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Neelam Kothari (Indian jewellery designer and former actress) Bio, Facts 

Neelam Kothari
Born/Date of Birth: 9 November 1969
Place of Birth: Hong Kong
Occupation: Actress, Jewelry designer
Spouse(s): Rishi Sethia (divorced), Samir Soni ​(m. 2011)​
Children: Ahana Soni
Parent(s): Parveen Kothari (mother), Shishir Kothari (father)
Neelam Kothari Soni is an Indian jewellery designer and former actress. She made her acting debut with Jawaani (1984) opposite debutant Karan Shah. Neelam has thereafter starred opposite Govinda in Love 86 (1986), Sindoor (1986), Khudgarz (1987), Hatya (1988), Farz Ki Jung (1989), Taaqatwar (1989) and Do Qaidi (1989). She starred opposite Chunkey Pandey in films Aag Hi Aag (1987), Paap Ki Duniya (1988), Khatron Ke Khiladi (1988), Ghar Ka Chiraag (1989), and Mitti Aur Sona (1989).

Her career's biggest hit remains Ghar Ka Chiraag opposite Rajesh Khanna in 1989.

Early life
Neelam Kothari was born in Hong Kong. She is a Gujarati-Iranian. As a child, she learnt to play the keyboard and danced Jazz Ballet. Her family has a traditional jewellery making business, making high-class pieces. She was educated at Island School, where she was a member of Rutherford house. After her childhood in Hong Kong, her family moved to Bangkok. Neelam was holidaying in Mumbai when she was approached by director Ramesh Behl. She decided to give acting a shot and signed for the film Jawaani (1984) alongside Karan Shah, Tina Munim's nephew. But the film was a major flop commercially.

Career
Her performance in her debut film was noticed in film circles and she received offers. She later became famous in 1986 for her role in the film Ilzaam opposite another debutant, Govinda. She made a popular pairing with Govinda and starred with him in 14 movies and some of their films include Love 86 (1986), Khudgarz (1987), Hatya (1988) and Taaqatwar (1989). She had 5 hits opposite Chunkey Pandey, such as Aag Hi Aag (1987), Paap Ki Duniya (1988), Khatron Ke Khiladi (1988), Mitti Aur Sona (1989) and Ghar Ka Chiraag (1989). She also worked in the Bengali film Badnaam (1990). She recently starred in an Netflix original Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives (2020).

She was also noticed for her appearance in the 1998 film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, where she played herself as a VJ. Her last film was the 1999 ensemble family drama Hum Saath Saath Hain in which she played a supporting role. Her last film was the delayed release Kasam in 2001, opposite Chunky Pandey.

Personal life
In October 2000, Neelam married Rishi Sethia in Bangkok, son of a businessman from the U.K. Their marriage was short-lived. On 24 January 2011, she married actor Samir Soni. After 2 years of marriage, they decided to adopt a daughter on 2 September 2013 and named her Ahana.

Other works
Neelam featured in Bina Mistry's Hot Hot Hot music video, a song that is part of a compilation of dance hits in the 1995 BMG release, titled Channel [V] Hits: The Ultimate Dance Collection. The song became a hit when it was featured as part of the soundtrack of Bend It Like Beckham (2002).

Controversy
In 1998, Neelam was charged with poaching two blackbucks in Kankani during the filming of Hum Saath Saath Hain along with co-stars Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre and Tabu. A lower court charged her with the others under the Wildlife Act and the IPC. She had filed a revision petition before a sessions court which discharged her of Section 51 (causing harm to wildlife) of the Wildlife Act and both of 147 (punishment for rioting) and 149 (unlawful assembly of persons) of the Indian Penal Code. The Rajasthan state government then filed a revision petition before the Rajasthan high court, which again added Section 149 against her, which it had dropped. In December 2012, the Jodhpur court summoned her along with all the accused for commencement of the trial with the revised charges on 4 February 2013. She was acquitted by the CJM court at Jodhpur on 5 April 2018.

Jewellery designing
Even while pursuing her career in acting, she was interested in jewellery designing and was involved in her family business. She pursued a formal course in jewellery-designing in Mumbai and, after quitting films in 2001, started out commercially on her own under the name Neelam Jewels. She opened a showroom in Mumbai in 2004. She then launched her jewellery store in Mumbai on 25 August 2011 under the name Neelam Kothari Fine Jewels.

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Categories: Indian film actresses,Actresses in Hindi cinema,Indian jewellery designers,Actresses from Mumbai,Indian women designers,20th-century Indian designers,Artists from Mumbai,Hong Kong people,People educated at Island School,21st-century Indian designers,Gujarati people,Indian people of Iranian descent