Isha Koppikar Narang

AN EMBODIMENT OF BEAUTY WITH BRAINS

Kids ought to dream somewhere close to their parent’s profession, Isha Koppikar born and brought into the family of doctors grew up inculcating the same discipline, and went on to become a doctor but destiny had something already planned for her. She went to Ruparel to study and clear the exam. Unfortunately, she couldn’t score 98% and stopped at 90%. Little did she know what the future held for her, the underlying flare for modelling held her all this while. Coming from a highly educated family, education was always considered primary for her, so along with her modelling, her father made it a point that she finished her studies.

Isha never thought of acting as a profession, her weekend hobby became her profession and she went on to do films. The Mangalorean descent made her first appearance in the film industry with a Telugu movie Chandralekha costarring alongside Nagarjuna in 1998 while pursuing her graduation, wherein she kept on shuttling from Mumbai- Chennai, Mumbai-Hyderabad, Mumbai-Karnataka. By 2000, Koppikar’s sights were on Bollywood, but this did not stop her from appearing in three Kannada films with the ruling stars of the time, later her special numbers Khallas and Ishq Samundar made her name in Bollywood. The Telugu actress didn’t take much to set up in the industry and bagged movies one after another.

These opportunities carved the path for her as an actor in the Hindi film industry. In 2002, she did a notable item number Ishq Samundar, in Sanjay Gupta’s Reservoir Dogs remake Kaante starring Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, and Sunil Shetty which raised her profile even higher. Later, she also won the Stardust Award for the Most Exciting New Face for her Khallas number. A brief role in J. P. Dutta’s war movie LOC Kargil paired her opposite Sunil Shetty again in 2003. Being new to the industry with no primary backing or connections was challenging, however, she did some good films with the leading contemporary actors, and gained a massive appreciation for her talent and hard work.

She is popularly known for roles she had played in the movies: Khallas, Fiza, Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat, Aamdani Atthani Kharcha Rupaiyaa, Dil ka Rishta, Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya?, Kyaa kool hai hum, Darna Mana hai, Krishna cottage, Don, Ek Vivaah aisa bhi, Darna mana hai, Aisa Bhi, Khallas, and Qayamat: City Under Threat. Her versatile acting and delving into each character she played made her stand out in the industry. Even though few of her movies received critical proclamations, it didn’t stop her stars from shining. Isha Koppikar’s movie career seems incomplete if not talked for her horror movie Krishna Cottage, she was cast opposite Sohail Khan in 2004 which gave actual goosebumps to all the viewers back then. Isha Koppikar has established her long career very carefully, she has worked extensively not just in Hindi films but in Telugu and Marathi film industries as well.

During the initial days of her career, she tried her hands on many things including fashion & modelling. Today, she is incredibly popular, the brand ambassador for many classy brands, and a supermodel who has walked on the ramp for many renowned fashion designers including the Italian fashion company Police Time and Jewellery. Despite her career in the Hindi film industry she has also been a spokesperson for the animal rights organization PETA and received the 10th Anniversary Humanitarian Award in December 2009.

Speaking about her childhood, Isha expressed, “I was an extremely vivacious, boisterous and mischievous kid, and I still retain some of the traits. Since my school days, I’ve always put on impromptu dramas and whatever else was needed for creativity….”

Known for her impeccable beauty and flamboyance, the actor didn’t stick just to films and was seen doing many music videos. Isha is also known for being an ambitious woman, who had owned a restaurant back in 2015. Moreover, she served as a judge in the Miss Universe 2008 contest, alongside fashion designer Roberto Cavalli and former winner in 2004 Jennifer Hawkins.

A Black Belt in Taekwondo and an expert in Hapkido, a Korean martial art, Isha has always been in the city of fitness. Practising martial arts for 15 years, she realized how calm and balanced her life has been while following these. “It is like meditation, it changes your logical and creative thinking; you end up being calm and balanced, shed negativity and this helps you in day-to-day life,” says Isha.

Success did not come easy, but Isha stayed the course by following her innermost callings, even if they didn’t match what people expected of her. As they say, ‘you find love when you’re not looking for it, she was introduced to hotelier Timmy Narang through Leena Mogre and Preity Zinta. The first meeting turned into a deep friendship and Isha Koppikar found her soulmate in her best friend Timmy Narang. They started dating in 2008 and by the end of 2009, they were married. Now the couple is blessed with a beautiful little girl whom they named Rianna and the actor is often seen spending some quality time with her daughter.

Talking further about her fondness, Isha shares how she loves celebrating every festival, grown up in a colony of about seven buildings, she has learned community living right from day one and celebrated most of the festivals which pass on to her daughter Rianna now. Enjoying every festival with utmost fervour “back home, I loved every festival, I love Holi and Diwali, Christmas was not celebrated as much, which actually happened only after I got married because my husband studied abroad and Christmas is a big thing in the Narang’s…”

The actor in 2019 joined BJP as the working president of the BJP’s women transport wing, the headstrong Isha Koppikar did so in the presence of union minister, Nitin Gadkari. And now after a decade, she is all set to make a comeback in the Hindi film industry. This year, Isha will be seen in several projects, which will be a treat for her fans.

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Shreya Patel

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