Ameesha Patel is an Indian actress who appears in mainly Bollywood movies. Making her acting debut in the blockbuster Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai (2000), Patel won critical praise for her performance in Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2001), which became one of the biggest hits in the history of Hindi cinema, earning her a Filmfare Special Performance Award. She would subsequently star in a number of films, most of which proved unsuccessful at the box office. However, her performance in the 2006 film Ankahee, received critical recognition, and she followed it with a supporting/comic role in the average hit Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. and also co-starred in the hit Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007).
Patel is the daughter of Amit Patel and Asha Patel, sister of Ashmit Patel and the granddaughter of the famous lawyer-politician Barrister Rajni Patel who was the Congress Pradesh Committee President of Bombay. She was born in the Breach Candy Hospital in Bombay and is a trained Bharatnatyam dancer since the age of five.
Her birth name is a blend of the first three letters of her father's name Amit and the last three letters of her mother's name Asha.
She studied at the Cathedral and John Connon School in Bombay and was head girl for the academic year 1992–1993 before heading overseas to study Economics at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.
In September 2004, Patel joined PETA, one of the organisations championing the cause of animals, as part of an advertising campaign which highlights the lives of captivated animals in a zoo who are robbed of their natural surroundings for the amusement of others. Patel posed as a petrified prisoner in a jail cell to throw focus on the plight of animals in zoos.