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Rati Agnihotri Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (1)  | Trivia (24)  | Personal Quotes (6)

Overview (2)

Born in Bombay, India
Height 5' 4½" (1.64 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Rati Agnihotri was born on December 10, 1960 to a Punjabi family in Bombay, India, and has an older sister and brother. Although, she came from a traditional, conservative family, she was allowed to model at age 10, since her sister Anita was a Miss Young India. When she was a teenager, her father relocated the family to Madras, Tamil Nadu because of his job. There, she attended Good Shepherd's Convent school and acted in a school play. Bharati Raja, one of Tamil Nadu's famous film director, was in the audience and was on the lookout for a heroine to star in his new film. He met with Rati's father and promised the film would wrap in a month. Her father reluctantly agreed, and a sixteen-year-old Rati was very excited to star in her first film, Pudhiya Varpukal (1979). It was also her hero Bhagyaraj's first film, and he coached her with her lines by teaching her Tamil. The film became a blockbuster, with Rati an overnight sensation. Bharati Raja soon directed her in her second film, Neeram Maradapukal (1979). Even though she was Punjabi, South Indian audiences embraced her as if she was truly one of their own, and she reciprocated the feeling by calling herself "Tamilian at heart" and calling Madras her "home." She also starred in Telugu and Kannada films and made 32 films in just three years. She worked with big banners and top stars, such as Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth, Shobhan Babu, Chiranjeevi, Vishnuvardhan, N.T. Rama Rao, Krishna, and Nageshwara Rao. Ironically, her entry into Hindu films came from her strong connection to South Indian cinema. She had worked with director K. Balanchander once before and had been Kamal Haasan's leading lady in many South Indian films, so she wasn't surprised when they approached her for the Hindi remake of their Telugu blockbuster, Marocharithra (1979). Now re-titled "Ek Duje Ke Liye" (1981), the film was about passionate lovers who are torn apart by their parents in the storytelling tradition of Romeo and Juliet. It became the top grossing hit of 1981 and introduced into Hindi films the 5 stars of the South Indian film industry: director K. Balachander, hero Kamal Haasan, heroine Rati Agnihotri, supporting actress Madhavi, and playback singer S.P. Balasubramaniam. Although all received Filmfare nominations, only Rati and S.P. Balasubramaniam were the real beneficiaries, both becoming top stars in their field. The unforgettable musical score by Laxmikant-Pyarelal rose the film to soaring heights, and there were rumors about how the film's love story about tragic lovers inspired real life lovers to take their own lives. Rati's father, who was also managing her career, shielded her from the hysteria as she was still so young. He effectively kept her starring in only Hindi films after Ek Duje Ke Liye, and she ended the decade starring in over 43 Hindi films. Her biggest hits were Shaukeen (1982), Farz Aur Kanoon (1982), Coolie (1983), and Tawaif (1985) for which she received her second Filmfare nomination as Best Actress.

Her father's death along with her marriage to businessman and architect Anil Virwani on February 9, 1985 convinced Rati to leave Hindi films when she was still at the top. In 1987, her only son Tanuj was born, and she concentrated on raising him and focusing on other creative interests, such as designing her husband's architectural creations. She also received a degree in Reike, where she distantly heals people. Even though she retired from films, she would still appear at film events looking beautiful and glamorous, and as a result, the film offers kept coming in. After 16 years of saying no, she finally said yes realizing that her son is growing up and she had more time for herself. Her family supported her decision. She returned to films by playing Kajol's glamorous mother in Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi (2001). More film offers came in, and she took them, such as Yaadein (2001) and Dev (2004). After a 20-year absence from South Indian films, she returned to the South in the Tamil film Majnu (2001). She also made her Malayalam debut in Anyar (2003) and English debut in An Ode to Lost Love (2003). She also has acted on stage in plays such as "Please Divorce Me Darling" (2005) and television serials, such as Sixer (2005). She still keeps up with supporting her husband's architectural creations and devotes time to social causes like cancer, AIDS and menopause awareness for 40 plus women. In 2010, she supported her son Tanuj Virwani's decision to enter films as an actor. In 2015, she separated from her husband.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ramstep

Family (1)

Spouse Anil Virwani (9 February 1985 - March 2015)  (divorced)  (1 child)

Trivia (24)

When Rati married businessman and architect Anil Virwani in February 1985, she gave up films for 16 years and came back after her teenage son Tanuj encouraged her to do so.
She is Punjabi but settled in Madras, Tamil Nadu when she was a teenager because her father's job took them there.
When Rati was just 16 years old, director Bharati Raja saw her in a school play and cast her as the heroine in the Tamil film "Pudhiya Varpukkal" (1979), which made her an overnight star in South Indian films.
She didn't know the Tamil language, so her leading man on her first film, Bhagyaraj, wrote the dialogues for her in Hindi and would explain them to her in English, and she spoke the lines in Tamil. She quickly learned the language and can now speak in near perfect Tamil, and later Telugu and Kannada as well.
After doing South Indian films (Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada), she became a star in Hindi films with her first Hindi film "Ek Duje Ke Liye" (1981), which ironically, was a remake of a Telugu blockbuster "Maro Charitra" (1979) starring a different heroine (Saritha) but same director (K. Balachander), hero (Kamal Hassan), supporting actress (Madhavi).
She has acted in six languages (Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam) and has acted in over 150 feature films, theatrical plays, and television serials.
In her heyday as a South Indian heroine from 1979-1981, she starred in Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada films but didn't have time to act in Malayalam films. She finally made her debut in a Malayalam film in a mature, supporting role in Anyar (2003).
Her cousin is actor-filmmaker Atul Agnihotri, and she played a supporting role as a cardiac surgeon in his film "Dil Ne Jise Apna Kahaa" (2004).
In 2005, she acted in her first music video by playing a doting mother of a young man in love with a coed in Kumar Sanu's non-film album "Aisa Na Dekho Mujhe." However, she doesn't sing in the video and has no aspirations for a career as a recording artist.
In 2011, she admitted that she and her leading man Kamal Haasan weren't on speaking terms during the filming of the hit love story Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981). She didn't recall why there was a breakdown in communication but remembered him as a very talented, amazing actor.
She and her husband, Anil Virwani, have a son named Tanuj Virwani (b.1987).
Sister Anita Agnihotri was a former Miss India who designed costumes for films. She is now settled in Poland and runs a Indian restaurant called Bombay. She is married to Peter Luszczenska.
Neice of actor Rohit Agnihotri. Rohit was Atul' s father. None of Rohit's films did well at the box office. This caused him to retire soon.
She became related to Salman Khan when his sister Alvira Khan married her cousin Atul Agnihotri.
Rati, who has shot Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981) and Shaukeen (1982) in Goa, said her maternal grandfather was a Portuguese and grandmother was a Saraswat Brahmin but said "I have an ancestral home here but don't know where it is located.".
She was annoyed by rumors that some of her scenes were dropped in Sahhas (1981), because she wasn't good, and that her voice was jarring. She denied that her scenes were cut but did agree that her role was short, even though she was the heroine of the film. She said that she asked the director to increase her role, but he told her he couldn't do it at that stage, so she kept quiet and completed her work on the film.
Within the first year of her successful debut in Hindi films with Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981), she was charging 3 to 5 lakhs per film, with which, she was able to purchase 3 cars. Her income also allowed her mother to retire as a successful dress designer and garment exporter to be her chaperone.
Father name is Roopkishen Agnihotri. He supposedly received acting offers from producers but declined. Mother's name is Radhika.
Starred in Sujata (Choreographer Kamal's assistant) shelved film "Sajni Sajan Ko Le Bhagi"(1984).
Brother named Rakesh.
Sister Anita was offered the lead role opposite Rishi Kapoor in Laila Majnu. Her parents declined as she was not interested.
Starred in the shelved movie "Sahiba Jaane Mirza" (1986). Starring Rati Agnihothri, Vivek Khanna, Directed by S.P. Bakshi.
Manmohan Desai was planning on a film titled "Construction Rani" starring Rati Agnihothri. This was in 1983. The film was to be made in 5 different languages. The project fizzled out.
Changed her name from "Rathan" to "Rati" for her acting career.

Personal Quotes (6)

I am a Tamilian at heart, a Punjabi by default.
Her reaction when director Bharati Raja offered her the heroine role in her first film: "Well, I was so excited... what else will a 16-year-old girl be if she is approached by the topmost director of the time for his film? I was ecstatic! For me, it was a big picnic! The film became a blockbuster in 1979, one thing led to another and I worked in 32 films in three years!"
When asked what she did after she left films for 15 years: "When Tanuj was born, he occupied most of my time and attention. But I have always been active in something creative. All these candles you see all over the house are designed and created by me. I paint a lot and do stained glass. I look into the aesthetic aspects of [husband] Anil's constructions, like, after a building is ready, I help in designing the foyers and the landscaping. I have always been very fond of creating things -- I even do sculptures from rocks. I make my own dry flowers too."
I am very organised. I think it is a birth defect. I cannot be haphazard even if I try!
When asked which are her best Hindi films: "Starting with Ek Duje Ke Liye, which is more than apparent! Then Tawaif, Shubkamana, Mujhe Insaaf Chahiye and Shaukeen - which I really enjoyed doing and I think it was one of my better films as I have good memories of the same. Then Coolie, Mazdoor and perhaps a few more."
In 2005, she recalled the fame and glory that her first Hindi film brought her: "Ek Duje Ke Liye" (1981) was a historical film for me. It brought me so much appreciation and affection. I was the only Punjabi in an all-Tamil cast. And I loved the attention I got."

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