Urmila Matondkar, petite and full figured, was a child actress who struggled as an actress until Rangeela saw an overnight transformation. She became more than just a ravishing face as she performed varied roles in the movies that followed.
Urmila Matondkar entered Bollywood as a child artist, with her first movie being ?Kalyug? (1980), which was followed by ?Zakol?. However, it was her third movie ?Masoom? (1983) that made the audience sit back and take notice. Subsequently, she was seen in ?Sur Sangam? (1985), along with ?Dacait? and ?Zindagi? (1987). Urmila made her debut as a leading star in a Malayalam-language film ?Chanakyan? (1989), in which she starred opposite Kamal Hassan. It was ?Narasimha? (1991) that served as her leading role debut in Hindi movies.
In 1992, Urmila gave performance in ?Chamatkar?, her first film with Shahrukh Khan?, followed by ?Antam? (Telugu film) and ?Drohi? (Hindi version of ?Antam?). With the latter two movies, started Urmila?s association with the ace director Ram Gopal Verma (RGV). The following year, she was seen in ?Shreeman Aashiq?, ?Gaayam? (another GRV film) and Bedardi. Even after starring in so many films, success continued to evade her. It was in 1995 that she got the first hit of her career, with ?Rangeela?, an RGV film.
Rangeela also got her the first Filmfare Best Actress Award nomination. The year 1995 also saw Urmila being a part of ?Tacholi Varghese Chekavar? (Malayalam Film) and ?Money Money?. In 1997 came ?Judaai?, a film that got her nominations for Best Supporting Actress, along with ?Daud?, another RGV film. The following year, she was seen in ?Satya?, a film based on underworld that became a major hit. Urmila also got some rave reviews for her performance in ?Satya?. The same year, she did ?Kaun?, her first negative role.
The 2000s saw her moving towards critically acclaimed roles. In 2001, she was seen in ?Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya? (2001), in which she played the role of an obsessed lover. Her performance was greatly appreciated and she was also nominated for Filmfare Best Villain Award. The year 2002 saw her appearing in ?Om Jai Jagdish? and ?Deewangee?, none of which was a box office success. In 2003, she wooed the audience with her performance in ?Bhoot?, a supernatural thriller, and ?Pinjar?, a film set in the background of the 1947 India partition.
?Bhoot? won her the first Filmfare Critics Award, for Best Performance - Female. The same year, she received the Rajiv Gandhi Award, for ?Achievement in Bollywood?. In 2004, Urmila played the lead role, of a deceived woman who seeks revenge from her lover, in ?Ek Hasina Thi?. The next year saw her being a part of a supernatural thriller ?Naina?, apart from the critically-acclaimed ?Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara?. The latter movie got Urmila her second Bollywood Movie Award for Best Actress.
In 2006, ?Banaras? and ?Bas Ek Pal? were the two films in which she was seen. Though not very successful, the films received critical acclaim. In 2007, her only film, in the lead role, was ?Speed?. Urmila is an outstanding dancer and has featured in a number of item numbers, including ?Chamma Chamma? (China Gate), ?Aaiye Aajaye? (Lajja) and ?Mehbooba? (RGV Ki Aag). In 2007, she gave her voice for Asha Bhonsle's album ?Asha and Friends Vol 1?, in which she sang the song "Mehbooba Dilruba", with Asha.