born 31 July 1992), known professionally as Kiara Advani, is an Indian actress who appears predominantly in Hindi films. After making her film debut with the 2014 poorly received comedy Fugly, Advani had her first commercial success with a brief role in the 2016 sports biopic M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story. Her career advanced with starring roles in the Telugu political drama Bharat Ane Nenu (2018) as well as the Hindi romantic drama Kabir Singh and the comedy Good Newwz (both 2019).
Early life and background
Kiara Advani was born to Jagdeep Advani, a Sindhi Hindu businessman and Genevieve Jaffrey, a teacher whose father was a Punjabi Muslim from Lucknow with roots in Malerkotla and mother was a Christian of Scottish, Irish, Portuguese, and Spanish ancestry; and had a Bengali godmother. Born as Alia Advani, she changed her first name to Kiara prior to the release of her first film, Fugly. She has said that it was Salman Khan’s suggestion to change her name from Alia to Kiara, as Alia (Bhatt) was already up and coming at the time. In an interview to Filmfare in 2019, Kiara Advani said that the name was inspired from Priyanka Chopra’s character of Kiara in the film Anjaana Anjaani. The elder of two siblings, Advani has a younger brother, Mishaal. She is also related to several celebrities via her maternal family. Actors Ashok Kumar and Saeed Jaffrey are her step-great-grandfather and great-uncle, respectively, whereas model Shaheen Jaffrey is her aunt.
Advani made her acting debut with Kabir Sadanand’s comedy-drama Fugly (2014), in which she featured alongside an ensemble cast including Mohit Marwah, Arfi Lamba, Vijender Singh, and Jimmy Shergill. Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama said: “Kiara Advani catches you completely unaware” and has the “combination of looks and talent”, whereas Mehul S Thakkar of Deccan Chronicle noted her performance as being “very striking” and said she “shows a lot of promise”. It emerged as a commercial disappointment.
Advani’s next film role was in the Neeraj Pandey-directed biographical sports drama M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016), about the life of MS Dhoni, an Indian cricketer who was the former captain of the Indian cricket team. Starring Sushant Singh Rajput as Dhoni, Advani and Disha Patani played his love interests. Rachit Gupta of Filmfare bemoaned that both leading ladies had only “marginal roles”. With gross earnings of over ₹2.16 billion (US$30 million) in worldwide ticket sales, M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story emerged as one of the highest-grossing Indian films of that year. The following year, Advani appeared opposite newcomer Mustafa Burmawalla in Machine (2017), an action romantic thriller from the director duo Abbas–Mustan.
Advani began 2018 by appearing in the anthology film Lust Stories, a Netflix production consisting of four segments dealing with female sexuality. She featured in Karan Johar’s segment, playing a newly married wife whose husband (played by Vicky Kaushal) fails to recognise her sexual dissatisfaction. Writing for NDTV, Raja Sen found her to be “positively lovely” in it. She next made her debut in Telugu cinema with Koratala Siva’s political drama Bharat Ane Nenu, which is about a student (played by Mahesh Babu) who unexpectedly becomes the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. Janani K of India Today opined that she “shines in her brief role” but added that her character was “more of an eye-candy who doesn’t add any purpose to the story”. The film had worldwide earnings of ₹2.25 billion (US$32 million), making it one of Telugu cinema’s highest grossers. Also that year, Advani appeared in a music video titled “Urvashi”, sung by Yo Yo Honey Singh, opposite Shahid Kapoor.
Boyapati Srinu’s Telugu action drama Vinaya Vidheya Rama was Advani’s first release of 2019. In a scathing review for The Hindu, Sangeetha Devi Dundoo wrote, “It isn’t Kiara Advani’s fault that she looks lost in the melee.” Advani returned to Hindi cinema with a special appearance in Abhishek Varman’s period drama Kalank. Her next appearance was in Sandeep Vanga’s romantic drama Kabir Singh alongside Shahid Kapoor. An adaptation of Vanga’s 2017 Telugu movie Arjun Reddy, it is about the titular character (played by Kapoor) who goes on a self-destructive path and becomes an alcoholic surgeon after his lover (played by Advani) marries someone else. Critics responded negatively to the film’s depiction of misogyny and toxic masculinity. Her final role that year was in Raj Mehta’s comedy film Good Newwz, about two couples tryst with in vitro fertilization. Reviewing the film for Mint, Udita Jhunjunwala found her to be “endearing as the god-fearing expectant mother-to-be”. Both Kabir Singh and Good Newwz rank among the highest-grossing Hindi films of the year.
In 2020, Advani starred in Guilty, a Netflix thriller film about sexual assault. Ektaa Malik of The Indian Express considered the film to be a “lost opportunity” and added that Advani’s character had been “reduced to the ‘tortured-artistic-creative’ types” while Rohan Naahar of Hindustan Times wrote, “Kiara delivers an absolutely electric performance as the unreliable Nanki, a fiery college student with a fondness for Faiz.” She will next star opposite Akshay Kumar in Laxmmi Bomb, a remake of Tamil film Muni 2: Kanchana, after which she will play the title role in the coming-of-age film Indoo Ki Jawani, co-starring Aditya Seal. She will also star opposite Kartik Aaryan and Sidharth Malhotra in a standalone sequel to the 2007 film Bhool Bhulaiyaa and in a biopic of army officer Vikram Batra entitled Shershaah, respectively.