011.”
Rao was born in Mumbai. Her father Deepak Rao owns an advertising agency. Her younger sister Preetika Rao is a model and a southern film actor. Rao attended school at Canossa Convent Girls School and graduated from Sophia College with a psychology degree. Rao describes her family as a “very conservative family—a traditional, Hindu, Indian family” and herself as very liberal. Her native language is Konkani; she also speaks Marathi, English and Hindi.
Before starting her career as an actor, Rao appeared in several commercials during her college days. Her first public appearance was in 2002 when she was seventeen; she was featured in the music video for Alisha Chinoy’s song Woh Pyar Mera. After a two-and-a-half-year absence from the screen, Rao starred in the national award-winning, courtroom, comedy drama film Jolly LLB (2013). She played the lead role of Sandhya, girlfriend of Arshad Warsi’s character. The film received mixed reviews and won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi and the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor. Rao’s performance was praised.
Rao co-starred alongside Sunny Deol in the action film Singh Saab the Great (2013), which was directed by Anil Sharma. Rao portrays a journalist Shikha Chaturvedi. The film was controversial and ran into trouble with the SGPC, which objected to its title. The film was largely panned by critics but Rao’s performance earned positive reviews. Namrta Joshi of Outlook said, “Amrita Rao plays a role that definitely feels like something she has already done, all the emotional support”. The film received predominately negative reviews but was a moderate box-office success with revenues of ₹29 crore (US$4.3 million).
Later that year, she appeared alongside Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal and Manoj Bajpai in Prakash Jha’s political dramaSatyagraha. Rao played the role of Sumitra, the daughter-in-law of Amitabh Bachchan’s character. Rao was praised in particular; Resham Sengar of Zee News wrote, “Ms. Rao has the sweetly cherubic looks. She is convincing in most of the emotional scenes. But again, her scope of performance is just limited to mouthing a few important dialogues.” The film was poorly received by critics and failed to make a profit at the box office.
Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV said, “Satyagraha spares no effort to reflect the rising tide of public anger against a creaking, corrupt and callous system that treats citizens of the country like a load of dirt. The script draws inspiration from several real-life scams and political shenanigans, and constructs a predictable narrative that underlines the undeniable might of social media.” Despite having moderate reviews, the film grossed over ₹60 crore (US$8.9 million) at the domestic box office. She is also featuring in the TV show Meri Awaaz Hi Pehchaan Hai on &TV, a re-telling of the famous Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle rivalry where Rao is playing Lata’s character.