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Bipasha Basu (born 7 January 1979) nicknamed "Bips" is an Indian actress who appears in Hindi language films. She has also worked in Telugu, Bengali and Tamil language films. She had a successful modeling career before venturing into films.
She debuted in a negative role in Ajnabee (2001) which earned her the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut. Her first commercial success was Raaz (2002). She was then noticed for her bold role in the erotic thriller film, Jism (2003). She starred in top grossing films like – No Entry(2005), Phir Hera Pheri, Dhoom 2 (both 2006) – her biggest commercial success till date and Race (2008). Her performances in Apharan (2005), Corporate (2006) and Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008) won her much critical praise and multiple nominations for several awards. After a relatively low phase(2009–2011) she appeared in Raaz 3 (2012) which was a commercial success and also her role being highly praised by film critics. Having done so, has established herself as a leading contemporary actress in Bollywood. Known for her bold on-screen image and candid confession of her private life, she is frequently named in the media as a "sex symbol".
She has been nominated for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress and the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress twice each along with one nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role. Roles apart, she is renowned for her item songs like "Phoonk De" in No Smoking (2007), and "Beedi" and "Namak Ishq Ka" in Omkara (2006) amongst others. Basu is slated to make her international film debut with the 2013 Australian film Singularity.
Basu was born to a Bengali family in Delhi, where she lived till the age of eight in Pampoosh Enclave, Nehru Place and studied at Apeejay High School. Her family then moved to Kolkata. Basu, who describes herself as a tomboy, was pampered as a kid and was very naughty. She was fondly called 'Lady Goonda' in her school as everyone was scared of her short and commanding personality.
Basu was spotted by model Mehr Jessia Rampal at a hotel in Kolkata who suggested she take up modelling. In 1996, she won the Godrej Cinthol Supermodel Contest and the Ford Models Supermodel of the World contest. Basu was flown to New York by the Ford Company and began her successful modelling career at the age of 17. She then appeared in the Calida commercial with her then-boyfriend Dino Morea which was controversial for picturising them sultrily. She had some protesters outside her house after that. She has appeared on over 40 magazine covers.One of the judges of the Godrej Cinthol Supermodel Contest in which Basu participated, Vinod Khanna, wanted to launch her alongside his son Akshaye Khanna in Himalay Putra, but she felt she was too young and declined the role which eventually went to Anjala Zaveri. After returning home, she was convinced by Jaya Bachchan to star opposite her son Abhishek Bachchan in J. P. Dutta’s Aakhari Mughal. However, the film was cancelled, and Dutta instead changed the script and made Refugee with Kareena Kapoor. Basu was also offered a role in Refugee opposite Sunil Shetty, which she declined.
In 2001, Basu finally made her debut opposite Akshay Kumar in Vijay Galani’s Ajnabee. The film, directed by Abbas-Mustan, was inspired by the American film Consenting Adults. It was a moderate box-office success and attracted unfavorable reviews from critics. However, Basu’s performance in a negative role was appreciated by critics and won her the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut.
In 2002, Basu starred in the year’s most successful thriller, Raaz. Directed by Vikram Bhatt, it established Basu in the Hindi film industry. Her portrayal of a woman who is pursued by a spirit received positive reviews. One review in The Tribune noted, "...it is Bipasha Basu who steals the show with her fine performance." She was nominated for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress for Raaz. She was appreciated in a supporting role in Sanjay Gadhvi’s Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai which was a moderate critical and commercial success. However, in David Dhawan’s Chor Machaaye Shor, was her first commercial failure. She appeared in a supporting role opposite Mahesh Babu and Lisa Ray in the Telugu film, Takkari Donga. Gunaah, which released later that year, was also a box-office failure. She played the role of a cop who loves a convict and tries to reform him. Derek Elley of Variety observed that Basu was a miscast as the "idealistic cop".In 2003, Basu starred in Pooja Bhatt’s thriller, Jism, which was well received by critics and fared well at the box office. She essayed the role of seductive, ambitious wife of a millionaire who indulges in an extramarital affair with an alcoholic lawyer and plots to kill her husband. The film ranked 92 in the top 100 sexiest movie scenes poll conducted by Channel 4. Film critic Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama commented, "...the real show stealer is Bipasha Basu ; her sexy look and seductive deep voice, in contrast with her cold and calculating personality, makes her the most impressive femme fatale since Zeenat Aman and Parveen Babi." She received a Filmfare Best Villain Award nomination for Jism. Her next release, Zameen, failed to make impact among audiences.
Basu had four releases in 2004, all of which performed moderately and drew mixed reviews. She collaborated for the second time with Vikram Bhatt in her first release Aetbaar. She played the role of a young woman who falls in love with a psychopath. Rediff.com noted that "...The characters are not convincing, the plot is not fast-paced or interesting." Her next film was Mani Shankar’s Rudraksh which was based on the Indian epic Ramayana. The film was a disaster at the box office and was panned by the critics. She then starred in Rakht as a tarot card reader trying to solve a murder mystery. Critic Shruti Bhasin of Planetbollywood wrote, "Bipasha Basu impresses in a different look and role." Her final release that year was Anil Sharma’s Madhoshi opposite John Abraham. Her performance of a mentally unstable woman was generally well received.
In 2005, she appeared in the love triangle Barsaat alongside Bobby Deol and Priyanka Chopra. Taran Adarsh commented, "As an actor, she [Bipasha Basu] does show sparks only towards the end." She starred in the Tamil film, Sachein which was a hit and then in Prakash Jha’s Apaharan, which won the National Film Award for Best Screenplay. In this period, she refused to act in art films due to salary problems.After a slow start, Basu established herself as a successful actress with the success of No Entry, Corporate and Dhoom 2. No Entry grossed 75 crore at the box office and was the highest grossing film of 2005. Basu essayed the role of a bargirl who acts as wife of two men. She earned Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress nomination for the film. 2006 was equally successful for her with her four major releases — Phir Hera Pheri, Corporate, Omkara and Dhoom 2 — performing well critically and commercially. Phir Hera Pheri became the ninth highest grossing film of the year. She was featured opposite Akshay Kumar in a significant role of a con woman who steals 10 million from the protagonists. In Madhur Bhandarkar’s Corporate, she gave up her glamorous look for the role of a businesswoman who has no qualms in taking advantage of her sexuality to con the CEO of a rival company. She won accolades from critics for her performance. Critic Aparna wrote, "[...] she has done a fabulous job as an ambitious woman. The kind of shrewdness in a woman that she essays has never been seen before in India films." She was nominated for the second time for Filmfare Best Actress Award.
In Vishal Bharadwaj’s adaptation of Othello, Omkara, Basu essayed the role of Bianca. She caught the attention of public with her dance number "Beedi" which was highly popular in India and overseas. Critic Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN wrote, "...Bipasha Basu is brought in to lend oomph and she succeeds in doing just that." Basu became the talk of the town for donning a bikini in Aditya Chopra’s Dhoom 2. She reportedly ate only oranges for three days and trained hard to shoot the scene. Nikhat Kazmi of The Times of India commented, "Aah Bipasha! Looks great, brings back the bikini to Bollywood, and gently slips into the shadows as a pretty accessory."
In 2007, RoIn 2007, Ronnie Screwvala’s Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal performed below average at the box-office. The song picturised on John Abraham and Basu, "Billo Rani", became quite popular and earned her the nickname "Billo Rani", though equal credit must be given to Omkara in which her name was Billo Chamanbahar. In 2008, she teamed up once again with Abbas-Mustan for Race. She played the role of Sonia who is stuck in a love-triangle between two brothers (played by Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna) and, through the course, she murders one of them. The film grossed 68 crores at the box office and was the fourth-biggest hit that year in India; it performed good enough overseas as well. Her performance was appreciated by critics with Taran Adarsh citing it as "her best work so far. She’s superb". Basu’s work in Siddharth Anand’s Bachna Ae Haseeno as a successful supermodel who finds it hard to forgive her ex-lover for betraying her earned her a second nomination for Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award. She completed 2008 by appearing during the song "Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte" in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.
Her first release in 2009, Aa Dekhen Zara failed to do well at the box office. Rohit Shetty’s All The Best: Fun Begins performed well and her comic role was appreciated by fans. Later that year, Basu surprised everybody with Rituparno Ghosh’s Bengali film, Shob Charitro Kalponik. "I love saris and I'm wearing a lot of them in Ritu's film," she said. She gave up her glamorous look and was praised by critics for her performance. Critic Subhash K Jha spoke high of her. He said, "Bipasha [Basu] pulls out all stops to deliver her career’s best performance. Her moments of anguish before and after her screen-husband’s death are expressed in tones of cathartic conviction that we never knew existed within Bipasha." He also compared her with the multiple-award-winning actress, Shabana Azmi, commenting that Basu’s anguished portrayal of bereavement can be equalled by Azmi only.With the 2010 film Pankh, Basu returned with her alluring image as an imaginary character who exists in the protagonist’s mind. She was then featured as a Kashmiri girl in Rahul Dholakia’s Lamhaa which explored socio-political problems in Kashmir. Principal photography of Lamhaa was disrupted many times by the locals due to the controversial theme. During the shooting of Lamhaa, she left the sets at Anantnag and headed back to Mumbai citing she was afraid of the crowd there. Producer Bunty Walia thought of replacing her with Vidya Balan, but she returned for the shoot later with necessary security arrangements. NDTV Movies wrote, "Bipasha sinks herself into her character imparting a dramatic resonance into the role without resorting to stock expressions. The sequence where she gets mauled by militant women is as traumatic to watch as it must have been for Bipasha to shoot." Basu then appeared as the wife of a ruthless cop in Priyadarshan’s Aakrosh who helps the police with investigation on honour killings in their village. She met with mixed reviews for the film. Nikhat Kazmi of Times of India commented, "Bipasha actually doesn't have much to do and does seem to be miscast as the much-abused, bruised and battered wife of Paresh Rawal.Her only release in 2011 was Dum Maaro Dum which performed reasonably well at the box office and met with good reviews from critics. Talking of the film, she said, "My next release is DMD [Dum Maaro Dum], in which I play a lively, colourful, happy-go-lucky girl called Zoey, who is the representation of Goa as we see it." Basu collaborated with Abbas-Mustan for the third time in Players which became the first release of 2012. The film was an official remake of The Italian Job. Players was heavily compared to The Italian Job and was criticised for its execution and performances, including that of Basu. Her next release was Raaz 3, a supernatural horror thriller directed by Vikram Bhatt, upon release met with favourable response and emerging as a box office success after a period of relatively low phase for Basu, her performance in the film garnered acclaim from critics with Subhash K. Jha of IANS gave 2 out of 5 stars saying, "It's Bipasha who holds together the feverish proceedings. She delivers a full-bodied gutsy performance." She made her English-language debut with Roland Joffé’s epic drama Singularity which will be premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2012. She plays the role of a Maratha warrior Tulaja Naik in the film. She will be seen in a guest appearance reprising her role of Race in the upcoming film by Abbas-Mustan, Race 2. Basu has signed up a horror movie tilted Aatma to be directed by Suparn Verma and the produced by Kumar Mangat and Abhishek Pathak. Bipasha will perform live along side Atif Aslam, Shaan & Malaika Arora Khan for the first time in series of concerts in Birmingham & London  in summer 2013.