digital cover

Karishma Tanna: Redefining Glamour, Glory and Guts

From hardcore reality TV to hard-hitting dramas on OTT, it has been a stupendous journey for the tall and svelte actor. She shares the ‘Scoop’.

Published On Sep 29, 2023 | Updated On Mar 08, 2024

In the bustling heart of Mumbai in Andheri, our rendezvous with the effervescent Karishma Tanna unfolds as we are set to get all the inside scoop behind what it takes to be a rising star. As Zee Zest’s September 2023 Digital Cover Star, Karishma arrives at the brand-new Middle Eastern and Mediterranean rooftop restaurant Nomi, chosen for its bohemian charm, to add the much-needed spunk to our dopamine-themed cover shoot.

Karishma’s infectious laughter fills the air as she enthusiastically participates in deciding the looks and the mood for the shoot. She's open to experimenting, not just in her career but in every aspect of her life, and her talent shines bright along with her kindness and down-to-earth personality.

Karishma is wearing a Supria Munjal atelier gown in red with frilled sleeves, and necklace and a pair of earrings by Curio Cottage Jewellery. On her wrist is the Boyfriend Circular Link Bracelet Watch Set in blush pink by Anne Klein Watches.

For over two decades now, she has been spicing up the entertainment industry – from daily soaps and reality shows on TV to Bollywood films and OTT, the most recent being Netflix’s Scoop. The show and Karishma’s work as Jagruti Pathak has been appreciated by audiences and critics alike. This role has been a far cry for the actor who is often remembered as a reality TV star. In the Hansal Mehta directorial, you watch the actor seamlessly transition from a relentless hawk hunting for crime stories to becoming a captivating crime story herself. That balance she explores—from a fearless person to a helpless one—leaves viewers utterly mesmerized by her remarkable performance. 

The 'Scoop' star is photographed wearing a sunrise yellow hand-embroidered gown with a body-defining silhouette by Bhawna Rao; a head band by Curio Cottage Jewellery; a pair of earrings by Aquamarine Jewellery; and rings by Misho Designs. On her wrist is a mini rectangular Anne Klein watch featuring a coordinated dial and enamel link bracelet.

A quick throwback: Karishma kicked off her showbiz journey with a bang back in 2001, thanks to the iconic Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi produced by Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji Telefilms. She followed that stint up with series like Kkoi Dil Mein Hai, Pyaar Ke Do Naam: Ek Raadha, Ek Shyaam; Naagin, Qayaamat Ki Raat, and Baal Veer. Cut to today, she's been lighting up our screens for two whole decades! “Because of my TV background, the kind of experience I’ve got, it helps in enhancing my acting,” she candidly admits. But she hit the limelight, stealing hearts and grabbing headlines, with her appearance on some of India's most-watched reality shows. Her elegance and never-say-die spirit made her an instant favourite among viewers. It was here, on the reality stage, that she learned several other facets of entertainment.

"People generally think reality TV is hunky-dory and very fancy; but there is much hard work behind every show. You get physically and mentally tired. So, I think, while it is fun, there is a lot to learn. You've seen me on almost every reality show, and I have enjoyed doing those," says Karishma, shedding light on the rigorous journey that goes behind all the glitz and glam that we see on-screen.

Karishma's reality TV journey spans across some of India’s leading and popular shows. From Fear Factor India and Bigg Boss 8 (where she bagged the first runner-up spot) to the dance floor of Nach Baliye 7 and the glitzy stage of Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 9—she's done it all. Let's not forget her culinary skills on Rasoi Ki Jung Mummyon Ke Sung and her showdown in Kitchen Champion 5. Oh, and she even emerged as the winner in Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi 10! Now that's one heck of a reality TV resume!

One must never forget one's roots and Karishma accepts the same with all humility. “TV is always going to be close to my heart since I started my career with it, with Balaji [Telefilms]. They are my godfather.”

Karishma is wearing the Malina Midi Dress - Sunrise Lemonade by Verano by Tanya; a finger ring and a pair of earrings by Papa Don't Preach by Shubhika; and a pair of stunning Carrera sunglasses.

While many television and reality TV stars find it challenging to transition to Bollywood, Karishma did it with grace and flair. Her striking looks and acting chops caught the eye of directors, and she made her mark with a few notable Bollywood cameos including Unnati in Grand Masti, Pinky in Sanju, and Basanti in Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari. She was also seen portraying supporting roles in movies such as Dosti: Friends Forever, Gollu Aur Pappu, and Lahore Confidential. Her brief stint in Bollywood has showcased her ability to hold her ground in the glamorous world of Indian cinema. Karishma mentions that she has enjoyed each phase of her career (and plans to do so in the future too) because stepping out of her comfort zone and taking on new roles helps her grow as an artiste. 


Karishma Tanna's true playground, however, turned out to be the world of OTT platforms. “OTT platforms have created so much space for actors like us, who want to shine and showcase our talents. There is a sense of satisfaction in OTT,” she tells us. 
With the rise of web series, she found her niche and soared to newer heights. She debuted in the digital space with Karrle Tu Bhi Mohabbat, an ALT Balaji production, and then also played pivotal roles in MX Player’s Bullets and Amazon Prime Video’s Guilty Minds and Hush Hush. On her latest show, Scoop, which was produced by Netflix, she took on the lead role as a crime reporter and received widespread acclaim. Many called it her career-best performance. Scoop is an adaptation of former crime reporter Jigna Vora’s book, Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison. Critics praised her nuanced performance as a strong but layered protagonist, affirming that she's more than just a pretty face—she's a talented actor with the guts to take on challenging roles. The show and Karishma have also been nominated for the Asia Contents Awards & Global OTT Awards 2023.

During our candid chat, Karishma reveals that she relates to Jigna Vora a lot. “I believe she was extremely passionate about her work. She wanted to showcase that she stands out from the crowd, and I am the same. I wanted to prove myself as an actor,” she says. She believes that the people in showbiz have known her for a long time now, but not so much as an actor. It was director Hansal Mehta who gave her that opportunity.

Ask Karishma if life and fame has changed her post the success of Scoop, and you’ll see in her responses how her humility sustains. “Karishma Tanna as an actor has been the same, and so has my process. As an actor, we feel good about getting the audience's appreciation. But I come from a simple family, so stardom doesn’t go to my head. I just feel grateful to God, I still have the hunger to do a lot of things in my career.”

 Karishma looks stunning dressed in an Ambika Lal Lavender Co-ord Set featuring sequins with satin lining; a pair of chandelier earrings by Joolry; Carrera sunglasses; and an Anne Klein bracelet watch accented with amethyst gemstone and mother-of-pearl charms. 

The self-confessed diva believes that her prep work for a role depends on the character and she seesaws between being a method actor and going with the flow accordingly.

Away from the world of entertainment business, Karishma considers herself a global citizen. Her love for travel is evident on her social media feeds, where she journals her adventures around the world. From picturesque beaches to bustling cities, she's seen and experienced it all; so far, Europe has been her favourite destination. “I love the vibe there. It's scenic, I relate to it a lot, and love the cafes there. We [she and her husband] did a 25-day trip to Europe and covered destinations such as Saint-Tropez and Puerto Banús.” She does confess that it is her husband, real estate businessman Varun Bangera, who is in charge of their vacation planning.


Karishma proudly wears the label of an alpha woman. She embodies confidence, independence, and fearlessness in everything she does. Whether it's her career choices, her travels, or her outlook on life—she leads with unwavering determination and grace. A tomboy-turned-diva, Karishma—since early childhood—was determined that she wanted to achieve big things, and show people what a woman is capable of. Her focus was to create a better life for her parents and so she did. It wasn’t easy in the beginning and she struggled in the initial years of her career, but the actor feels that her hard work is finally paying off.


“The alpha woman comes from that. [Growing up] I felt that I have to take on my family’s and my responsibility. I felt that maybe God has given me an opportunity to take care of them. I had automatically become an alpha [growing up],” she says. Karishma Tanna is a force to reckon with. She continues to break barriers and explore new horizons in her career, leaving us eagerly anticipating her next move—one of which may be an animal shelter, she hints. As she gracefully navigates the spotlight, Karishma reminds us that in the world of entertainment, a little laughter, a bit of adventure, and a whole lot of guts are what it takes to be successful.

Creative Consultant: Mitrajit Bhattacharya
Photographer: Kunal Gupta
Watch Partner: Anne Klein
Eyewear Partner: Carrera 
BTS Video: Gaurav Talekar
Video Edit: Media Edge
Stylist: Leepakshi Ellawadi
Makeup: Shefali Sharma
Hair Stylist: Shefali Koley
Location: Nomi, Andheri