Ileana D’Cruz (born 1 November 1987) is an Indian film actress, who predominantly appears in Telugu and Hindi films. She won the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut – South for the 2006 Telugu film Devadasu. She has appeared in films like Pokiri (2006), Jalsa (2008), Kick (2009), and Julayi (2012), establishing herself as one of Telugu cinema leading actresses. D’Cruz made her Kollywood debut with Kedi and made a comeback in Shankar’s Nanban (2012). In 2012, she made her Bollywood debut with Anurag Basu’s critically and commercially successful Barfi!, for which she received critical appreciation and the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut.
D’Cruz was born in Mumbai, and raised partly in Mumbai and partly in Goa. Her first name comes from Greek mythology, meaning Helen of Troy.Her family relocated to Parra, Goa when she was 10 years old. Her mother tongue is Konkani.
During that time, the manager of the hotel her mother was working in, suggested that she has a beautiful face with a vibrant smile and should start modelling and fixed a meeting with Marc Robinson. Though initially reluctant, she was persuaded and her first portfolio was created in January 2003, which she described as a “disaster”. She began gaining notice through photo shoots and ramp shows and her second portfolio was set up the following year, which landed her three advertisements from Electrolux, Emami Talc and Fair and Lovely. The latter, in particular, which was directed by Rakesh Roshan, gave her exposure and brought in several offers for acting in feature films.
In 2005, D’Cruz was called for an audition by director Teja, but the project was cancelled. She instead made her feature film debut in the Telugu language romance film Devadasu (2006), directed by Y. V. S. Chowdhary. She underwent acting classes with Aruna Bhikshu, before starting to work on the film. She recalls that during filming she felt “pressured almost cried and didn’t want to go further”, but went ahead after her mother encouraged her, giving her “the lecture of a lifetime at 3 am.” A review from Indiaglitz stated that she “has chiseled features and a figure to die-for.”