Born on November 20, 1969, Shilpa Shirodkar is the daughter of famous Marathi actress Gangu Bai and granddaughter of noted Marathi actress Meenakshi Shirodkar, who starred in Brahmachari (1938). (All photos: mid-day archives and Instagram)
Shilpa Shirodkar's younger sister Namrata Shirodkar is also a former actress. Sanjay Dutt starrer Vaastav is one of Namrata's most memorable films. Namrata Shirodkar is married to Telugu film superstar Mahesh Babu and have two children Gautam and Sitara.
Shilpa Shirodkar began her Bollywood career at the age of 20. In 1989, Shilpa starred in Ramesh Sippy's Brashtachar, in which Mithun Chakraborty and Rekha essayed lead roles. Shilpa played a blind girl in the film.
Though Shilpa went almost unnoticed in her debut, her second film grabbed everyone's attention. She became Anil Kapoor's leading lady in the 1990 film 'Kishen Kanhaiya' in which Kapoor essayed a dual role.
Shilpa Shirodkar mostly worked in masala films during the 1990s. After appearing in films such as Nyay Anyay, Trinetra, Hum, Benaam Badsha, Do Matwale, Dil Hi To Hai, Gopi Kishan, Aankhen, Khuda Gawah, she soon became famous for her glamorous roles in these films!
Shilpa Shirodkar disappeared from the big screen after the 2000 film Gaja Gamini. The film was directed by M. F. Husain and was his ode to womanhood and his muse of the time, Madhuri Dixit. Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Naseeruddin Shah had played pivotal roles in film, which eventually turned out to be box office disaster.
Shilpa Shirodkar wed Holland-based businessman Apresh Ranjit in 2000 and went on a hiatus from the silver screen following that.
Speaking about her long-break from the showbiz, Shilpa Shirodkar, in an old interview with mid-day, had said, "Taking a break from films wasn't a conscious decision per se. But when I married Apresh (Ranjit), he was a student pursuing his Masters in Netherlands. So, I had to shift there to live with him. Thereafter, we lived in Auckland, New Zealand and then the UK."
But Shilpa Shirodkar made sure to utilize her time during her break as well. "I didn't miss my star status as much as I missed being busy. But, I completely rediscovered myself during my stint abroad. I met new people, made friends, learnt new skills and overcame my fears. I took up a hairdressing course in Auckland as I felt that it would help me in my line of work," she was quoted.
"Now, I know how our hard our hairdressers have to slog (smiles). I gave it up after a year as I was planning to start a family. Then after sitting idle for a couple of months, I decided to take up a job again. I sent my CVs to corporate offices, and landed up as a Debt Checker at Dun and Bradstreet, a financial services firm. Juggling between a full-time job and home was exhausting but fun. In fact, I would call it the best year of my life," said Shirodkar.
Talking about her life as a homemaker, Shilpa Shirodkar revealed, "I shifted to the UK after Anushka my daughter was born. I was a full-time mom for many years, as I'm pretty protective about my daughter. But I started getting bored once Anushka started her schooling. So, I took up driving lessons. I was used to chauffer driven cars in India, and never imagined myself driving a car. Though I was scared, I took up the challenge."
Shilpa Shirodkar further added, "Living abroad taught me to live like a common woman who does everything on her own. Madhuri (Dixit) rightly says, 'It's only in India where I wear an actor's hat, otherwise in Denver, I am a wife and mother'."
In 2013, Shirodkar made a brief appearance on the small screen in Ek Mutthi Aasmaan, and later in 2016, she appeared with Silsila Pyar Ka.
Upon her comeback, Shilpa Shirodkar told mid-day, "I see a prominent change in the industry, in the overall attitude of people. People are more professional, everything is more scripted and written, there are no last minute changes. Everyone does their homework and come so everyone is more prepared."
Right now though, Shilpa Shirodkar is busy raising her own teenage daughter Anushka. Being a part-time mom doesn't allow her to contemplate a comeback to films. "When you go away for long stretches, like I have, everything changes. New gangs and cliques are formed. It's very hard to break in."
Shilpa Shirodkar was last seen in TV show Savitri Devi College & Hospital, that aired from 15 May, 2017 to 29 September, 2018.
We wish Shilpa Shirodkar birthday!
Shilpa Shirodkar made a name for herself by doing several Bollywood films in the '90s. She returned to showbiz by entering the small screen world and is now a successful TV actress as well. On her 49th birthday today, we take a look at her journey so far