Lara was born in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India, on April 16, 1978. Her dad is retired Wing Commander L.K. Dutta and her mother is Jennifer Dutta. Lara has two sisters, one of whom serves in the Indian Air Force, and is the cousin of Nitin Sawhney. In 1981 the Dutta family re-located to Bangalore, and she was enrolled in St. Francis Xavier Girls’ High School where she studied till her 10th Standard, and later did her First Year and Second Year Junior College at the Frank Anthony Public School. After graduating from school, she then went on to earn a degree in Economics from Bombay University.
In 1995, Lara entered and won a beauty competition called Gladrags Megamodel India. This won her the right to enter the Miss Intercontinental Pageant in 1997, which she also won. She was also crowned Femina Miss India Universe in 2000, which sent her neatly as India’s representative to the Miss Universe competition in Cyprus. Her finalist interview score was the highest individual score in any category in the history of the Miss Universe contest. She answered her question with a defense of the Miss Universe contest and other beauty pageants. She was only the second Indian woman to have won Miss Universe, and no other Indian woman has won it since.
In 2003, she joined fellow beauty queen, Priyanka Chopra, and Akshay Kumar for her debut film, “Andaaz“. She played the sweet “girl next door” type opposite Priyanka’s vixen character in this love triangle story. She delivered an amazingly solid dramatic performance as the tragic Kajal Singhania. For this performance, she won the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut: an award she shared with co-star, Priyanka.
But her character wasn’t all drama and tragedy. Her opening scene was a school celebration, in which she danced with Akshay. She was fun, fresh, and energetic. Though she hasn’t been hailed as an exceptionally skilled dancer, she has nonetheless held up very well in many dance sequences over the years.
As an actress, Lara’s performances have remained as solid and dependable as her debut. She has a natural and easy style. Though this is great for the intrinsic flow of a film, it unfortunately kept her from standing out and joining the larger-than life star-style enjoyed by those considered to be part of the celebrated A-list. Weeding out all the cameo-appearances and bit parts, Lara has done 22 films in twelve years. She seemed to be most popular in ensemble-cast, commercially successful comedies like “Masti”, “No Entry”, “Bhagam Bhaag”, “Jhoom Barabar Jhoom“, “Partner“, “Do Knot Disturb”, and “Housefull”.
However, Lara is a very good dramatic actress; never delivering less than a solid and believable performance. Her only award has been her Best Female Debut award for “Andaaz”. However, she was also nominated as Best Actress for her roles in “Billu” and “Chalo Dilli“. Other nominations have included Best Supporting Actress for “No Entry”, “Jhoom Barabar Jhoom”, and “Housefull”.
In other movies, Lara has supported many of Bollywood biggest A-list male leads. But the one with whom she has appeared most often is Akshay Kumar. He was the male lead for seven of the movies in her filmography. In turn, however, he lent her a hand and supported her in the one and only female lead film she’s done to date, “Chalo Dilli”. She played an up-tight, hard-edged, cold-hearted business woman trying to get to Delhi. When she missed her flight, she was forced into a journey comprised of one mishap and hardship after another. She also had to endure the constant company of a man she found to be distasteful in almost every way. Akshay showed up near the end to play her good-natured and jovial army husband. His character was very pleased to see how hardship, danger, and forced association with the poor had turned his wife into a loving and caring human being. She was not only nominated as Best Actress for her first female lead role, but was highly praised by critics for her performance. Lara also co-produced this movie.
She is also known for her sense of humor, and a talent for writing. She has now announced that she will writing scripts, and hopes that one day someone from Bollywood will make flicks out of them.
In September 2010, Dutta became engaged to Indian tennis player, Mahesh Bhupathi. They married on February
16, 2011 in a civil ceremony in Bandra, and later followed it by a Christian ceremony on 20 February 2011 at Sunset Point in Goa. On 1 August 2011, Dutta confirmed that she is pregnant with their first child. On 20 January 2012 it was confirmed by Bhupathi via a popular networking site that Dutta had given birth to a baby girl, they have named her Saira.
After giving birth to her daughter, she became a devoted mother. Some may have felt this compromised her sexy looks, but at the age of 37, she’s still looking fantastic. Since having her baby, she has only appeared in one film, playing a minor role in the concept movie, “David”. However, two years after having her baby, she returned to the big screen by once again supporting Akshay Kumar for the 2015 sequel to “Singh is Kinng”, “Singh is Bliing“.