Ameesha Patel is a Bollywood actress. Making her acting debut in the blockbuster Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai (2000), Patel won critical praise for her performance in Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2001), which became one of the biggest hits in the history of Hindi cinema, earning her a Filmfare Special Performance Award. She subsequently starred in a number of films, most of which proved unsuccessful at the box office. However, her performance in the 2006 film Ankahee, received critical recognition, and she followed it with a supporting role in the hit Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007).
Patel is the daughter of Amit Patel and Asha Patel, sister of Ashmit Patel and the granddaughter of the famous lawyer-politician Barrister Rajni Patel who was the Congress Pradesh Committee President of Bombay.
She studied at the Cathedral and John Connon School in Bombay and was head girl for the academic year 1992–1993 before heading overseas to study Economics at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.
Patel's career began as an economic analyst at Khandwala Securities Limited after graduation. Later on, she received an offer from Morgan Stanley but turned it down. After returning to India, she joined Satyadev Dubey's theatre group and acted in plays, including an Urdu language play titled Neelam (1999) that was written by Tanveer Khan, upon receiving permission from her conservative parents. At the same time she plunged into modeling appearing in several commercial campaigns. Patel has also modeled for well-known Indian brands like Bajaj Sevashram, Fair & Lovely, Cadburys Jai Lime, Fem, Lux and many more.
Patel's first opportunity for acting came in the form of an offer from her father's schoolmate, Rakesh Roshan, to star opposite his son, Hrithik Roshan, in Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai (2000). The offer came immediately after she graduated from high school but she refused the project because she wanted to continue her education in USA. Afterward, Kareena Kapoor replaced her but luckily, Kapoor dropped out a few days into principal photography and Patel was given the opportunity once again during a family lunch. She readily agreed to do the project this time.
2001 saw her appearing in Anil Sharma's cross-border romance, Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, alongside Sunny Deol. Patel signed on much before she shot into the limelight with Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai and was among 22 girls that were screen-tested from 500 girls who came to audition for the film. Patel had gone through a 12-hour audition before she got the part. The film went on to become the top-grossing film of the year, as well as the biggest hit of the 21st century, earning Rs 973 million in India.
These successes were followed by a series of films that flopped at the box-office. In 2002, Patel had four continuous failures but her last release, Humraaz, became one of the highest grossing films of the year at the box office, and her performance earned her a nomination for Filmfare Best Actress Award. The Abbas-Mustan marital thriller saw her playing a character with negative shades for the first time.
During 2003 to 2006, Patel's acting career entered a slump. Despite the relative success of Humraaz, Patel's string of unsuccessful films followed and would continue until 2006, although she did find minor box office success with Kya Yehi Pyaar Hai.
Consequently, Patel's unsuccessful follow-up continued with Kranti and David Dhawan's comedy Yeh Hai Jalwa in 2002, followed by her first Tamil language film Pudhiya Geethai and Deepak Bahry's Parwana in 2003. Her releases in 2004, Vimal Kumar's comedy Suno Sasurjee, a delayed production since 2000, and her second Telugu language film Naani, followed.
Patel is frequently cited as one of the sexiest Bollywood actresses.Rediff featured Patel as one of Bollywood's sexiest actresses and top Bollywood actresses of 2001. She was ranked first on Rediff's list of 2008's Sexiest Actresses. Patel was also cited by Rediff as one of 2008's Sexiest Magazine Cover Girls.