Neelam Kothari is an Indian jewelry designer and former actress. She worked in numerous films in the decade of the 1990s. She’s one of Bollywood’s most non-controversial ladies. Neelam is known for Hatya (1988), Agneepath (1990) and Deewangee (2002). She even became popular for her small role in Karan Johar‘s directorial debut ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai‘ where she played VJ Neelam.
She made her acting debut with Jawaani (1984) opposite debutant Karan Shah. She then starred opposite Govinda in the box office hits Love 86 (1986), Sindoor (1986), Khudgarz (1987), Hatya (1988), Farz Ki Jung, (1989), Taaqatwar (1989) and Do Qaidi (1989). She starred opposite Chunkey Pandey in films Aag Hi Aag (1987), Paap Ki Duniya (1988), Khatron Ke Khiladi (1988), Ghar Ka Chiraag (1989), and Mitti Aur Sona (1989).
Her career’s biggest hit remains Ghar Ka Chiraag opposite Rajesh Khanna in 1989 and Agneepath in 1991.
Neelam Kothari was born on 9th November 1969 into a Gujarati family in Hong Kong. Her father was a well-liked ancient jewelry designer and her mother name is Parveen Kothari. As a child, she learned to play the keyboard and danced Jazz Ballet. Her family has a traditional jewelry making business, making high-class pieces. She was educated at Island School, where she was a member of Rutherford house.
After her childhood in Hong Kong, her family moved to Bangkok. Neelam came to Bombay in 1983 to visit her grandparents. She made friends with Shrishti Behl who lived in the same apartment building as her grandparents. They became good friends playing tennis every day. Shrishti’s father was famous Bollywood director Ramesh Behl. After seeing Neelam, He immediately offered her a lead role in his film Jawaani in the year 1984. Neelam decided to give acting a shot but her parents refused as they were not interested in Hindi films. Finally, they consented and Neelam signed for the film Jawaani (1984) alongside Karan Shah, Tina Munim’s nephew. But the film was a major flop commercially.
Neelam was a very successful actress in the mid-1980s. She made her acting debut in the film Jawaani (1984). The film was a disaster at the box-office but her cute looks got noticed and she started getting various movie offers.
She rose to prominence after the release of her film Ilzaam in 1986. She was cast opposite Govinda who was making his debut through this film. The movie was a blockbuster and their onscreen pair became a huge hit.
Her career best movie is still considered as Ghar Ka Chirag opposite Rajesh Khanna, very much elder to him.
She also worked in the Bengali film Badnaam (1990).
Her last film was Kasam which released way back in 2001.
Apart from films she also appeared in video albums like Bina Mistry’s Hot Hot Hot which was a huge hit.
Neelam married Rishi Sethia, son of a businessman from the U.K. Unfortunately, their marriage was short-lived due to misunderstandings. Rishi Sethia is the nephew of Rajendra Sethia who married to Fardeen Khan‘s half-sister Sonia Sethia.
On 24 January 2011, she married actor Samir Soni. It was the second marriage for both of the stars. Neelam and Sameer were introduced to each other by their good friend Ekta Kapoor and the two dated for three years before they got married.
Samir was earlier married to model Rajlaxmi Khanvilkar in the late 1990s. But, after six months of their marriage, Samir and Rajlaxmi got divorced.
On September 2, 2013, Samir & Neelam adopted a baby girl and named her Ahana.
Before her first marriage, Neelam dated Bobby Deol for a short while. However, things didn’t work out between them and they decided to part ways soon.
Even while pursuing her career in acting, Neelam was interested in jewelry designing and was involved in her family business. Her family is known for quite a long time for its exclusive handcrafted jewelry in Europe, The United States, The Middle East and Asia. Neelam pursued a formal course in jewelry-designing in Mumbai and, after quitting films in 2001, started out commercially on her own under the name Neelam Jewels. She opened a showroom in Mumbai in 2004. She then launched her jewelry store in Mumbai on 25 August 2011 under the name Neelam Kothari Fine Jewels.
- Full Name: Neelam Kothari
- Other names: Neelam Soni
- Birth Date: November 9, 1968
- Birth Place: Hong Kong, China
- Residence: Pali Hill, Mumbai, Maharashtra
- Occupation: Actress, Jewellery Designer
- Years active: 1984–2001
- Spouse(s): Samir Soni (24 January 2011 – present), Rishi Sethia (2002 – ?) ( divorced)
- Children: Ahana Soni (Adopted on 2 September 2013)
- Father: Shishir Kothari
- Mother: Parveen Kothari
- Brother: Afsheen (Sunny) Kothari
- Sister-in-law: Anne Kothari
- Andaz Pyar Ka
- Love 86
- Aag Hi Aag
- Waqt Ki Awaz
- Ghar Mein Ram Gali Mein Shyam
- Khatron Ke Khiladi
- Paap Ki Duniya
- Do Qaidi
- Ghar Ka Chiraag
- Hum Bhi Insaan Hain
- Mitti Aur Sona
- Vishnu Devaa
- Doodh Ka Karz
- Upkar Dhoodhache
- Chor Pe Mor
- Amiri Garibi
- Billoo Badshah
- Farz Ki Jung
- Dost Garibon Ka
- Meet Mere Man Ke
- Afsana Pyaar Ka
- Ek Ladka Ek Ladki
- Laat Saab
- Antim Nyay
- Ek Tha Raja
- Mohabbat Aur Jung
- Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
- Hum Saath-Saath Hain: We Stand United
- Pattar Aur Payal