Mamta Kulkarni is a popular Bollywood actress of the 1990’s. She was known more for her controversies than her acting skills during her film career. She has done films with many top movie stars like Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan – some of which went on to become very successful commercially. Her film career spanned from 1991 to 2002.
Mamta was a beautiful and outspoken girl who called a spade a spade. This was the reason she was quite unpopular amongst other actresses and later among conservative public in general. She faced much criticism for her songs, wardrobe and her open lifestyle.
Mamta Mukhund Kulkarni was born on 20 April, 1972 into a native Marathi family. She has two sisters- Mithila and Moulina. Mamta lived at Andheri’s posh Yari road in Mumbai. Little is known about her educational background, though she spoke fluent Marathi. She was not well-versed in speaking English.
Mamta Kulkarni joined movies when she was barely 19. Her debut film was Nanbargal, a Tamil film directed by S.A. Chandrasekhar. Her foray into Hindi films began with the 1992 Tirangaa which was a multistarrer. Mamta’s role was not substantial but she was noticed for her fresh beauty and charm.
She did many hit films later including Aashiq Aawara (1993), Baazi, Waqt Hamara Hai (1993), Krantiveer (1994), Karan Arjun (1995), and the notable Sabse Bada Khiladi (1995). She also did item numbers in movies like Ghatak: Lethal (1996). In movies like Beqabu and Chinagate (1998) she had substantial roles. However, these films didn’t do well at the box office, and to this day Mamta is known more for her dance numbers than her roles. She was last seen in Kabhi Tum Kabhi Hum (2002) and Divine Temple Khajuraho (2002).
She was also offered many good roles opposite stars such as Shahrukh Khan, Ajay Devgan, Sanjay Dutt, Bobby Deol, and Govinda for films like Mr. and Mrs. Khiladi, Dulhe Raja, Bandhan, Shikari. She refused these films, which later went on to become box-office successes.
Mamta won the Filmfare Lux New Face Award in 1993 for her movie Aashiq Aawara opposite Saif Ali Khan.
Mamta’s name has been associated with many controversies. In 1995, she posed daringly for the film magazine Stardust, which was much criticized by public and protest groups alike. Many women’s and religious groups had her booked under Indian obscenity laws. She was made to appear in court in 2002, and was charged Rs.15, 000 as fine.
Mamta Kulkarni incurred protests and even threats from Islamic groups too when she appeared in court for her hearing wearing a burqa. However, she was not fined and was held not-guilty in 2004 by the Bombay High Court.
In 1997, she performed at a private function for a Bihar-based legislator. The said legislator was later found to be involved in the fodder scam, which brought Mamta also into the limelight. She, however, denied having any connection to the matter whatsoever.
In 1998, she had a fallout with director Rajkumar Santoshi over the film Chinagate. Though Mamta was the leading lady of the movie, and had been known for her dances, she was not given a single song and dance sequence in the film. Mamta blamed the director when the film tanked, accusing him of favoritism as the only hit song of the film was picturised on her rival Urmila Matondkar. Her movie career almost finished after that.
Mamta shifted to the U.S after she married an NRI. But lately, she’s been living with her boyfriend Vicky Goswami in Dubai. Mamta also owns three flats in the Sky Anchorage Apartments in Andheri. She has been reported to be sending money regularly for the upkeep of her spacious property.