Aditi Rao Hydari (born 28 October 1986) is an Indian actress and singer who works predominantly in Hindi and Tamil language films. She made her on-screen debut in Malayalam film industry with the film Prajapathi opposite to Mammootty in 2006.
Hydari rose to fame after her performance in Sudhir Mishra's romantic thriller film Yeh Saali Zindagi (2011), a role that won her the Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress. She has since played supporting roles in several Hindi films including the musical Rockstar (2011), the romantic comedy Khoobsurat (2014) and the thriller Wazir (2016). For the titular role in the thriller Bhoomi (2018), she received Dadasaheb Phalke Excellence Award for Best Actress (Critics). Hydari's supportive portrayal of Queen Mehrunisa in the period drama Padmaavat (2018) was well received.
Aditi Rao Hydari was born on 28 October 1986 in Hyderabad to Ehsaan Hydari and his wife Vidya Rao, an acclaimed classical singer popular for thumri and dadra genres of music. Her father, who died in 2013, was a Bohri Muslim while her mother, who is a Hindu by birth, is a practicing Buddhist and a Chitrapur Saraswat from Mangalore who is half-Telugu. Hydari is thus, of half-Hyderabadi and half-Konkan heritage.
Hydari belongs to two royal lineages, that of Muhammad Saleh Akbar Hydari and J. Rameshwar Rao of erstwhile Raja of Wanaparthy family. She is the great granddaughter of Akbar Hydari, former Prime Minister of Hyderabad state and the grand niece of Muhammad Saleh Akbar Hydari, former Governor of Assam. Aditi's maternal grandparents are Raja J Rameshwar Rao, who headed the administration of Wanaparthi state during colonial India, and Shanta Rameshwar Rao, a much respected educationalist in the city of Hyderabad, and the chairperson of the publishing house Orient Blackswan. Filmmaker Kiran Rao, the wife of actor Aamir Khan, is her maternal first cousin.
Although Hydari's parents had a loving marriage, they separated when she was just 2 years-old. Her mother moved from Hyderabad to Delhi and started managing her family business there. While her father remarried, but did not have children, her mother remained single. Hydari spent her childhood in both Hyderabad and Delhi. She started learning Bharatanatyam at age six and became a disciple of acclaimed dancer Leela Samson. She did her schooling at Rishi Valley School, Madanapalle, Andhra Pradesh and graduated from Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi. From a young age, Hydari aspired to become an actress. She said, "I always wanted to be an actor and after completing college from Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi, I started working in the southern film industry. Soon, I decided to relocate to Mumbai and try my luck in Bollywood."
Hydari uses both of her parent's surnames. She explained, "I wanted to keep both, as my mom has brought me up, but my father is also a part of me. Hydari is a rare name so I kept both Rao and Hydari." Hydari shared a difficult, but close relationship with her father throughout her life; he died in 2013 from lung cancer.