Early life — [ edit ] Kapoor with her father Anil in in Mumbai Kapoor was born in the Mumbai suburb of Chembur on 9 June Her mother, Sunita, is a former model and designer. I was unhealthy, I had bad skin, and I had hair growing on my face! Kapoor, who had originally wanted to be a director and writer,  expressed a desire to work as a crew member on the film.
On her father's recommendation to director Sanjay Leela Bhansali , she was appointed as his assistant. The film received mixed reviews from critics  and was not a box-office success. She played an engaged woman who develops a one-sided attraction to her commitment-phobic co-worker. Khan said about Kapoor's craft, "We'd be shooting a scene from multiple angles—for three or four hours you're doing the same scene, the same lines—and here is this person [Kapoor] who brings consistency to her work, from the way she talks, to her accent.
She described her role opposite Abhay Deol , Ira Dubey and Amrita Puri as "a meddlesome busybody with a passion for matchmaking and playing Cupid".
The film, along with Kapoor's performance, received poor reviews;  Nikhat Kazmi of The Times of India called her "terribly out of sync". Her role was originally written for Katrina Kaif , who was unavailable for the film. Rai -directed romantic drama Raanjhanaa marked a turning point in her career;  Geety Sahgal called it her best performance to date in The Indian Express.
To prepare for her part, Kapoor interacted with students, attended workshops and practised with theatre groups associated with Jawaharlal Nehru University.
I try to be different for every character. I like doing different things to challenge myself in every way and don't like to repeat myself.
Tanwar wrote in her review that despite her minor role, Kapoor proved to "be the perfect warm counterpart to Milkha". Though she received a Filmfare Best Actress nomination for her performance,  critics were divided in their response, with Shilpa Jamkhandikar of Reuters calling her "loud and exasperating",  and Andy Webster of The New York Times comparing her to a young Anne Hathaway and highlighting her " Julia Roberts -like smile".
But the treatment of the character shows up her limitations. The film became one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films of all time.
She was cast as the eponymous air hostess Neerja Bhanot , who died while saving the passengers of the hijacked Pan Am Flight 73 in She looks earnest, scared, benevolent and bold, all at the same time. Co-starring Akshay Kumar and Radhika Apte , the film is inspired by the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham , who campaigned for menstrual hygiene in rural India. She liked featuring in a film that addresses important social issues and is about something more than just entertainment. Vetticad of Firstpost commended her screen presence but disliked a romantic subplot involving her and Kumar, criticising the chemistry and age-gap between them.
Jha as one of the top actresses in India,  though a commentator for Rediff. Asia Class", a list of newcomers in film. In , she participated in the International Indian Film Academy Awards fashion show, which supports widows and orphans of Indian film-industry workers.
Patil , protesting against the use of glass-coated manja used on fighter kites , which kills birds who become entangled in it. The proceeds were donated to Smile Foundation , a child-welfare organisation.