Lillete Dubey

  • Actor

Sep 07, 1953  in Pune, Maharashtra, India

Also Known as: Lillette, Lillete Kiswani

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Lillete Dubey is an Indian film actress who has gained popularity for her huge number of supporting yet significant roles in several Bollywood films. She is also a well-known face among the television audiences and is a fine theater artist. She gained recognition for her role in the movie Kal Ho Na Ho, whereas her other notable performances were seen in films such as Bawandar (2000), Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2001), Lakshya (2004), and Main Aisa Hi Hoon (2005).

Early life
Born as Lillete Kiswani to a Sindhi family in Pune, she is the daughter of Govind Kiswani, an engineer with the Indian Railways, and Leela, a gynecologist with the Indian Army. Due to her father`s transferable job, Lillete studied in different schools, two of which were Carmel Convent (Delhi) and St. Mary`s (Pune). She pursued her graduation in English Literature from Lady Shri Ram College (Delhi). She gained further education by obtaining two post-graduation degrees in English and in Mass Communication. She has two younger siblings, a sister Lushin, and a brother, Patanjali.

Personal life
Lillete got married to Ravi Dubey on September 12, 1978. He was the General Manager of the Taj Mansingh hotel, and then went on to become the Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at the Tata Group, but he quit in the year 2004. Ravi passed away in the year 2015, after he succumbed to pancreatic cancer. The couple has two children Ira and Neha. Both her daughters are actresses in Bollywood and are also active in theater. Neha is also a psychotherapist who practices independently in Mumbai.

Movie career
Lillete ventured into the film industry with the Akshaye Khanna - Sonali Bendre starrer Love You Hamesha, under the direction of Kailash Surendranath. She then went on to star in a supporting role with the 2000 movie Bawandar, based on the true story of a rape victim Bhanwari Devi from Rajasthan. This Jag Mundhra direction starred Nandita Das in the lead role. Lillete`s career took pace in 2001 when she starred in a significant role as the lead Sakeena`s (Amisha Patel) mother Shabana in the blockbuster hit Gadar: Ek Prem Katha. Monsoon Wedding (2001) was another popular movie for the actress in which she featured as the wife of Naseeruddin Shah`s character.

In 2002, she once again played the role of a mother to the lead character of Urmila Matondkar in the Anupam Kher direction Om Jai Jagadish. In the next year, Lillete featured in significant supporting roles in several successful films. Her role as the wife of Paresh Rawal`s character in the critically acclaimed film Baghban (2003), was highly appreciated. However, she stood out with her performance in the role of Jaswinder "Jazz" Kapoor in the huge commercial success Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), starring Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Preity Zinta in the lead roles. Her free-spirited and bold role in the movie got her huge popularity and praises from audiences, making this one of her most remembered performances.

In 2004, the actress was again cast as the mother of another leading lady Preity Zinta in the movie Lakshya, which starred Hrithik Roshan as the male lead, under the direction of Farhan Akhtar. She ended the year with a lead role in Anjan Dutt`s Bow Barracks Forever, the plot of which revolves around the difficulties faced by the Anglo-Indian community to maintain their identity after the end of British India. Lillete`s next popular film was the Ajay Devgn starrer Main Aisa Hi Hoon, followed by the box office hit Fanaa in 2006, in which she was seen as an instructor to Zooni, played by Kajol. Along with a prominent role as Priyanka Chopra`s mother in the romantic comedy Aap Ki Khatir, Lillete played supporting roles in several movies like Corporate, Saas Bahu Aur Sensex, Break Ke Baad and Housefull, being her most notable ones.

The 2011 British comedy-drama film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was one of the actress` prominent movies. She played the role of Mrs. Kapoor, widowed mother of the manager of a hotel Sonny. In the next year, Lillete landed a role in the moderately successful drama movie Heroine, as the mother of Kareena Kapoor`s character. The film had a decent run at the box office and mostly received average reviews. In 2013, she starred in Chashme Baddoor as a landlady and as the love interest of Rishi Kapoor`s character. In her other release in the year The Lunchbox, she played Nimrat Kaur`s mother, and then went on to work in the 2014 Canadian romantic comedy film Dr. Cabbie starring Kunal Nayyar, Vinay Virmani, and Adrianne Palicki. Lillete then reprised her role of Mrs. Kapoor in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015), the sequel to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011). She followed this up with a significant role in the drama A Million Rivers, directed by Sarah Singh. Her 2017 release includes the English language Indian movie Sonata, directed by Aparna Sen, in which Lillete plays one of the leads as a journalist opposite Aparna Sen and Shabana Azmi. Her 2019 release includes Jhootha Kahin Ka.

Television Career
Lillete made her entertainment industry debut in 1997 when she appeared in the television drama series Kabhie Kabhie, directed by Mahesh Bhatt. She played the character of Shama Joshi in this series that was telecast on Star Plus. In 2015, she was seen in the Indian anthology horror fiction television series Darr Sabko Lagta Hai. In the same year, she also featured in the British drama series Indian Summers.