The true mettle or grit of an individual can, of course, be judged by the way they react to seemingly unfortunate situations in their life. By this yardstick, Bollywood heroine and pretty girl Lisa Ray is a true warrior.
Born Lisa Rani Ray, to a Hindu Bengali father and a Polish mother, Lisa was always out of the ordinary. She grew up in the suburb of Etobicoke, in Canada, spending her summers in Kolkata and West Bengal. She was a precocious child, and brilliant at academics, completing a five year high school degree in four years.
Her growing up influences in cinema were films from diverse auteurs such as Federico Fellini and Satyajit Ray. Her own initiation into the glamour world came when she was spotted by a local talent scout at the age of sixteen, while holidaying with her family in India.
Lisa Ray was catapulted into the limelight when she appeared in an advertisement for Bombay Dyeing. Upon returning to Canada, she planned to pursue journalism, but those plans were thwarted when her mother met with a car accident. Ray returned to India, to yet another assignment- this time appearing on the cover of Gladrags Magazine, in a red Baywatch-esque suit.
In 1994, Ray began her film career, appearing in a Tamil film, Nethaji. The brief role got her noticed, and landed her a part in the Telugu film Takkari Donga. Then in 1996, Lisa Ray captured the imagination of the country, when she made an appearance in Sufi sensation Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s music video, Aafreen Aafreen.
Bollywood came calling for Lisa Ray in the year 2001, when she made her Hindi film debut in Kasoor, opposite the then heartthrob Aftab Shivdasani. Though the film didn’t exactly set the Box Office on fire, Lisa was appreciated for her good looks and her passable acting. The film then led her to bag Deepa Mehta’s 2002 production, Bollywood/Hollywood.
Since then, Lisa Ray has tread the off-beaten path, appearing in off-beat Bollywood and Canadian films sporadically. Her filmography lists names like I Can’t Think Straight, Toronto Stories, Cooking With Stella and Psych.
In 2009, Ray was diagnosed with cancer of the white blood cells, but she fought it off bravely. Within a year, Lisa Ray declared she was cancer-free after a stem cell transplant. Through her illness, she displayed fierce grit and a warrior spirit, which perhaps led her to defeat the dreaded disease.
In 2012, Ray was married to management consultant and the love of her life, Jason Dehni. Here’s wishing Lisa all the happiness in the world.