Nargis Mohammed Fakhri is an American model and actress, who mainly appears in Hindi films. Fakhri began her career as a model and appeared as a contestant in the The CW series America's Next Top Model. She made her acting debut in the 2011 romantic drama Rockstar, for which she received a Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut nomination. She received praise for starring as a war correspondent in the political thriller Madras Cafe (2013). She later appeared in the successful comedies Main Tera Hero (2014), Spy (2015), and Housefull 3 (2016), the second of which was a Hollywood production.
Early life and modeling
Fakhri was born in Queens, New York, to Mohammed Fakhri, a businessman, and Marie Fakhri, a former police officer. According to the actress, her father was from Pakistan, and moved to the United States for better earning, while her mother is Czech. She has a sister, Alisha. Fakhri's parents divorced when she was six, and her father died the following year. Because of her mixed Pakistani and Czech ethnicity, she describes herself a "global citizen".
Fakhri started her career as a model at the age of 27, when she appeared as a contestant at the second and third cycle of The CW reality series America's Next Top Model (2004). Although, Fakhri was selected for the first two challenges of both the cycles, she failed to make up to the third challenge for the top twelve contestants. She subsequently modeled professionally in America, working for freelance agencies, and appearing regularly at fashion shows. Fakhri's fame increased when she appeared in a highly popular Indian print campaign for the 2009 Kingfisher Calendar. Her appearance in the Kingfisher Calendar attracted the attention of Indian filmmaker Imtiaz Ali. He selected her for a role in the Hindi romantic drama Rockstar. Fakhri later said that she agreed to work in India so that she could "relate to [her] culture" and get "close to [her] roots [Pakistan]", because India and Pakistan shares the same culture.
Fakhri made her film debut with a female lead role in the Imtiaz Ali's musical romantic drama Rockstar in 2011. The film follows the journey of an aspiring musician from a humble background to an international stardom after the death of his passionate lover. Fakhri was cast as a free-spirited rich brat, from the Kashmiri Pandit background. Rockstar was the first film in India to show a Kashmiri Pandit wedding. The film received overwhelming response from critics, but their opinion toward her were mixed. Film critic Taran Adarsh wrote, "Nargis is a stunner as far as looks are concerned, but isn't persuasive in poignant moments", however, he praised her on-screen chemistry with co-star Ranbir Kapoor. With a gross revenue of ₹1.07 billion (US$16 million), Rockstar was one of the top-grossing Hindi films of the year.
Her next release was opposite John Abraham in the Shoojit Sircar's political thriller Madras Cafe (2013). The film, set during the time of Indian intervention in the Sri Lankan civil war and assassination of former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, received critical acclaim upon release. Film critic Saibal Chatterjee said Fakhri "strikes the right notes", whereas Rajeev Masand called her "pleasantly competent". Later that year, she made a special appearance in the action comedy Phata Poster Nikhla Hero to perform in the item number "Dhating Naach" with the film's lead actor Shahid Kapoor.
In 2014, Fakhri appeared alongside Varun Dhawan and Ileana D'Cruz in the comedy Main Tera Hero, a remake of the 2011 Telugu film Kandireega, produced by Balaji Motion Pictures and directed by David Dhawan. Set in Bangkok, she played the role of Ayesha, a Don's daughter, who falls for an impetuous brats. The film was a financial success, but received mixed reviews from critics. For her performance in the film, Rohit Khilnani said that Fakhri "is not bad" and that "she fits well in this masala comedy and doesn't disappoint". Taran Adarsh however disagreed, and said though she "looks great", she needs to "polish her acting skills". She also performed an item number titled "Yaar Naa Miley" with Salman Khan for Sajid Nadiadwala's action thriller Kick. The song was well received by critics and was immensely popular among the audience. Later that year, she starred in Paul Feig's action comedy Spy, her first Hollywood film. Featuring alongside Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham and Jude Law, Fakhri was cast in her first antagonist role, portraying, Lia, a secret agent. The film and her performance received praise from critics. John Boone of Entertainment Tonight noted how much she stood out in the "fewer quiter scenes" of the film. Fakhri's performance earned her an MTV Movie Award for Best Fight nomination. Spy emerged as one of top-grossing productions of the year, earning $235.7 million worldwide.
In 2016, Fakhri made a special appearance in the Tamil film Saagasam to perform in the item number "Desi Girl" with the film's lead actor Prashanth. Fakhri next featured alongside Emraan Hashmi and Prachi Desai in biogeographical sports drama Azhar. She portrayed Sangeeta Bijlani, an actress and the second wife of cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin. In an interview with Mid Day, Azharuddin said that the film is about his God, marriage and match-fixing. Azhar generated controversy when a CBI officer, who investigated his case during match-fixing, claimed that he has a video tape in which Azharuddin had confessed his involvement in the match-fixing, however, he failed to prove it. Critics praised the films narration, but were divided in their opinion to her performance. Namrata Joshi of Outlook noted that she was "likeable" in her part, however, Devesh Sharma of Filmfare wrote that she brought "plasticky expressions". Commercially, the film was moderately successful at the box office. She then took on a supporting role for the third installment of the Housefull film series. The ensemble comedy film saw her playing the love interest of Abhishek Bachchan. Reviews of the film and her performance were largely negative. Writing for Firstpost, Subhash K. Jha criticized Fakhri for her inclination toward a film, where she was "treated as [a] visual attraction [...] and nothing else". Nevertheless, the film was a major commercial success, grossing ₹1.88 billion (US$28 million) billion worldwide. Fakhri then played a minor role in the adventure comedy Dishoom. Her portrayal was of star Saqib Saleem's friend, which she described as "cameo".
As of May 2016, Fakhri has several projects at various stage of productions. She has completed work on the romantic drama Banjo opposite Riteish Deshmukh. In addition, she has also committed to play a significant role in her second Hollywood production, 5 Weddings.
|Denotes films that have not yet been released|
|2013||Madras Cafe||Jaya Sahni||Hindi|
|2013||Phata Poster Nikhla Hero||Herself||Hindi||Special appearance in song "Dhating Naach"|
|2014||Main Tera Hero||Ayesha Saigal||Hindi|
|2014||Kick||Herself||Hindi||Special appearance in song "Yaar Na Miley"|
|2016||Saagasam||Herself||Tamil||Special appearance in song "Desi Girl"|
|2016||Housefull 3||Saraswati "Sarah" Patel||Hindi|
Awards and nominations
|2012||Rockstar||IIFA Awards||Hottest Pair (shared with Ranbir Kapoor)||Won|
|Filmfare Awards||Best Female Debut||Nominated|
|Stardust Awards||Superstar of Tomorrow – Female||Nominated|
|Zee Cine Awards||Best Female Debut||Nominated|
|2014||Madras Cafe||BIG Star Entertainment Awards||Most Entertaining Actor in a Social/Drama Film - Female||Nominated|
|2015||Main Tera Hero||Stardust Awards||Breakthrough Supporting Performance - Female||Nominated|
|2015||Main Tera Hero||Life OK NOW Awards||Best Supporting Actor - Female||Won|
|2015||Bollywood Life Awards||Most Motivational Celeb on Social Media||Won|
|2015||Filmfare Glamour and Style Awards||Ciroc Not The Usual Award||Won|
|2016||Spy||MTV Movie Awards||Best Fight (with Melissa McCarthy||Nominated|