Aditi Rao Hydari (born 28 October 1986) is an Indian actress and singer who works in Bollywood, Tamil and Telugu films. Her journey on the celluloid commenced with a period film titled Sringaram. She was cast in the double role of a devdasi because of her dance background. While she was studying, she went to do a cameo in the Malyalam film industry with Prajapathi in 2006 and in the ensemble Bollywood film Delhi 6 .
In 2010 she moved to Bombay and she was reintroduced to Hindi cinema by Sudhir Mishra in the film Yeh Saali zindagi. She grabbed everyone’s attention for her vulnerable but fiery portrayal of a girl coping with circumstances beyond her years Her performance as ‘Shanti’ received good reviews and she also won the screen award for best supporting actress for the same. It put her on various lists of talents to watch out for.
Soon she was a part of two successful commercials – Ponds face wash and Airtel which led her to play an author backed role in the much loved film London Paris New York. She went to star in another author backed role in Murder 3. This was followed by a big ticket film Boss and the quirky Guddu Rangeela.
Aditi Rao Hydari was born on 28 October 1986 in Hyderabad to Ehsaan Hydari and his wife Vidya Rao, an acclaimed classical singer popular for thumri and dadra genres of music. Her father, who died in 2013, was a Bohri Muslim while her mother, who is a Hindu by birth, is a practicing Buddhist and a Chitrapur Saraswat from Mangalore who is half-Telugu. Hydari is thus of mixed lineage – Bohri, Chitrapur Saraswat and Telugu.
Hydari belongs to two royal lineages, that of sir Muhammad Saleh Akbar Hydari and Raja J. Rameshwar Rao of erstwhile Raja of Wanaparthy family. She is the great-granddaughter of Akbar Hydari, former Prime Minister of Hyderabad state (colonial India) and the grandniece of Muhammad Saleh Akbar Hydari, former Governor of Assam. Aditi is the granddaughter of Raja J Rameshwar Rao, who headed the administration of Wanaparthi state during colonial India, and Shanta Rameshwar Rao, a much respected educationalist in the city of Hyderabad, the founder of Vidyaranya school and the chairperson of the publishing house Orient Blackswan. Filmmaker Kiran Rao, the wife of actor Aamir Khan, is her maternal second cousin.
Hydari's parents separated when she was 2 years old. Her mother moved from Hyderabad to New Delhi and managed her family business from there. While her father remarried, but did not have children, and her mother remained single. Hydari spent her childhood in both Hyderabad and New Delhi. She started learning Bharatanatyam at age 5 and became a disciple of acclaimed dancer Leela Samson. She was educated at A Krishnamurthy Foundation India School and graduated from Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi. From a young age, Hydari aspired to become an actress. She said, "I always wanted to be an actress. I watched 'Bombay' as a kid and I wanted to run into the screen and be like Manisha Koirala and become a Mani Ratnam heroine".
Hydari uses both of her parent's surnames. She explained, "I wanted to keep both, as my mom has brought me up, but my father is also a part of me. Hydari is a rare name so I kept both Rao and Hydari."
Debut and early roles (2004–09)
Hydari began her career as a Bharatanatyam dancer, having become interested in the art form following her association with Leela Samson from the age of 11. She worked as a part of Samson's dance group, Spanda, teaching students and travelling through India and abroad to perform in stage events. In early 2004, Hydari completed work on her first acting project titled Sringaram, where she portrayed the lead role of a devadasi, a temple dancer of the 19th century. The Tamil film was directed by Sharada Ramanathan and produced by Padmini Ravi, a noted bharatanatyam dancer. Hydari was offered the role after Ramanathan saw her dance performance at a conference, and was also impressed with her "vulnerable and fresh face" and her resemblance to dancer Shobana. After being screened at numerous international film festivals throughout 2005 and 2006, the film received critical acclaim upon being shown in India and fetched several accolades, including three National Film Awards. Sringaram had limited a1theatrical release in October 2007, but won positive reviews, with a critic noting that "the film has brilliant acting from the lead, Aditi Rao".
Her first film to have a theatrical release, however, was the Malayalam film Prajapathi (2006), in which she starred alongside Mammootty. She had been recommended to director Ranjith for the role by actress Suhasini, and was selected after the director managed to get in contact with her through Madhu Ambat, who was the cinematographer of Sringaram. Hydari portrayed an orphan girl who falls in love with the character played by Mammootty, but her role was considered minimal, with a critic from Rediff stating she "has nothing to do with the overall plot". In 2009, she was cast by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra in his Hindi drama film, Delhi-6, where she portrayed a supporting role of an unmarried woman living in a community where spinsterhood was frowned upon. Featuring in an ensemble cast alongside Abhishek Bachchan and Sonam Kapoor, Hydari was selected by Mehra after he was impressed with her performance in Sringaram.
Career expansion (2009–15)
In 2011, Hydari appeared in a role opposite Arunoday Singh in Sudhir Mishra's romantic drama Yeh Saali Zindagi. Portraying the wife of a former convict, the film garnered publicity prior to release for the sensuous scenes between Hydari and Singh. Post-release, Hydari received acclaim for her performance by winning the Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress and subsequently received much larger public attention. She later portrayed a supporting role alongside Ranbir Kapoor in Imtiaz Ali's Rockstar (2011). Hydari initially had met Ali to discuss the leading female role of a Kashmiri girl, but he chose to cast newcomer Nargis Fakhri instead. Ali subsequently contacted her again after two months and signed her to play a supporting role of an impulsive television reporter, who follows the character played by Kapoor. Several of Hydari's scenes in the film were trimmed before its theatrical release, much like her appearance in Delhi-6, and a critic noted her role "suffers due to an undeveloped characterization".
Hydari made a public statement that she wanted to appear in lead roles, rather than portray secondary characters, and subsequently, she was cast in her first lead role in a Hindi film through London, Paris, New York (2012) opposite Ali Zafar. Directed by Anu Menon, the film narrated the tale of a couple who connect with each other in unlikely circumstances in three different cities – London, Paris and New York. With the film, she made her singing debut by singing two of the songs from the soundtrack. Hydari won predominantly positive reviews for her role of Lalitha, with a reviewer from Sify.com stating Hydari "makes the transition from side actress to leading lady and is instantly impressive", adding she is a "good performer with a striking screen presence" and that "she's likely to go places". Likewise, reviewers from The Hindu and NDTV called her performance "beautiful and in control of her character" and "a delight to watch", respectively. During the period, she also sung the Hindi version of the song "We Are Family" for the Hollywood animation film Ice Age 4: Continental Drift.
In 2013, she became a part of Mahesh Bhatt's Murder franchise, when she was cast as Roshni, opposite Randeep Hooda, in Vishesh Bhatt's directorial film Murder 3. Hydari stated she was keen to do a film which would show the "mysterious and sensual side" to her, away from the several "innocent" roles she had done prior to Murder 3. She received positive reviews for her performance, Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama wrote "Aditi and Sara are show-stoppers" and that "both deliver knockout performances", while Roshni Devi of Koimoi stated that "Aditi's performance is pillar for the film." Hydari then starred alongside Akshay Kumar and Shiv Panditt in the action film Boss (2013) directed by Anthony D'Souza. Describing her role as one of a "quintessential Hindi movie heroine", she revealed that she signed the film owing to Akshay Kumar's popularity and that it was important to be a part of a film which would have a "wide reach". The film received mixed responses from critics but was a box office success. In 2014, Hydari appeared in two guest roles — as a royal princess in the comedy drama Khoobsurat and then as a dancer in the Marathi period drama, Rama Madhav, at the request of choreographer Saroj Khan. She was next seen in the comedy drama, Guddu Rangeela (2015) by Subhash Kapoor, which had an average performance at the box office. For her performance, a reviewer from Rediff wrote Hydari "is perfectly cast as a bright-eyed girl who knows more than she lets on, and the actress looks luminous".
Breakthrough and success (2016–present)
In 2016, Hydari starred alongside Amitabh Bachchan and Farhan Akhtar in Bejoy Nambiar's crime thriller film Wazir. The film tells the story of two unusual friends, a chess grandmaster who uses a wheelchair, played by Bachchan, and a grief-stricken ATS officer, played by Akhtar. Hydari played the love interest of Akhtar's character. The film released on 8 January 2016 to mostly positive reviews and had the box office collection of around ₹62 crore (US$9.0 million). Hydari also garnered praise for her performance. Gayatri Gauri in her review for Firstpost called Hydari's performance a "welcome change from glamorous heroines we usually see on screen." Abhijit Bhaduri of The Times of India said that despite the lack of focus on her character, she did justice to her part by "conveying stuff with her eyes." Ananya Bhattacharya of India Today gave Hydari the highest praise saying that she "brings vulnerability to her Ruhana" added that she "has to her credit several strong sequences."
Hydari next starred in Abhishek Kapoor's romantic drama film Fitoor, along with Tabu, Aditya Roy Kapur and Katrina Kaif. The film based on Charles Dickens' novel Great Expectations, had Hydari play the role of the younger Miss Havisham (later played by Tabu). The film was released on 12 February 2016 to mixed reviews and underperformed at the box-office. However, Hydari garnered praise for her performance. Sarita Tanwar of Daily News and Analysis in her review wrote: "Aditi Rao Hydari does full justice to the part of young Begum", and Surabhi Redkar of Koimoi deemed her "stunning". Her third film of 2016, The Legend of Michael Mishra had a poor response from critics, with the critic from The Times of India noting "Aditi Rao Hydari's good looks is the only good thing about this amateurish attempt, masquerading as a feature film, aimed for adults."
Hydari's first project of 2017, Kaatru Veliyidai, marked her first collaboration with director Mani Ratnam and second film in Tamil Cinema. She played the role of Leela Abraham, a doctor based in Kargil during the 1999 war, who has a tumultuous and abusive relationship with a fighter pilot, played by Karthi. Upon release, Kaatru Veliyidai garnered mixed reviews; though critics predominantly praised the performance of Hydari along with A. R. Rahman's music and Ravi Varman's cinematography. She next appeared as the titular lead in Omung Kumar's Bhoomi, with Sanjay Dutt. Hydari then played the role of Alauddin Khalji's first wife, Queen Mehrunisa, opposite Ranveer Singh in the epic film Padmaavat directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The film released on 25 January 2018 amidst numerous controversies and protests. Padmaavat received mixed reviews from critics but was a box office success. Hydari received much praise for her portrayal of Mehrunisa. 2018 also marked Aditi's second film with Mani Ratnam and third film in Tamil Cinema with Chekka Chivantha Vaanam. She played Parvathi, one of the eight lead roles. She was paired with actor Arvind Swamy. Meanwhile her other co-stars of Chekka Chivantha Vaanam included Vijay Sethupathi, Arun Vijay, Silambarasan, Jyothika and Dayana Erappa. The film had a world wide release on 27 September 2018.
Hydari is set to star in Sudhir Mishra's political thriller film Daas Dev, which is an adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's 1917 novel Devdas. She will be seen essaying the part of Chandramukhi in the film opposite Rahul Bhat. Aditi Rao Hydari was also part of Telugu space thriller film Antariksham 9000 KMPH.
In 2005 and 2009, it was reported that she was married to Satyadeep Mishra, a former Indian Revenue Service Officer and Bollywood and television actor. The actress had declined to comment on her marital status in a 2012 interview but in a 2013 interview she mentioned that they were separated. Hydari had met Mishra at the age of 17 with whom she had her first serious relationship. She married him at the age of 21 but kept the marriage a secret when she debuted in Bollywood. Although separated, the two are close friends and have kept in touch over the years.