Ileana D’Cruz (born 1 November 1987) is an Indian-born Portuguese actress and model who predominantly appears in Telugu and Hindi language films. D’Cruz was born in Mumbai and spent most of her childhood in Goa. D’Cruz made her screen debut in 2006 with Telugu-language film Devadasu, which was a commercial success. She has received several awards including a Filmfare Award South and a Filmfare Award.
D’Cruz established herself as a leading actress in Telugu cinema with successful films including Pokiri (2006), Rakhi (2006), Munna (2007), Jalsa (2008), Kick (2009) and Julayi (2012). She made her debut in Tamil cinema with Kedi (2006) and starred in Shankar’s Nanban (2012), a commercial success.
D’Cruz expanded to Hindi cinema in 2012 with Anurag Basu’s comedy-drama Barfi!, for which she won the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut. She has since played the leading lady in Main Tera Hero (2014), Rustom (2016), and Raid (2018).
Early and personal life
D’Cruz was born to a Catholic father and Muslim mother in Mahim, Mumbai on 1 November 1987. Her family moved to Parra, Goa when she was 10 years old.
Her first portfolio was created in January 2003; D’Cruz called it a “disaster”. Subsequent photo shoots and ramp shows led to a second portfolio the following year, which landed her advertisements from Electrolux, Emami Talc and Fair & Lovely.
D’Cruz acquired Portuguese nationality in 2014.
She was in a relationship with Australian photographer Andrew Kneebone. It was rumored that they had already married. On 28 August 2019, Indian media aired the news that the couple had broken up.
Debut and early roles (2005–2006)
In 2005, D’Cruz was called for an audition by director Teja, but the project was cancelled. She made her feature film debut in the Telugu language romance film Devadasu (2006), directed by Y. V. S. Chowdary. 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.” A review from Indiaglitz stated that she “has chiseled features and a figure to die-for.”
Devadasu became the year’s first commercially successful Telugu film, eventually grossing around ₹140 million, whilst earning D’Cruz the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debutant. She next appeared in the gangster film Pokiri in which she portrayed an aerobics teacher, who is harassed by a corrupt police officer. The film was a high financial success, emerging as the highest-grossing Telugu film at the time.
She made her Tamil-language film debut in Kedi (2006). Although the film did not do so well at the box-office, D’Cruz remained too busy to accept all the film roles offered to her. 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. She subsequently experienced a breakthrough in her career as her following releases Rakhi (2006) and Munna (2007) proved critically and financially successful.
Breakthrough and establishment in Telugu cinema (2007–2011)
D’Cruz appeared in the 2007 film Aata. She received favourable 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. 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”, “damn cool”, and “every bit chic and stunning throughout the film”,while being later awarded the Santosham Award, one of five awards for Jalsa, and the South Scope Style Award, besides garnering a nomination for the Best Actress prize at the 56th Filmfare Awards South.
Choudary’s Saleem both of which performed poorly at the box office.
D’Cruz had 2 releases in 2011. Her first film that year was Shakthi, where she essayed the lead female role. The socio-fantasy film, the costliest Telugu film ever made at ₹ 250,000,000. Her next release was Nenu Naa Rakshasi, which marked her second collaboration with Puri Jagannadh.
Recent work (2018–present)
D’Cruz’s first release of 2018 Raid, opened to positive critical and commercial feedback. After six years hiatus, she signed a Telugu film Amar Akbar Anthony starring opposite her frequent co-star Ravi Teja. Released amid good expectations the film opened with negative reviews and failed at the box office.
In 2019, she appeared in Pagalpanti, a comedy film by Anees Bazmee.
She has completed the filming of Unfair & Lovely it is an upcoming Indian Hindi-language social comedy film directed by Balwinder Singh Janjua and produced by Sony Pictures Films India. The film features Randeep Hooda and Ileana D’Cruz in the lead roles. The film is about to explore India’s obsession with fair skin.