India Cinema Series
Personally, I don’t think Kareena Kapoor’s nickname, Bebo, suits her. But my opinion doesn’t really count for much considering the Indian media and fans alike have embraced everything about Kapoor (including her moniker, which was affectionately given her by her family in her pre-stardom days).
The 29 year old comes in at No. 3 on our Top 5 Indian Actresses countdown. Born into a legendary film family, it seems Kareena Kapoor was simply destined for stardom. But her actor father apparently disapproved of this path, asserting that an acting career would impede on her ‘traditional feminine duties.’ Luckily for Kareena and her sister Karisma, who both dreamt of acting from childhood, their mother left him, opting to raise her daughters as a single, working parent. Elder sister Karisma made her Bollywood debut in the early 90s and has maintained a successful film career since. And although Kareena pursued various areas of study, including law, she eventually made a successful debut in the 2000 film Refugee, for which she won the Filmfare award for Best Female Debut. Despite experiencing a low in her career in 2002-03, when all six films she starred in were critical and commercial flops–and she was even criticized for flat and uninspired performances–Kareena reestablished herself by taking on more serious roles. In 2004, she played a prostitute in 2004’s Chameli. Many nominations and awards have followed since her shift in focus.
Kapoor is also widely known for her charity work and also was this year the only woman of the 10 people on the 2009 Filmfare Power List. Her influence and marketability has allowed her to pick up numerous endorsements, the latest of which has seen her becoming the face of Sony’s Vaio ‘Size Zero’ series laptops. She is said to have sparked the size-zero trend for Indian actresses, after losing a substantial amount of weight when she became a vegetarian in 2006. Her dramatic changes in lifestyle and body have prompted close media scrutiny, but Kapoor vehemently denies rumors she has an eating disorder, claiming her slimmed-down figure is merely the result of exercise and proper eating habits.