By Aashima Talwar Last Updated:
Born with a silver spoon, she is the daughter of the first family of Bollywood, the Kapoor khandaan. We are talking about Karisma Kapoor, the first Kapoor daughter who dared to break the rules and join Bollywood as an actress who created a stir in the 90s and early 2000s with her screen presence, smile, dance moves and acting skills. She is an effortless beauty whose charm is unmatchable.
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She was one of the highest paid actresses of her time. After starring in movies like Dil To Pagal Hai, Hum Saath Saath Hain, Biwi No. 1, Fiza and Raja Hindustani, she started getting the status of a talented actress who was more than her surname. She joined Bollywood at the tender age of 17, with the romantic drama, Prem Qaidi. After ruling the silver screen for almost a decade, she got married to a businessman and took a sabbatical from Bollywood in 2003. Despite being a star kid, her life has never been an easy one. From making her debut in Bollywood without a godfather to seeing her home break because of another woman to now single-handedly bringing up her children, she has lived her share of struggles and heartbreaks.
Life was never easy for Lolo (as she is fondly called by everyone), as, at a very early age, she saw her parents separate. She lived with her mother, Babita and younger sister, Kareena. Babita brought up both her girls single-handedly. Karisma once revealed that her mother had to sell her jewellery to make ends meet. Her family, despite being the first family of Bollywood, was unsupportive towards her career. It’s a firm belief of the Kapoor family that girls should not be a part of the movie industry, especially as actresses that is why no Kapoor daughter apart from Karisma and Kareena chose acting as a career. The tradition also resulted in Babita and Neetu Singh retiring from acting when they got married.
Yet, Lolo always kept her chin up and turned every obstacle into an opportunity. She made her debut at 17, without anyone’s support and after working hard day and night, proved it to the world and her family that she was born to act! With her sheer hard-working and never-giving-up spirit, she became a legacy.
The initial years in Bollywood were not a cakewalk for her as she had to struggle a lot to make her place amongst already famous actresses like Madhuri Dixit and Kajol. Kareena, in one of her interviews, revealed how Karisma used to cry a lot as she was encountering the horrors of the industry. She brushed all the problems from her face and made everything look perfect for her fans and the ones who didn’t know her.
She was one brave actress, who did all sorts of roles which no other star kid would have never accepted. Though she did numerous films, it was only after the release of Raja Hindustani in 1996 that people started taking her seriously as an actress. She started getting meaty roles and critical acclaims for her acting skills, combined with box-office hits.
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As if her struggle with her parents’ broken marriage and the hardships of industry were not enough, her love life also was extremely eventful during those days. Her first prominent relationship was with her Jigar and Suhag co-star, Ajay Devgn. Apparently, during the shooting of their films, they became very good friends and came close. The two started dating each other but Karisma got to know that Ajay was two-timing her with another co-star, Raveena. She always maintained that Ajay was just a good friend, but rumour mill was abuzz with their affair. Karisma and Raveena became arch rivals during that time, because of Ajay but Ajay dumped both of them for Kajol whom he ended up marrying. Karisma was also linked to David Dhawan for a short span as she was doing many of his films, but there was no truth to this story.
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Two most powerful clans of the film fraternity—the Kapoors and the Bachchans, were about to become one big family and join hands yet again, when the engagement of Karisma Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan was announced, on Amitabh Bachchan's 60th birthday celebration in October 2002. It not only surprised the media and the fans but also the industry as no one knew that these two were romantically involved. All their fans were excited for this grand marriage to happen soon, but they got the greatest shock of their lives when the two families abruptly called off the engagement, after only four months of the announcement. Both Bachchans and Kapoors never gave a reason for calling off the marriage but Jaya Bachchan once revealed that it was solely Abhishek’s decision.
Not many know that Karisma and Abhishek dated for almost 5 years before getting engaged and later calling it off. So, do you want to know the how the two met? Well, for the ones who don’t know, Raj Kapoor’s grandson (his daughter’s son), Nikhil Nanda is happily married to Amitabh Bachchan’s daughter, Shweta Bachchan Nanda. It was at Nikhil and Shweta’s wedding in 1997 that Karisma and Abhishek met and came close. Soon, the two started dating. As Karisma was a big star and Abhishek had not started his career yet, it was easy for them to keep their relationship under the wraps. It was during this time only that Karisma’s baby sister, Kareena made her debut opposite Abhishek in their first film, Refugee in 2000. After announcing Karisma and Abhishek’s engagement in 2002, they broke off the engagement after a few months.
Till today nobody knows why Karisma and Abhishek parted ways, souring the relation between Bachchans and Kapoors forever, there were hush-hush whispers that it was Babita who called off the engagement as Karisma was a star and Abhishek had just started his career. Even Amitabh Bachchan’s financial condition was not that great as he had incurred many losses due to his production company. As she was a single mother, she knew the importance of money and a financially stable partner and thus convinced Karisma to end the relationship. It was also said that Babita asked for a prenup in which Amitabh would transfer some of his wealth in Abhishek’s name, to secure her daughter’s future. This demand didn’t go down well with the Bachchans and Abhishek called off the wedding. Sooner than expected, Babita found a rich man for her daughter and Karisma got married in September 2003.
After being forced by her mother to part ways with the man she loved, she was convinced to marry a complete stranger, keeping only his financial status in mind. It is reportedly said that it was on Babita’s continuous insistence that Karisma decided to meet Sanjay Kapur, a rich Delhi-based businessman who was previously married to Nandita Mahtani, a famous designer for two years. Reportedly, it was only 10 days after the legal separation of Sanjay and Nandita, that Sanjay and Karisma’s wedding was announced. Karisma and Sanjay tied the knot in a grand ceremony on September 29, 2003, which was attended by the entire Bollywood, except, the Bachchans, for the obvious reasons.
Their marriage didn’t last long and the two got separated in 2010. Karisma and Sanjay have two beautiful children, Samaira and Kiaan from their 10 years of marriage. The separation was an ugly one and Karisma walked out of the marriage with her two kids (her son being a few months old only ) and shifted back to Mumbai, at her mother’s house. After a lot of mudslinging and accusations made in public, Karisma and Sanjay were granted a divorce in 2016, with Karisma having the custody of her children.
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Their marriage never had a great start as both had a past. During their divorce battle, Sanjay even said that Karisma married him for his wealth and was on a rebound after her broken engagement with Abhishek. While, Karisma accused Sanjay of cheating on her with Priya Sachdev, his current wife. Sanjay and Priya were said to be in a live-in relationship while Karisma and Sanjay were still married. She also stated that Sanjay and his mother used to mentally and physically torture her. She also revealed that her ex-husband was addicted to recreational drugs. After many accusations made from both the sides, the two are legally divorced today and happy in their own worlds.
Today, both Sanjay and Karisma have moved on in their lives. Sanjay tied the knot with his ladylove, Priya Sachdev in April 2017, after a few months of his divorce and is happy with his third wife. On the other hand, rumours have it that Karisma has also found her soulmate in a Mumbai-based businessman, Sandeep Toshniwal. It is said that the couple is going steady and planning to settle down once Sandeep’s divorce from his estranged wife sees the light of the day. The rumoured couple is often spotted going for lunches and dinners. Sandeep is paly with Karisma's friends from the industry and they are often seen going together to such social gatherings. We are glad that Karisma has found her ideal man who is affectionate towards her and her kids.
In all these years, Karisma has evolved as a person and more as a woman. From being the naïve 17-year-old girl who stepped into Bollywood, to a 44-year-old single mother who is raising her two kids on her own. She is truly a diva who has brushed off all her worries with a smile on her face!