Bipasha Basu is one of the model turned actresses who has succeeded in a big way in the Hindi film industry. She is a huge sex symbol, knows it and has no qualms about it. She was even voted the sexiest Asian woman in a poll taken in 2007. As an actress though, Bipasha still has to prove her self though admittedly she has shown the odd spark or two when given the chance in a film like Corporate (2006) whereas her other highly regarded performances like Jism (2003) and No Entry (2005) have worked more due to her being cast correctly rather than her acting talent.
Bipasha (incidentally her name means deep, dark desire!) was born in New Delhi on January 7, 1979. Her father shifted to Kolkata as she was growing up and she did her schooling at Bhavan's Gangabux Kanoria Vidyamandir. The second of three sisters, she harboured ambitions of becoming a doctor but an aversion to dissecting animals put paid to any such hopes and she shifted her field of studies form Science to Commerce, intending to become a Chartered Accountant instead.
Doing the odd modelling assignment and ocassional ramp show in Kolkata, Bipasha met supermodel Mehr Jessia who suggested she enter the Ford Godrej Cinthol Supermodel Contest in 1996. Bipasha did so and what's more won the contest. Her life changed forever as Ford took her to New York where she had a pretty successful modelling career.
Bollywood was logically the next step and Bipasha made her debut in Abbas-Mastan's Ajnabee (2001) co-starring Akshay Kumar, Bobby Deol and Kareena Kapoor. Bipasha was correctly cast in the role of a femme fatale and made quite an impact in the film stealing a march over Kareena in the process. It also helped that the most popular song in the film was picturised on her and Akshay as they grooved away to Mehbooba Mehbooba Mehbooba. Bipasha had arrived and won the Filmfare Award For Best Female Debut.
Bipasha's position in the Hindi film industry was consolidated as Raaz (2002) co-starring Dino Morea proved to be the biggest hit of the year. The film, a take off on What Lies Beneath, got decent reviews as well for Bipasha garnerning her a nomination for a Filmfare Best Actress Award. The success of the film also helped off-set her other films that year like Aankhen, Chor Machaaye Shor, Mere Yaar ki Shaadi and Gunaah, all duds.
It was Jism that sent Bipasha's stock soaring as a sex symbol. In the film, a copy of Body Heat (1981), Bipasha is prefect (again rightly cast) as the sexy femme fatale driving John Abraham to murder her husband for her. In the film most memorable moment, she emerges Bo Derek like from the sea all wet. The film was a box-office and marked a fine debut for John Abraham.
2004 was probably the lowest year in Bipasha's career as all her films like Madhoshi, Rakth, Rudraksh, Aetbaar and Ishq Hai Tumse falling like nine pins at the box-office. What's more she failed to make an impact in any of the films either. In a Tamil film, Sachein (2005), she even did a guest appearance, playing second fiddle to Genelia D'Souza.
Thankfully for Bipasha, No Entry brought her back in the reckoning. The film, though an inane comedy, succeeded at the box-office and Bipasha managed to make her mark in the midst of a large ensemble cast including Anil Kapoor, Salman Khan, Fardeen Khan, Lara Dutta, Esha Deol and Celina Jaitley. The film got her a nomination for the Filmfare Best supporting Actress Award. Bipasha also took her first steps that year to do a serious role in Prakash Jha's Apaharan (2005) but unfortunately for her, her role in the film was sketchy at best and in fact barring one relevant scene in the second half of the film, her track in the film seems an unnecessary add-on.
It was Madhur Bhandarkar's Corporate (2006) that got Bipasha her best reviews as an actress. Playing an ambitious and powerful Executive who has no qualms about playing the corporate game, Bipasha turned in a sincere performance that has its moments like the sequence when she is told of her lover's death. But still, it was a decent performance rather than a great one.
Omkara (2006) saw her score heavily in the 'item' number Beedi but otherwise her performance was disappointing in a film boasting of great performances by Naseeruddin Shah, Ajay Devgan, Saif Ali Khan, Deepak Dobriyal and Konkana Sen. She also failed to make any impact whatsoever in Phir Hera Pheri (2006), Jaane Hoga Kya (2006), Humko Deewana Kar Gaye (2006) and Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal (2007). Even in the blockbuster Dhoom 2, though she looked her sexiest best carrying off a bikini in style, her double role was sketchily written in both avatars and frankly for all her skin show, her characters failed to add anything to the film.
2008 began well for Bipasha so far with Race (2008) storming the box-office. However, Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008) with Ranbir Kapoor is a disappointing film and defeated by a badly sketched role, Bipasha can't do much in the film. In fact, of the three heroines in the film who come into Ranbir's life, Deepika Padukone comes off best. 2009 hasn't been a very good beginning with Aa Dekhen Zara (2009), both a huge critical and commercial failure. She did recover some lost ground with All the Best (2009) though. However, none of her films after that have done well at the box-office. She is now looking at Raaz 3 (2012) to turn the tide.
Bipasha also received decent reviews for her first film in Bengali, Shawb Choritro Kalpanik (2009) , directed by Rituparno Ghosh. The story of Shawb Choritro Kalponik, penned by Ghosh himself, is about Radhika, an ordinary Bengali housewife who has lived away from her home state for some time. She comes back to Kolkata after her husband Indranil goes missing, in search of her roots as she is basically from Kolkata. Indranil was professionally an engineer but a poet by choice. Radhika is introduced to Shekhar, a photographer, when she comes to Kolkata. Her search for her roots is also a search for little slices of her husband she did not know that she tries to discover through his poetry.
Bipasha has also co-hosted the New Seven Wonders Of The World event along with Hillary Swank and Sir Ben Kingsley in Lisbon, Portugal where she decalred the Taj Mahal the winner. Besides this, she has also appeared in music videos, such as Tu Kab Yeh Jaanegi for Sonu Nigam's album, Kismat and in Jay Sean's Stolen as well.
Earlier linked with actors Milind Soman and Dino Morea, Bipasha had been seeing co-star John Abraham for sometime. The relationship had its share of ups and downs with rumours of them splitting every now and then either due to her being linked with Saif or her 'kissing' episode with Cristiano Ronaldo. It is finally over now.