Mahima Chaudhry is an Indian actress and former model. She received critical acclamation for her debut film ‘Pardes’ (1997) in which she played the role of Kusum Ganga.
Mahima Chaudhry aka Ritu Chaudhry was born on Thursday, 13 September 1973 (age 48 years; as of 2022) in Darjeeling, West Bengal. Her zodiac sign is Virgo.
She studied at Dow Hill School, Kurseong, West Bengal, till class 10. She then pursued her graduation from Southfield College aka Loreto College, Darjeeling, West Bengal.
Height (approx.): 5′ 4″
Weight (approx.): 60 kg
Hair Colour: Brown
Eye Colour: Brown
She was born to a Jat father and a Nepali mother.
Parents & Siblings
Her father was a sportsperson. She has an elder sister named Ayesha Chaudhry, and a younger brother named Siddharth Chaudhry.
Husband & Children
On 19 March 2006, she got married to the Kolkata-based architect named Bobby Mukherjee, who was earlier married to Aparna Gandhi and have two children with her. Mahima and Bobby had a private wedding in Las Vegas, and they kept their wedding secret from the media. On 23 March 2006, they had a Bengali-style wedding. In 2007, the couple was blessed with a baby girl named Ariana Mukherjee. Later, problems started arising in their married life due to the legal battle between Bobby and his ex-wife Aparna. Mahima even had several miscarriages due to her stressed personal life. In an interview, while talking about the same, she said,
You obviously don’t tell your parents, you don’t tell your people because you feel ‘oh, this was one issue’ and then you stay back and then one more issue and then you stay back and then I also had a – I was also expecting another child and I had a miscarriage. And then I had another miscarriage, it was all because of you not being happy in that space. Every time I wanted to go out and do an event, go out and do a show, I used to come drop my child at my mother’s home and then I stayed back two days and I used to feel I’m so much more comfortable here.”
Reportedly, Mahima and Bobby got divorced in 2013. Whereas according to some media sources, she never got divorced, and she is only separated from her husband. In an interview, while talking about her life after divorce/separation, she said,
It was largely difficult for me because I depend a lot. Obviously, I came back and started living with my parents and you depend a lot on your parents. That was the time when my mother was diagnosed with an illness and that was a time when she needed help and she could not be of that great help for raising my child. So, when I left for work, it was like leaving a toddler, and leaving my mother who needed assistance as well, so I had to completely depend on my staff. My dad had to live Darjeeling. Then I had a sister who had a child too and she was single. So, it almost became like we both were raising children together.”
She further talked about being a single mother. She said,
I was a single mother and had to earn money. With a child, it was difficult to take up films, as it would have consumed a lot of time. I started judging a few television shows, making appearances at functions or cutting ribbons because it was convenient for me. It also gave me quick and good money. Now, when I look back, I feel those assignments ruined me as an actress.”
Once, she was alleged to be in a rumoured relationship with the Indian actor Ajay Devgn. However, she denied all such rumours and said that after her accident Ajay was only being nice to her which was misinterpreted by the media. She added,
I remember the director went and told everyone that Ajay is in love with me and there were rumours in the magazines that I was seeing Ajay. That made me even more uncomfortable. He had just gotten married sometime back when we were doing Dil Kya Kare and that film was not even complete when they got married.”
In 2000, she started dating the former Indian tennis player Leander Paes. In 2003, Mahima caught Paes red-handed while he was on a call with the Indian model Rhea Pillai, who was married to Sanjay Dutt at that time. Soon after this incident, the duo broke up. In an interview, while talking about the same, she said,
It wasn’t really shocking for me when I came to know that he was going around with someone else. His exit had no impact on my life. In fact, I became more mature as a person,’ she said, adding, ‘I feel he did the same thing with Rhea (Pillai) as well. He may be a good tennis player, but he didn’t play fair with me.”
She started her career as a model and appeared in various modelling assignments. She has walked the ramp for many popular Indian fashion designers.
In 1995, she appeared as a model in a TV commercial of Pepsi along with the Indian actors Aamir Khan and Aishwarya Rai.
She then appeared in various TV commercials such as Fair & Lovely, Hawkins, and Alapatt Jewellers.
After doing a few TV commercials, she started working as a VJ for various music channels. In 2014, she judged the TV reality show ‘Ticket to Bollywood.’
In one of her music TV shows, she was spotted by the Indian film director Subhash Ghai, who offered her the lead role in the Hindi film ‘Pardes’ (1997). She accepted the offer and played the role of Kusum Ganga in the film.
In 1999, she acted in Hindi films like ‘Dil Kya Kare,’ ‘Daag: The Fire,’ and ‘Pyaar Koi Khel Nahin.’
In the same year, she made her Telugu debut with the film ‘Manasulo Maata’ in which she played the role of Priya.
In 2000, she appeared in four Hindi films such as ‘Dhadkan,’ ‘Deewane,’ ‘Kurukshetra,’ and ‘Khiladi 420.’
Some of her other Hindi films are ‘Lajja’ (2001), ‘Dil Hai Tumhaara’ (2002), ‘LOC Kargil’ (2003), and ‘Mumbhaii- The Gangster’ (2015).
In 2016, she made her Bengali debut with the film ‘Dark Chocolate’ in which she played the role of Ishani Banerjee. The storyline of the film was somewhat based on the Sheena Bora murder case.
In June 2022, after almost 6 years, she announced her comeback to Bollywood with the Hindi film ‘The Signature.’
In 1999, while Mahima Chaudhry was shooting for the Hindi film ‘Dil Kya Kare,’ she met with a major accident. It was the last day of the shoot in Bangalore when she was going in her car to the shooting location, a milk truck came from the wrong side and rammed into her car. Around 67 glass pieces from the car’s window hit her face. In an interview, while remembering the incident, she said,
I thought I was dying, and at that point, no one even helped me get to the hospital. It is only after reaching the hospital, much later, when my mother came, Ajay came and they went to discuss. I got up and saw my face in the mirror and saw the horror. When they did the surgery on me, they took out 67 glass pieces. I was preparing for a life without cinema. I was learning how to cope with it. Anything that happened post that was just God’s gift.”
After recovering from the accident, she restarted shooting for the film. In an interview, she shared that while she was shooting for the film, the media people used to come there without permission just to click pictures of her face which were full of scars. She further got teary-eyed and shared how insensitively Stardust magazine wrote an article about her. She said,
When I had my accident, they came on the sets when nobody was allowed. They took a shot from far because I still had scars. They put a picture of me on Stardust magazine’s cover and wrote ‘Mahima had an accident. She’s got scars all over her face. We can actually call her scarface.’ It still hurts me.”
Mahima said at that time her co-stars Ajay Devgn and Kajol from the film ‘Dil Kya Kare’ who were also the producers of the film, helped her emotionally. While talking about Ajay Devgn, Mahima said,
Ajay was like I get scars like this all the time. He was a very generous producer. He took care of me. When I went on the set, I was hiding the left side of my face because the scars were visible. The director kept bringing the camera closer. It is one of those things that stays with you. Ajay looked at me and asked ‘You are not ready?’ He told the director to let it be and told him ‘let’s not do this, give her time.’ He explained to the director that I am still not over the accident.”
On 9 June 2022, the Indian actor Anupam Kher shared a video of Mahima on his Instagram account. In the video, Mahima shared for the first time on the public platform that she was detected with breast cancer. In the Instagram video, Anupam wrote the caption,
Story of @mahimachaudhry1‘s courage and Cancer: I called #MahimaChaudhry a month back from the US to play a very important role in my 525th film #TheSignature. Our conversation turned to her discovering that she has #BreastCancer. What followed is in this candid conversation between us. Her attitude will give hope to so many women all over the world. She wanted me to be part of her disclosing it. She calls me an eternal optimist but dearest Mahima! “You are my HERO!” Friends! Send her your love, warmth, wishes, prayers and blessings. She is BACK on sets where she belongs. She is ready to fly. All those producers/directors out there! Here is your opportunity to tap on her brilliance! Jai ho to her!! #Cancer #Courage #Hope #Prayersss.”
In the video, Mahima said that she got to know about pre-symptoms of cancer during her regular check-up. She did not tell her parents about her condition. She further went for chemotherapy sessions and surgery. Later, she shared a video on her Instagram account in which she thanked everyone who supported her during this phase.
Tiff with Subhash Ghai
Mahima once revealed that after the release of her debut Hindi film ‘Pardes’ (1997), she was bullied by the Indian film director Subhash Ghai. In an interview, while talking about the same, she said,
I was bullied by Mr Subhash Ghai. He even took me to the court and wanted me to cancel my first show. It was quite stressful. He sent a message to all the producers that nobody should work with me! If you pick up one of the issues of Trade Guide magazine in 1998 or 1999, there was an ad that he had given which stated that if anybody wanted to work with me, that person would have to contact him. Otherwise, it would be a breach of contract.”
She further said that there was no such contract, and at that time Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt, David Dhawan, and Rajkumar Santoshi helped her. Later, when Subhash Ghai was asked about the incident, he said that he was good friends with Mahima and whatever she said was not true.
Account in the Swiss Bank
In 2015, a leading Indian newspaper published a list named ‘Swiss Leaks’ containing the names of the Indian celebrities who had an account in HSBC Switzerland. Mahima’s name was also on the list. However, she was mocked by the netizens for having an account in the Swiss bank.
- 1998: Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut for the film Pardes
- 1998: Zee Cine Award for Best Female Debut for the film Pardes
- 2000: Bollywood Movie Award for Best Supporting Actress for the film Dhadkan
- 2000: Sansui Award for Best Supporting Actress for the film Dhadkan
- Film: The War of the Roses (1989)
- Film Director(s): Vishal Bhardwaj, Dibakar Banerjee, Anurag Kashyap
- Food: Sarson ka Saag with Chulehy ki Roti and White Butter
- While she was studying in school, she was inclined towards sports.
- Her maternal aunt used to make documentaries on Doordarshan, and she encouraged Mahima to make her career in acting.
- As Subhash Ghai had a belief that the alphabet ‘M’ was lucky for his films, so, he changed her name from Ritu to Mahima. In an interview, she shared that Mahima was her cousin sister’s name which she adopted as her screen name.
- In an interview, with a leading media house, Mahima shared that after her successful debut in the Hindi film ‘Pardes’ (1997), she was offered a role in the Hindi film ‘Satya’ (1998). The producer of the film Ram Gopal Varma had signed her and given her the signing amount, but he started shooting for the film with another actress. Mahima said,
I had taken the signing amount. Ram Gopal Varma didn’t even have the decency to call me or my manager and inform me about the reality. I learnt from the press that he had begun shooting without me. I had already given interviews stating that I would be shooting for ‘Satya’ in a week. I and Ram Gopal Varma had even discussed the look.”
- In 2015, Mahima campaigned for the Trinamool Congress in the Siliguri municipal polls.
- She is an avid animal lover and has a pet dog named Antonio.
- Mahima is often spotted drinking white wine at parties and events.
- In 2016, she launched the advanced beauty and cosmetic clinic ‘Kilpauk’ in Chennai.
- Mahima Chaudhry follows a vegetarian diet and has worked for various PETA campaigns.
- She has been featured on the cover page of various magazines such as Stardust, Show Time, Prevention, and Good Housekeeping.
- In 2017, she received an honarary doctorate degree at the 2nd NIER’s National Excellence Award organised by ACS Media Corporation.