Koppikar - born 19 September 1976 is an Indian actress and model. She
has appeared in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi films.
Ishaa Koppikar was born in Mumbai, India. Her family is of Mangalorean
origin and she has one younger brother. Koppikar graduated in Life
Sciences at Ramnarain Ruia College in Mumbai. It was during her time at
college that she appeared in a photo shoot for Indian photographer Gautam
Rajadhyaksha. The shoot led to work in advertising as a model, notably
for L'Oreal, Rexona, Camay, Tips & Toes and Coca-Cola. Koppikar
contested the 1995 Miss India Contest, winning the Miss Talent Crown.
Her modelling work gave her an introduction to the film industry and to
her first film appearance in the Tamil movie Kaadhal Kavithai in 1998.
Since then, Koppikar has made over forty films and has several Hindi
films in production or due for release in 2008. She continues to model
for fashion designer Anita Dongre and is currently the Indian
representative of the Italian fashion company Police Watches and
Jewellery. Outside her work in film, music and television, Koppikar is a
spokesperson for the animal rights organisation PETA.
Film career: South India
The 1997 Hindi film Ek Tha Dil Ek Thi Dhadhkan, directed by Shahrukh
Sultan, is often quoted as being Ishaa Koppikar's first film, but there
is no evidence the project was ever released. Koppikar's career must
therefore be said to have begun with the 1998 Tamil film Kaadhal
Kavithai, co-starring alongside Prashanth, and directed by Agathyan.
Koppikar was awarded the Filmfare Best Female Debut (Tamil). Continuing
her Tamil film career, Koppikar's second movie was En Swasa Kaatre in
1998, opposite Arvind Swamy, directed by KS Ravi, with music by renowned
composer A.R. Rahman. 1998 saw a third film, this time a cameo
appearance in Praveen Kanth's Jodi, starring Prashanth and Simran.
In 1999, Koppikar alternated between appearances in the Telugu comedy
Chandralekha, co-starring Nagarjuna and Ramya Krishnan, directed by
Krishna Vamshi; and the Tamil gangland movie Nenjenile (Dharma the
Warrior), starring Vijay and directed by SA Chandrasekar.
By 2000, Koppikar's sights were on Bollywood, but this did not stop her
appearing in four Kannada films: Hoo Anthiya Uhoo Anthiya with Ramesh
and directed by Praveen Naik; Nuvvu Vasthavani, starring and directed by
Ravichandran; alongside actor-director Ravichandran again in O Nanna
Nalle; and finally Surya Vamsha, directed by S Narayan and starring
Vishnuvardhan in a double role as father and son.
After four films in 2000, and a detour to Mumbai for a brief appearance
in Fiza and an item number in Rahul, Koppikar returned to the south in
2001 for C Sunder's Tamil project Kaathal Solla Vanthen. This was
another film never to leave the development stage although a soundtrack
of the same name was made available. However, the Telugu comedy Prematho
Raa, starring Venkatesh and Simran, and directed by Uday Shankar, saw
Koppikar's penultimate South Indian role. She signed off her South
Indian career in the Tamil action film Narassima, directed by
Tirupathisamy and starring Vijayakanth.
Film career: Bollywood 2000-2002
Taking time out from four Kannada films in 2000, Koppikar appeared
alongside Karisma Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan in Khalid Mohammed's Fiza.
An item number appearance in Prakash Jha's Rahul completed Koppikar's
introduction to Hindi film. Brief returns to South India in 2001 were
coupled with two more Bollywood films: Pyaar Ishq aur Mohabbat, directed
by Rajiv Rai and starring Sunil Shetty alongside a young Arjun Rampal;
and K Raghavendra Rao's urban comedy Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya,
opposite Govinda, Juhi Chawla and Johnny Lever.
By 2002 Koppikar appeared to be consigned to support roles until she was
asked by Ram Gopal Varma to appear in an item number for his underworld
movie Company starring Ajay Devgan, Vivek Oberoi and Manisha Koirala.
The number in question was Khallas, choreographed by Ganesh Hegde and
the effect on cinema audiences and critics was to leave Koppikar with
the enduring nickname Khallas Girl. A second notable item number, Ishq
Samundar, in Sanjay Gupta's Reservoir Dogs remake Kaante, starring
Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt and Sunil Shetty, was enough to raise
Koppikar's profile and in the following year she took the Stardust Award
for Most Exciting New Face for Khallas.
Film career: Bollywood 2003-present
Koppikar's relentless career produced five films in 2003. In Dil Ka
Rishta, directed by Naresh Malhotra, she played opposite Aishwarya Rai
and Arjun Rampal. Prawaal Raman's portmanteau film Darna Mana Hai saw
her alongside college whipping boy Aftab Shivdasani. Dr Chandrakprakash
Dwivedi cast her in the role of Urmila Matondkar's sister in the
sectarian film Pinjar, also starring Manoj Bajpai. A brief appearance in
JP Dutta's war movie LoC Kargil paired her opposite Sunil Shetty again.
And in Harry Baweja's Qayamat: City Under Threat, Koppikar played one of
three terrorists fighting off co-stars Ajay Devgan and Sunil Shetty; a
role which would bring her a Filmfare nomination in the Best Villain
In 2004 Ishaa Koppikar's films were releasing on average every two
months. Both Mani Shankar's science fantasy Rudraksh and Kundan Shah's
madcap comedy Ek Se Bhadkhar Ek teamed Koppikar next to perennial acting
partner Sunil Shetty. In Krishna Cottage, she was cast opposite Sohail
Khan for Santram Verma's creepy ghost story. Inteqam, directed by Pankaj
Parashar and co-starring Manoj Bajpai, saw Koppikar revive the role
played by Sharon Stone in the original Hollywood version: Basic
Instinct. Another cameo appearance in Kunal Kholi's Hum Tum with Saif
Ali Khan and Rani Mukerji could have left a comedy taste to 2004, but
this would be the year of street protests following Karan Razdan's
controversial Girlfriend, co-starring Amrita Arora and Aashish Chaudhary
caught in a lesbian love triangle. The film provoked public poster
burning and calls for the film to be banned. The Khallas Girl was in the
In 2005, Koppikar eased up somewhat only releasing four films. Sangeeth
Sivan's bawdy comedy Kyaa Kool Hai Hum, with Anupam Kher, Ritesh
Deshmukh and Tusshar Kapoor saw Koppikar nominated in four separate
award ceremonies (IIFA, Filmfare, Zee Cine and Star Screen) for best
comedy role. Two more comedies saw her make guest appearances: David
Dhawan's Salman Khan vehicle Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya, and Abbas Mustan's
whodunnit, 36, China Town with Akshaye Khanna and Kareena Kapoor. A
return to Ram Gopal Varma's Factory saw her alongside Chunkey Pandey in
Vishram Sawant's gangster flick D-Underworld, starring Randeep Hooda.
Farhan Akhtar directed a 2006 remake of the Amitabh Bachchan hit Don:
The Chase Begins Again, this time with Shahrukh Khan in the lead.
Koppikar was cast as Khan's moll Anita. By now the success of Don was in
contrast to Koppikar's stuttering career with a string of films stuck in
production or abandoned. Vicky Ranawat's Haseena Smart Sexy and
Dangerous crept out towards the end of 2006, Jagdish A Sharma's murder
mystery Garhee appeared on dvd, Hansel Mehta's Raakh was dropped, whilst
Koppikar's highest profile film of 2007, Nikhil Advani's multi starrer
Salaam-e-Ishq, saw her sharing limited screen time with Sohail Khan. Ram
Gopal Varma's much discussed Shabri, directed by Lalit Marathe -a role
which led to Koppikar being unrecognised in character and barred from
the film set by secuirty men- has yet to attract a distributor. To date
only Ram Gopal Varma's Darling, with Fardeen Khan and Esha Deol has seen
Koppikar continue any kind of momentum. Atul Agnihotri's Hello, based on
the novel One Night in a Call Centre by Chetan Bhagat, has a 2008
release date and may be the first of several new movies which include
Jahnu Barua's Har Phall, Manoj Tiwari's Hello Darling, Right Ya Wrong by
Neeraj Pathak and Kaushik Ghatak's Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi.
Between filming Koppikar, like many Bollywood actors, performs in stage
music shows. In addition to this she has appeared in two music videos:
Patli Kamar by KK for a private album commissioned by Sony in 2001/2002;
and Bandish Projekt's Bhor (Satyam Shivam Sundaram) in 2004,
choreographed by Bosco-Caesar. In 2006 she appeared onstage in the
Indian Idol Grand Final to dance with the two finalists, and 2007 saw
her as one of three judges in the celebrity dance competition Nach
Baliye 3, alongside director David Dhawan and Vaibhavi Merchant.