Urmila Matondkar, born on February 4, 1974 in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, is an Indian Bollywood actress. Matondkar, who made her screen debut as a child artist in the 1980 film Kalyug. From an actor to being called ‘Aapli Mumbaichi Mulgi’, Congress’ star candidate from Mumbai North Lok Sabha constituency, Urmila Matondkar has come a long way. Less than a month after her candidature was announced, Matondkar has been campaigning fiercely to garner support from people.
She started her career as a child artist perhaps the best known of her early movies is Shekhar Kapur’s Masoom in 1983. She made her film debut as an adult actress with the film “Bade Ghar ki Beti”. She next starred in the fantasy film Chamatkar, along with Shahrukh Khan.
She went on to frequently collaborate with film director Ram Gopal Verma, who is known for his thrillers. Her first film with him was Antham in Telugu, which was dubbed as Drohi (Hindi) in 1992. Since then, she has starred in numerous subsequent RGV pictures, like Gaayam in Telugu and her first major hit, the 1995 musical Rangeela.
She played a star-struck dancer in the film, and received her first Filmfare Best Actress Award nomination for her performance in the film. Following RGV projects were Daud (1997), Satya (1999), Kaun (1999), Mast (2000), Jungle (2000), Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya (2001), Bhoot (2003), and Ek Hasina Thi (2004).
In 1997 her film Judaai was a hit but her other releases such as Daud and Aflatoon were not as successful. Her performance earned her a Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award nomination.
In 1998, she earned critical acclaim for her performance in Satya, for which she received another Filmfare nomination. Satya was a critical and commercial success.
In 1999, she got rave reviews for her performance as a pschycopath in Kaun which was a moderate success, and saw further success with Jaanam Samjha Karo, Hum Tum Pe Marte Hain and Khoobsurat, all moderate successes at the box office.
During the 2000s, Matondkar revealed strong, dramatic and psychological features in her roles, and delivered a number of critically acclaimed performances. She won favourable reviews for her role as an obsessive lover in Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya (2001), and received various Best Villain nominations for her performance.
In 2003, she was part of several projects. She played the role of a north Indian girl in the background of the 1947 India partition in the critically acclaimed Pinjar; she played the title role in Khalid Mohammed’s drama Tehzeeb, starring along Shabana Azmi; however, she was mainly noted for her performance in Bhoot, a horror movie. Matondkar enacted a ghost-possessed woman; her performance was much appreciated by critics and audiences and she won her first Filmfare Award under the Best Performer category, as well as various Best Actress awards at different award ceremonies, suce as Star Screen Awards, Zee Cine Awards and Bollywood Movie Awards.
She later received the national honour Rajiv Gandhi Award for the film, as a recognition to her achievement in Bollywood. Taran Adarsh wrote of her performance, “…the film clearly belongs to Urmila Matondkar all the way. To state that she is excellent would be doing gross injustice to her work. Sequences when she is possessed are simply astounding. If this performance doesn’t deserve an award, no other performance should. It beats all competition hollow.”
In 2004, she got critical recognition for her performance as a merciless avenger in Ram Gopal Verma’s Ek Hasina Thi, co-starring Saif Ali Khan. She played the role of a deceived woman who is jailed because of her lover, played by Khan, and later flees from prison to avenge him. Once again, Matondkar was nominated for a Filmfare for her performance in the film.
Next year in 2005, she tried her hand with another horror film, playing the title role in the film Naina, which failed. However, her performance as the caring daughter of Anupam Kher in Jahnu Barua’s art film Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara was very well received, and she won her second Bollywood Movie Award for Best Actress.
Apart from holding a successful acting career, she is regarded as an outstanding dancer and has been a featured performer in many Bollywood item numbers. Her best-known item number is the Chamma Chamma sequence from the 1998 China Gate. Other hit numbers include Aaiye Aajaye from the hit film Lajja. She was signed to perform the item song in Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag, a remake of the 1975 blockbuster Sholay. She played the role originally played by Helen.
In 2007, Matondkar lent her voice for Asha Bhonsle’s album Asha and Friends Vol 1, where she performed with Bhosle the duet song “Mehbooba Dilruba”. In fact, throughout the 1990s – 2000s, Bhosle sang the maximum number of songs for Urmila.
In 2008, Matondkar was seen with Himesh Reshammiya in a remake of the 1980 film Karz, Karzzzz. 2008 also marked Matondkar’s debut on Indian television as a host of a reality show named Waar Parriwar.
Actress-turned-politician Urmila Matondkar, who has joined the Congress party, questioned why she is being asked about her religion. She said she wants to do “politics above this”.
“Why am I being asked about my religion? I don’t think I have given this right to anyone because that right only belongs to me. I know it, my family knows it and my in-laws know it. I think this is just the beginning. I want to do politics above all this,” Urmila told ANI here.
The Congress has fielded Urmila from Mumbai North Parliamentary constituency of Maharashtra for the Lok Sabha elections. In the 2014 General elections, BJP’s Gopal Chinayya Shetty won the seat. Hours after she was nominated as the Congress candidate for Mumbai North Lok Sabha seat, Bollywood actress Urmila Matondkar was targeted by trolls.
Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said that “this effectively proves that the Bharatiya Janata Party considers her a ‘serious contender’ and not a lightweight as some of their leaders have been claiming”.
“The moment the Congress declared her candidature, the BJP got so terrified of imminent defeat that their Dirty Tricks Department has started raising her marriage in social media. Should we remind dirty minds of BJP about the marriage of Dharmendra ji [with] Hema ji?” Sawant tweeted on Friday, referring to actor Dharmendra’s alleged conversion to Islam to marry second wife Hema Malini.
Unfazed by the trolls, Matondkar is busy campaigning in the constituency that sprawls through the thickly populated suburbs of Malad-Kandivali-Borivali-Dahisar, in north-west part of Mumbai. As she travels through the inroads of slums, residents come out of their homes and wave out to Matondkar. She is pitted against BJP’s sitting MP Gopal Shetty, who had won the 2014 elections against Congress’ Sanjay Nirupam by more than 4 lakh votes. It was considered a tough constituency for the Congress and none of its city leaders were keen to contest from here. As such, Matondkar was fielded. In the past couple of weeks, she has created a buzz with her campaign.
Several BJP supporters have been seen at her rallies, as they chant ‘Modi Modi’ to show their loyalty towards the party. The actor, however, said it does not affect her anymore. “I am here to do good work and am humbled to get the love and support of many from the constituency. The crowds that you see today are only a part of the huge backing that I have from people,” she tells HT. “Many are hopeful about my win and call me to discuss their issues.”
The actor campaigns in two to three slots every day, with just small breaks in between. “Unlike Govinda, who won from the constituency but never came back here, she shows commitment,” said Mahendra Tembe, 52, a Malad resident.
“In just two days, we have witnessed record crowds turning up to meet and greet her. Our candidate is getting similar or even better response than Govinda. We are besieged with requests from all localities where people clamour for a ‘darshan’ of Urmila even before she files her nomination papers,” said Mumbai North District Congress President Ashok Sutrale.
- Urmila Matondkar Biography and Profile