Bollywood divas born in Hyderabad

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Popularly known as the City of Pearls, Hyderabad is the home to Telugu cinema, the second largest film industry in India after Bollywood. Famed for its world-class Biryani, Information Technology (IT) and the vibrant multicultural society, the capital city has produced several talented actresses who went on to carve a niche for themselves in Indian cinema. While some of them settled in Hyderabad due to their parent’s occupation and other reasons, a few divas have roots in the city.

Starting from ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ actress Nigar Sultana to Shabana Azmi, Tabu to her elder sister Farah Naaz, the stunning Sushmita Sen to the jaw-dropping Sherlyn Chopra and the highly-talented Aditi Rao Hydari, there are a bunch of famous actresses who were born in Hyderabad. With their solid acting chops, mesmerising beauty and eye-popping screen-presence, they have managed to strike the right chord with the pan-Indian audience.

Courtesy: Instagram

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02/9Nigar Sultana

Notably remembered for her role of ‘Bahar Begum’ in the historical epic ‘Mughal-e-Azam’, Nigar Sultana was the youngest daughter of a family of five. As her father held the rank of a Major in the Nizam’s State Army, she was born and brought up in Hyderabad. She made her silver screen debut with Rangbhoomi in 1946 and bagged her big break with Raj Kapoor’s Aag starring Nargis, Premnath and Kamini Kaushal.

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03/9Shabana Azmi

Legendary actress Shabana Azmi was born into a Sayyid Muslim family in Hyderabad. Daughter of poet Kaifi Azmi and stage actress Shaukat Azmi, she made her silver screen debut in 1974 with Shyam Benegal’s first feature film ‘Ankur’ and won the National Award for the Best Actress. Regarded as one of the finest actresses in India, her performances in different genres of films have earned her praise and awards, which include a record five wins of the National Film Award for Best Actress and several international honours.

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Born into a Hyderabadi Muslim family, Tabu made her leading lady debut opposite Venkatesh in the 1991 Telugu film Coolie No. 1. After the massive success of Ajay Devgn’s ‘Vijaypath’ in 1994, there was no looking back for the ravishing beauty in Bollywood as she went on to feature in many superhit films opposite all the leading stars in the 90s. Unlike her contemporaries, the quintessential actress never neglected south cinema as she still appears in Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam films. After a long gap of 11 years, Tabu made her Tollywood comeback in 2020 with Allu Arjun’s Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo.

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05/9Sushmita Sen

Sushmita Sen is the first Indian woman to win the Miss Universe Title and she achieved it at the age of 18 in 1994. Born into a Bengali family in Hyderabad, the 45-year-old beauty forayed into Hindi cinema with Mahesh Bhatt’s ‘Dastak’ in 1996 and played the leading lady opposite Nagarjuna in the 1997 Telugu film Rakshakudu. Though she did only a few films, Sushmita made her mark on the celluloid with her gorgeous looks and arresting screen-presence. The independent woman adopted a baby girl when she was just 25 and another kid ten years later. She is a philanthropist and heads a charitable group called I AM Foundation.

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06/9Aditi Rao Hydari

Born and raised in Hyderabad, Aditi Rao Hydari hails from a mixed-cultural background as she is half Hyderabadi, half Muslim, and half Konkan by birth. Belonging to two royal lineages, the 33-year-old diva 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. She is also 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.

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07/9Sherlyn Chopra

The 37-year-old Sherlyn Chopra was born to a Christian father and Muslim mother in Hyderabad. Originally named as Mona Chopra, she bagged the ‘Miss Andhra’ in 1999 and created a storm in the modelling arena by stealing the show at photo-shoots, ramp walks and endorsements. She made her Tollywood debut with the 2005 mystery-thriller ‘A Film By Aravind’ and played several characters in Bollywood. In 2013, Sherlyn was roped in by Rupesh Paul to play the lead role of Kama Devi in the erotic-drama ‘Kamasutra 3D’. However, in August 2016, she told the media that she wasn’t working on the project anymore.

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08/9Dia Mirza

Dia Mirza was born to a German father and Bengali mother in Hyderabad. She made her Bollywood debut with ‘Rehnaa Terre Dil Mein’ in 2001 and despite unsuccessful at the box-office, the romantic-drama developed a cult following over the years. Prior to her acting stint, the 39-year-old diva started her career as a marketing executive for a media studio and later worked for several TV commercials. She enjoyed a successful tenure as a model with the title of Miss Asia Pacific 2000 in her kitty. Dia is making her Tollywood debut with Nagarjuna’s upcoming film ‘Wild Dog’.

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09/9Diana Hayden

Born into an Anglo-Indian Christian family in Hyderabad, Diana Hayden won the Miss World title in 1997 and bagged the subtitles of Miss Photogenic and Spectacular Swimwear. She is the only Miss World titleholder to win three subtitles during the competition and the third Indian woman to win the Miss World pageant, after Reita Faria in 1966 and Aishwarya Rai in 1994. Diana played cameo roles in a handful of Hindi films and at present, she is enjoying her marital life with husband and three kids.

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