As a teenager, Shetty did a few modelling assignments and appeared in several television commercials. She later made her acting debut in the 1993 thriller Baazigar that earned her nominations for the Filmfare Awards for Best Supporting Actress and Lux New Face of the Year. She subsequently earned wide recognition with dual roles in the 1994 action comedy Main Khiladi Tu Anari. After this initial success in her career, Shetty's films fared poorly at the box office and Jaanwar proved to be her first commercial success in five years. The 2000 box office hit Dhadkan marked a turning point in her career, earning her praise and Best Actress nominations at several award ceremonies. Shetty rose to prominence by featuring as the female lead in five of India's annually top-grossing productions— the 2001 crime drama Indian, the 2004 cop drama Garv, the 2005 spy thriller Dus, the 2005 Kannada film Auto Shankar and the 2007 family drama Apne—and received praise for her performances in the dramas Pardesi Babu (1998), Rishtey (2002) and Life in a. . . Metro (2007). Her acclaimed portrayal of an AIDS patient in the 2004 drama Phir Milenge garnered her several accolades, including a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress. Shetty became a global figure after winning the 2007 British reality television series Celebrity Big Brother 5, with 63% of the final vote, following an international racism controversy.
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