Sonam Kapoor (pronounced [soːnəm kəˈpuːr]; born 9 June 1985) is an Indian actress who appears in Bollywood films. Kapoor is one of the highest-paid actresses in the industry and is the recipient of several awards, including a Filmfare and a National Film Award. Starting in 2012, she appeared in Forbes India’s Celebrity 100 based on her income and popularity.
The daughter of actor Anil Kapoor, Kapoor studied theatre and arts at the United World College of South East Asia in Singapore. She was an assistant director to Sanjay Leela Bhansali on the 2005 film Black. Kapoor made her acting debut in Bhansali’s romantic drama Saawariya (2007), for which she was nominated for a Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut. She had her first commercial success three years later in the romantic comedy I Hate Luv Storys (2010).
After a series of commercial failures, the sleeper hit Raanjhanaa (2013) marked a turning point in her career, earning her Best Actress nominations. She then featured in the 2014 romantic comedy Khoobsurat and the 2015 comedy drama Dolly Ki Doli, both of which earned her Filmfare Award for Best Actress nominations. Kapoor played a princess in the melodrama Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015), one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films. She received the National Film Award – Special Mention and Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress for portraying the titular role in the biographical thriller Neerja (2016), one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films featuring a female protagonist.
Kapoor supports the raising awareness of breast cancer and LGBT rights. She is known in the media for her outspoken personality, is frequently credited as one of Bollywood’s most fashionable celebrities, and endorses brands and products.
Kapoor was born in the Mumbai suburb of Chembur on 9 June 1985. Her father is actor and producer Anil Kapoor, the son of the late filmmaker Surinder Kapoor and the founder of the Anil Kapoor Films Company. Her mother, Sunita, is a former model and designer. Kapoor has two younger siblings: film producer Rhea and brother Harshvardhan. She is the niece of film producer Boney Kapoor and actor Sanjay Kapoor; actress Sridevi and producer Mona Shourie (Boney’s wives) are her aunts. Kapoor’s paternal cousins are actors Arjun Kapoor and Mohit Marwah, and maternal second cousin is actor Ranveer Singh.
The family moved to the suburb of Juhu when Kapoor was one month old. She was educated at the Arya Vidya Mandir school in Juhu, where she confessed to being a “naughty” and “carefree” child who would bully the boys. She excelled at sports such as rugby and basketball, and trained in Kathak, classical music and Latin dance. Kapoor, who practices Hinduism, states that she is “quite religious”, and that it is a way of “reminding myself that I need to be thankful for so much”.
Kapoor’s first job was as a waitress at age 15, although it lasted only a week. As a teenager, she struggled with her weight: “I had every issue related to weight that I could have. I was unhealthy, I had bad skin, and I had hair growing on my face!” Kapoor was diagnosed with insulin resistance and polycystic ovarian disease, and has since begun an initiative to increase awareness of diabetes. Kapoor enrolled at the United World College of South East Asia in Singapore for her pre-university education, where she studied theatre and arts. She has said she later started courses in economics and political science through University of Mumbai correspondence programme, after returning from University of East London where she began her bachelor’s degree in the same subjects but returned to Mumbai soon after she began. The actress Rani Mukerji, a family friend, visited her family in Singapore on holiday while working on Black (2005). Kapoor, who had originally wanted to be a director and writer, expressed a desire to work as a crew member on the film. On her father’s recommendation to director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, she was appointed as his assistant.