Padmini Kolhapure was born on 1st November 1965, in Maharashtra. Her father was a Classical singer and her mother was working with the Airlines, who hailed from a place called Ganguli (near Kundapur).
Asha Bhosle suggested Padmini's name to Dev Anand who cast the then ten-year-old girl in Ishq Ishq Ishq (1975). She then appeared in Ravi Tandon’s Zindagi (1976), Dream Girl (1977), starring Dharmendra and Hema Malini, and Saajan Bina Suhagan (1978). Her most famous child role was playing Zeenat Aman as a child in Raj Kapoor's Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1977). The movie, a controversial one, did average business. Padmini then performed in the hit film Insaf Ka Tarazu (1980) when she was 13 years of age. She played the role of a rape victim, which won her many accolades. As the main lead, she first acted in Ahista Ahista (1981) opposite Kunal Kapoor. It was a critically acclaimed film.
Padmini next starred in Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai (1981) opposite Rishi Kapoor. The film flopped, inspite of some good performances and music. She acted again with Rishi Kapoor in Prem Rog (1982) which was a huge hit. In Star (1982), Padmini made a special appearance. Her next film was Vidhaata (1982), also starring Sanjay Dutt and Dilip Kumar, which became a blockbuster. She then starred in Swami Dada (1983) and Mazdoor (1983). Both failed to do well. Souten (1983) was a hit, where Padmini acted alongside Rajesh Khanna and Tina Munim. Next, she appeared in Woh Saat Din (1983) with Anil Kapoor, Hum Hain Lajawaab (1984) with Kumar Gaurav, and Insaaf Main Karoonga (1985), again with Rajesh Khanna and Tina Munim. Padmini had a huge hit with Pyar Jhukta Nahin (1985) with Mithun Chakraborty, and they were paired together in many more films. This film made Padmini one of the top actresses of that period.
Rahi Badal Gaye (1985) with Rishi Kapoor, and Pyari Behna (1985) with Mithun, didn’t do too well. Padmini starred alongside Rajnikanth in Wafadaar (1985). She acted in Basu Chatterjee’s Kirayadar (1985) alongside Raj Babbar and Vidya Sinha, which was critically acclaimed. Padmini again starred opposite Mithun in films like Swarag Se Sunder (1986), Muddat (1986), Aisa Pyaar Kahan (1986), Hawalaat (1987), Sagar Sangam (1988), Hum Intezaar Karenge (1989), Dana Paani (1989), and Daata (1989). She gave decent performances in all of them. Trying her hand at comedy, she starred in Anubhav (1986) alongside Shekhar Suman. Following that, Padmini was again seen with Rishi Kapoor in Pyar Ke Kabil (1987). In 1991, Padmini starred in Raj Sippy’s Qurbani Rang Layegi, alongside Sanjay Dutt and Poonam Dhillon. She then did another movie with Shekhar Suman called Professor Ki Padosan (1993) which did poor business. Padmini made a comeback into the industry in 2006 with Karan Razdan’s Souten: The Other Woman, also starring Mahima Chaudhry. She did another film with Karan Razdan called Eight Shani, the same year. Both films flopped unfortunately for her.
Padmini Kolhapure will be seen in the forthcoming film Doctor.
In 1981, Padmini won the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress for Insaf Ka Tarazu (1980). She earned a special acting award for Ahista Ahista in 1982. In 1983, she won the Filmfare Award for Best Actress for Prem Rog (1982).
Padmini is fondly called Pandi. She was first discovered by Raj Kapoor. Her father's first cousins are singers Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle. As a child, she was in the chorus for some of their songs. She has a younger sister Tejaswini, and an elder sister Shivangi. Padmini married Pradeep (Tutu) Sharma who she met during the making of the film Aisa Pyar Kahan. At the age of 22 after marrying him, Padmini officially retired from films. She has a son with him named Priyank. After her son grew up, she returned to acting in 2004, such as for the Marathi film Manthan. Padmini is remembered as one of the queens of 1980s masala entertainers and was a favourite of the masses who bought tickets to see Padmini and Mithun in an endless stream of passtime revenge dramas. She was known for her professionalism and diligence. Today Padmini is active in both India and the United States fronting many film related ventures from acting schools to film production. An interesting Padmini anecdote was when Prince Charles visited India in 1980. At an event he met with some famous people and Padmini Kolhapure created a media scandal by giving him a peck on the cheek. In 2007, she was all set to play the role of Tulsi Virani in “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi” after Smriti Irani left, but then the role was offered to Gautami Kapoor.