Born in Pune, State of Bombay, India on September 7, 1953 as Lillete Kiswani, Lillete Dubey is an actress with a long string of credits in American and Hindi film, television and theater. She was raised in a Sindhi Hindu household by her father Govind Kiswani, an Indian Railways engineer, and mother Leela, an Indian Army gynecologist. Intending to give her a name that suited the modern times, her father came up with the pseudo-French derivation Lillette of her mother’s maiden name Leela, the idea being to dub her as “little Leela.” Unfortunately, the name brought her much teasing as a little girl and turned her off to it at an early age. Lillette has two siblings, both younger: a brother named Patanjali and a sister named Lushin.
Growing up, Lillette attended Carmel Convent in Delhi and, later, St. Mary’s in Pune. She then went on to Shri Ram College in Delhi to pursue a degree in English Literature. After graduation, she obtained postgraduate degrees in Mass Communication and English.
The biography of Lillete Dubey as a public figure started in 1973 with her helping Barry John to found the theater group Theatre Action Group in Delhi. Eighteen years later, she set up her own theater company, The Primetime Theatre Company. In her time, she’s acted on-stage in plays like “August – Osage County,” 30 Days in September,” Where did I Leave My Purdah,” “Adhe Aduhura,” “Salaam Noni Appa” and “Dance Like a Man.”
As a screen actress Lillete Dubey’s first role was Shama Joshi in the TV series “Kabhie Kabhie” in 1997. The following year, she appeared in a couple of other TV series before, in 2000, finally landing her first big screen role, as Connie Palmen in the feature film “Driving Miss Palmen.” Most recently, she’s been seen in the role of Leela Pujari in the 2021 TV series “The Reunion – Chal Chalein Apne Ghar” and several episodes of the 2022 TV series “Murder in Agonda.”
Actress Lillete Dubey is perhaps best known for her roles as Pimmi Verma in the 2001 film “Monsoon Wedding,” as Jawinder “Jazz” Kapoor in the 2003 film “Kal Ho Naa Ho,” as Zooni’s instructor Helen in the 2006 film “Fanaa” and as Mrs. Kapoor in the 2011 film “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”
Upcoming Lillete Dubey roles include playing Samantha in “Tadka,” Aunty Maria in “Blind,” Lalitha in “Homing Pigeons” and Mama Nithya in the short film “Birth.”
Lillete Dubey also tried her hand at directing in the 2019 TV movie “Womanly Voices.” She served as Performance Director for the 2017 film “Kanyadaan,” appeared as herself in one TV series and one short and received special thanks in the credits for the 2004 film “Lakshya.”
Among the awards she’s received over the years include Best Actress at the Filma Madrid International Film Festival for “Bow Barracks Forever;” the Best Actress Simon Sabela Award and KZN South Africa Award for “3 Days to Go” and a BAFTA – Best Ensemble Cast award for “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”
Lillette Dubey is currently widowed from her husband Ravi Dubey, who died in 2015 of pancreatic cancer. The couple had been married since September 12, 1978. Ravi Dubey had been the General Manager of the Taj Mansingh hotel.
Lillete Dubey has 82 acting credits to her name, including films and TV series. Of those roles, 67 are in feature films.
Lillette Dubey and her husband have two daughters, Ira Dubey and Neha Dubey. Both are Bollywood actresses and heavily involved in live theater. Neha Dubey is a practicing psychotherapist as well working independently in Mumbai.
Lillette Dubey’s net worth is around $1.5 million USD.