The romance Andaaz (2003) starring Akshay Kumar had a casting coup at the time as it featured Miss Universe 2000, Lara Dutta, and Miss World 2000, Priyanka Chopra, in the same film. Lara, who turns 45 on April 16, had spoken about her career choices after the success of the film. She had explained that she and Priyanka had differing outlooks on their film careers and weren’t going to go for the same kind of roles. (Also read: Lara Dutta reacts to Harnaaz Sandhu’s Miss Universe gown with her face on it, calls her ‘diamond’)
Priyanka Chopra made her Bollywood debut with Anil Sharma’s The Hero: Love Story of a Spy starring Sunny Deol and Preity Zinta, while Lara debuted with Andaaz. Directed by Suneel Darshan, the story featured Akshay, Lara and Priyanka in a romantic love triangle. The film and the soundtrack were both a success at the time.
In a 2003 interview, Lara told Rediff that she and Priyanka had separate outlooks on their careers. She had said, “We are very different actresses. She has different aspirations. I want to build a base for myself as an actress so that, tomorrow, a filmmaker will have the confidence to cast me in a role like Nargis’ in Mother India. I don’t want to burn myself out. I don’t want to be seen in every second film. I don’t want the audience to say, ‘Oh no, she’s in this one too.'”
She had also added, “It is very hard to find the right balance between being a woman of substance and a sex symbol. I want to play the entire gamut.” Lara and Priyanka ended up sharing the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut for their performances in the film. Priyanka was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress in 2004.
In 2021, Lara played Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the Akshay-starrer Bell Bottom. She acted alongside Naseeruddin Shah, Raghubir Yadav, Lara Dutta, Soha Ali Khan, Kritika Kamra and Anya Singh in the Zee5 family drama Kaun Banegi Shikharwati in 2022. The actor will next be seen in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Agatha Christie mystery titled Charlie Chopra & The Mystery Of Solang Valley.
Lara, who is married to former tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi, is also starring in the upcoming romantic drama Ishq-E-Nadaan with Mohit Raina.
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