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Mamta Kulkarni Biography

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Birth Name(s) : Mamta Kulkarni Date of Birth: N/A
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Mamta Mukhund Kulkarni (Devnagari ममता कुलकर्णी), born 20 April 1972) in Mumbai, is a former Bollywood Actress. She currently lives in New York City with her husband.

She gained fame after posing topless (but with her arms crossed over her breasts) for a photograph that appeared on the cover of Stardust, a popular Indian film magazine in September, 1993. She was charged under India's obscenity laws, and found herself under attack from both conservative religious groups, and women's groups. The outspoken actress lashed out at protesters, calling them hypocrites.

Kulkarni was finally convicted in July 2000, and fined Rs 15,000. However, this caused yet another controversy because she appeared in court in a burqa to evade photographers, which led to death threats and protests from the local Islamic community.

Unfortunately for her, Kulkarni's career was not a happy one. Her detractors claim that she could never fit into the class-conscious industry because of her inability to speak fluent English. However, the other view is that the actress's brazen outspokenness antagonised her colleagues. Kulkarni, who spoke with a broad Marathi accent, was reportedly taunted as being a 'vern' (a derogatory term, short for vernacular) by some assumedly well-heeled actresses who themselves had very strong Indian accents.. Press interviews in which she attacked other actresses, and was attacked in return, worsened the matter further.

At the same time, she continued to be dogged by controversy. In 1997, she was reportedly paid a large amount to perform at a private function by a legislator from Bihar, who was later arrested after investigations into the Fodder Scam case. Kulkarni was interrogated, but she denied any knowledge of the legislator's antecedents.

Kulkarni made her Bollywood film debut in the 1992 movie Tiranga. In 1993 she starred opposite Saif Ali Khan in Aashiq Awara which won her a Filmfare Lux New Face Award . She went to appear in more films such as Karan Arjun (1995), Sabse Bada Khiladi (1995) and Baazi (1995) which did well at the box office. However most of her roles involved only a little more than being a love interest to the leading man of the films or glamourous song-and-dance sequences, in keeping with her status as a sex symbol.

Kulkarni had expressed regret at being typecast as an item girl. Her luck seemed to have changed when Rajkumar Santoshi, in whose earlier movie Ghatak she had a cameo appearance, cast her as the female lead in his 1998 movie China Gate, an ambitious remake of The Magnificent Seven. In a deglamourised role and sharing screen space with some of Hindi cinemas finest actors, she had the perfect opportunity to showcase her acting talent.

However, things did not go as planned. Relations between Santoshi and the actress soured, and rumours began circulating that Kulkarni was dropped from the movie, and reinstated only after gangster Chhota Rajan intervened on her behalf. When the movie was finally released, it was also a huge flop. Furthermore, the only song in the movie, the item number Chamma Chamma, was picturised on Urmila Matondkar, even though Kulkarni had built her reputation with such numbers. To add insult to injury, the song turned out to be a chartbuster, and was even used in Baz Luhrman's Moulin Rouge!, and greatly increased Urmila's popularity.

Angered at the turn of events, Kulkarni lashed out at Santoshi, accusing him of cutting her screen time because she had refused his advances. Santoshi denied all rumours related to the movie, and the matter was given a quiet burial. However, this proved to be the death blow to Kulkarni's career. She only appeared in a handful of movies after that, and new offers dried up. She has all but quit movies. So she moved to New York City after she married a NRI.
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