Ileana D’Cruz


Ileana D’Cruz (born 1 November 1986)[1] is an Indian film actress, who predominantly appears in Telugu cinema and Bollywood.

She won the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut – South for the 2006 Telugu film Devadasu. She has appeared in hits such as Pokiri (2006), Jalsa (2008), Kick (2009) and Julayi (2012), establishing herself as one of Telugu cinema‘s leading actresses.[2] D’Cruz made her Kollywood debut with Kedi and made a comeback in Shankar’s Nanban (2012).[3]

In 2012, she made her Bollywood debut with Anurag Basu‘s critically and commercially successful Barfi!, for which she received critical appreciation and the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut.[4]

Later she starred in films Phata Poster Nikhla Hero (2013), Main Tera Hero (2014), Happy Ending (2014) and Rustom (2016). Soon she is going to appear along Ajay Devgan in his next film Baadshaho (2017).

Early life and education

D’Cruz was born to a Goan Catholic family in Pune, and raised partly in Pune and partly in Goa.[5][6][7] Her family relocated to Parra, Goa when she was 10 years old.[5][8] Her mother tongue is Konkani.[9][10]

During that time, the manager of the hotel her mother was working in, suggested that she has a vibrant smile and should start modelling and fixed a meeting with Marc Robinson. Though initially reluctant, she was persuaded and her first portfolio was created in January 2003, which she described as a “disaster”. She began gaining notice through photo shoots and ramp shows and her second portfolio was set up the following year, which landed her three advertisements from Electrolux, Emami Talc and Fair and Lovely. The latter, in particular, which was directed by Rakesh Roshan, gave her exposure and brought in several offers for acting in feature films.[10][11]



In 2005, D’Cruz was called for an audition by director Teja, but the project was cancelled.[10] She instead made her feature film debut in the Telugu language romance film Devadasu (2006), directed by Y. V. S. Chowdhary. She underwent acting classes with Aruna Bhikshu, before starting to work on the film. She recalls that during filming she felt “pressured […] almost cried and didn’t want to go further”, but went ahead after her mother encouraged her, giving her “the lecture of a lifetime […] at 3 am.”[12] A review from Indiaglitz stated that she “has chiseled features and a figure to die-for.”[13] Devadasu became the year’s first major commercial success, eventually grossing around ₹140 million,[14] whilst earning D’Cruz the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debutant.[15] She next appeared in the gangster film Pokiri in which she portrayed an aerobics teacher, who is harassed by a corrupt police officer.[16] The film was a high financial success, emerging as the highest-grossing Telugu film at the time.[17][18]

She made her Tamil-language film debut in Kedi (2006). Although the film did not do so well at the box-office,[18] D’Cruz remained too busy to accept all the film roles offered to her.[19] Her Telugu film Khatarnak (2006) in which she acted opposite Ravi Teja did not do as well as expected, which has been attributed to her glamorous appearance not going down well with the audience.[18] She subsequently experienced a breakthrough in her career as her following releases Rakhi (2006) and Munna (2007) proved critically and financially successful.[18]


Ileana D’Cruz at PETA event in 2015

D’Cruz’s career took a turn for the better[vague] with the release of her well-received 2007 film Aata.[18] She received favorable reviews for her performance as Satya, a college student who is on the run from the home minister’s crooked son by whom she is targeted, when leading a protest and demanding punishment for his crimes.[20] In 2008, she performed the female lead role in the action film Jalsa, directed by Trivikram Srinivas. D’Cruz received largely positive remarks, with critics citing that she looked “pretty”,[21] “damn cool”,[22] and “every bit chic and stunning throughout the film”,[23] while being later awarded the Santosham Award, one of five awards for Jalsa,[24] and the South Scope Style Award, besides garnering a nomination for the Best Actress prize at the 56th Filmfare Awards South. Her first 2009 release, titled Kick, was likewise declared a box office success,[25][26] becoming one of the highest-grossing films that year.[27]

Later that year she starred in the films Rechipo and Y. V. S. Choudary’s Saleem both of which performed poorly at the box office.[28]

D’Cruz had 2 releases in 2011. Her first film that year was Shakti, where she essayed the lead female role. She gave a stage performance for this movie’s audio release function along with Jr. NTR, as part as promotion of the film. The socio-fantasy film, the costliest Telugu film ever made at ₹ 250,000,000,.[29] Her next release was Nenu Naa Rakshasi, which marked her second collaboration with Puri Jagannadh. Though the film was a failure, her performance was received positively by critics; an Indiaglitz reviewer described her as a “pleasant surprise in the film” as she “cried, smirked, looked hot, grabbed sympathy and made faces that were apt to the scenes”,[30] while cinegoer’s reviewer cited that the film had “one bright spot, Ileana, she looks stunning and also like an accomplished senior to the hero.”[31] Despite her recent failures, D’Cruz continued to be the highest paid actress in South India.[32][33]


In early 2012, she starred in the Kollywood film Nanban, a remake of the 2009 Hindi film 3 Idiots directed by S. Shankar. The film opened to critical acclaim and became a major financial success.[3] Her next release was the Telugu film Julai. The film opened to positive reviews and became the third biggest hit in 2012 and biggest hit in Telugu.[34] She then starred in Puri Jagannadh‘s comedy Devudu Chesina Manushulu. In this film she played the role of a taxi driver.[35] The film received mixed reviews and eventually under-performed at the box office.[36]

D’Cruz made her Hindi debut with Anurag Basu‘s Barfi![37] In addition to playing the role of the narrator, she portrayed the character of Shruti Ghosh, a girl who leaves her true love for material comforts. The movie released on 14 September 2012,[38] to highly positive reviews from critics,[39] and was a major commercial success, earning ₹1.75 billion (US$26 million) worldwide.[40] D’Cruz’s performance was well received, earning her a Filmfare Best Female Debut Award, as well as a nomination for Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress. Rachit Gupta from Filmfare said “This is Ileana’s first film but her fantastic performance is just a testament why the Telugu audience consider her a superstar. Of course it also helps that she is the most visually appealing in Barfi! out shining even the scenic hills of Darjeeling”.[41] Rajeev Masand stated “Ileana leaves a lasting impression in her Hindi film debut, conveying both love and pain through those beautiful, expressive eyes”.[42] The film was screened at the Busan International Film Festival,[43] Marrakech International Film Festival[44] and was chosen as India’s official entry to the Oscars for the 85th Academy Awards.[45]

She next appeared in the Rajkumar Santoshi action comedy film Phata Poster Nikhla Hero opposite Shahid Kapoor. The film released on September 20, 2013 to mixed reviews, and the film was eventually declared an average grosser at the box office. However, D’Cruz received mixed to positive reviews for her performance, with the Times of India saying that she was “good with emotions but not so tuned into comedy yet.”[46]


Her first release of 2014 was Main Tera Hero alongside Varun Dhawan and Nargis Fakhri, produced by Balaji Motion Pictures. The film was a semi hit. She then appeared in Saif Ali Khan‘s maiden production Happy Ending where she played lead along Saif Ali Khan, Govinda and Kalki Koechlin which released on November 21, 2014. The film met with negative reviews and was a box office flop.

After taking a sabbatical,[47] in February 2016 she started Akshay Kumar‘s Rustom which released in August 2016.[48]

As of March 2017, she completed her part of filming in Milan Luthria‘s Baadshaho starring opposite Ajay Devgn.[49][50] And is currently filming for Anees Bazmee‘s Mubarakan starring opposite Arjun Kapoor and Anil Kapoor.


Films that have not yet been released Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Film Role Language Notes
2006 Devadasu Bhanu Telugu
2006 Pokiri Shruti Telugu
2006 Kedi Aarthi Tamil
2006 Khatarnak Nakshatra Telugu
2006 Rakhi Tripura Telugu
2007 Munna Nidhi Telugu
2007 Aata Sathya Telugu
2008 Jalsa Bhagyamathi/Bhagi Telugu
2008 Bhale Dongalu Jyothi Telugu
2009 Kick Naina Telugu
2009 Rechipo Krishna Veni Telugu
2009 Saleem Satyavathi Telugu
2010 Huduga Hudugi Herself Kannada Cameo appearance
2011 Shakti Aishwarya Telugu
2011 Nenu Naa Rakshasi Meenakshi/Shravya Telugu
2012 Nanban Ria Santhanam Tamil
2012 Julai Madhu Telugu
2012 Devudu Chesina Manushulu Ileana Telugu
2012 Barfi! Shruti Ghosh Sengupta Hindi
2013 Phata Poster Nikhla Hero Kajal Hindi
2014 Main Tera Hero Sunaina Hindi
2014 Happy Ending Aanchal Reddy Hindi
2015 Kick 2 Naina Telugu
2016 Rustom Cynthia Pavri Hindi
2017 Pehli dafa Music Video Hindi Video Song
2017 Baadshaho Film has yet to be released TBA Hindi Releasing on 1 September 2017.
2017 Mubarakan Film has yet to be released Sweety Hindi Filming

Awards and nominations

Year Film Award Category Result
2007 Devadasu Filmfare Awards South Best Female Debut Won[51]
2009 Jalsa Filmfare Awards South Best Actress (Telugu) Nominated[51]
Santosham Film Awards Best Actress Won[51]
South Scope Style Awards Best Actress Won[51]
2010 Kick Filmfare Awards South Best Actress (Telugu) Nominated
2012 Nanban Vijay Awards Vijay Award for Favourite Heroine Nominated
Barfi! Vogue Beauty Awards Fresh Face Won[52]
BIG Star Entertainment Awards Most Entertaining Actor (Film) Debut – Nominated[53]
ETC Bollywood Business Awards Most Profitable Debut (Female) Won[54]
2013 Filmfare Awards Best Female Debut Won[55]
Best Supporting Actress Nominated[56]
Screen Awards Most Promising Newcomer – Female Won[57]
Best Supporting Actress Nominated[57]
Zee Cine Awards Best Female Debut Won[58]
Stardust Awards Superstar of Tomorrow – Female Nominated[59]
Star Guild Awards Best Female Debut Won[60]

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