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Taking A Calculated Risk

Taking A Calculated RiskBollywood star Amisha Patel earned a degree in economics at Tufts, but decided that filmmaking was her true passion. Medford/Somerville, Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [05.27.03] A major Bollywood star, Amisha Patel didn't follow the traditional path to fame. After graduating from Tufts in 1997 with a degree in economics, Patel quickly took a job crunching numbers in the financial industry. But her creative interests called, prompting the Tufts graduate to reverse course - leaving her job and battling her family - to follow her dreams of the big screen.

"When I told my mom and dad about my decision to do film, there was World War III in the house," Patel told the Bollywood Blitz. "They made me see all the disadvantages of being an actress and I told them of all the advantages of being in films."

Patel eventually won out and filmed "Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai," which launched her career and made her an overnight superstar.

"If the tremendous box-office success of her first film was great, more was to follow," reported Zee Network, India's largest media group. "Amisha's second Hindi release was ‘Gadar: Ek Prem Katha.' The film rewrote box-office record books and suddenly producers were queuing up in front of Amisha's door."

In an industry characterized by short careers, Patel has forged quite an impressive resume in just a couple years.

"A combination of hard work and smart career moves is responsible for Amisha being regarded as one of the top draw heroines in the industry today," reported Zee Network. "Any newcomer would give her right arm to be in Amisha's shoes."

With more than half dozen films already under her belt, Patel - who says her biggest asset is her ability to laugh at herself - says acting is a constant learning process.

"I think I have miles to go," Patel said in an interview with the South Asian television station B4U TV. "I have an actress in me, which I think I'm discovering every day."

Born in Bombay, Patel was trained in classical dance at the age of six. A debater in high school, she left India for college.

"I got to go to the United States to study Economics at Tufts," Patel told Bollywood Blitz. "It was a great experience studying there."

After graduating, she returned home to take a job at a financial company. But she quickly discovered that her interests were focused elsewhere.

"Films are a far cry from what I have been educated in," Patel told, a major Indian news and information website, referring to her economics degree from Tufts. "Coming from a business background, it was very difficult for me to tell people that I wanted to do films."

But she couldn't imagine doing anything else.

"The industry puts a spring in my step," she said. "I look forward to it every day. No matter how tired I am, once the lights and cameras are switched on I am totally energetic."


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