Riya Sen is yesteryear?s actress? Moon Moon Sen?s daughter, Suchitra Sen?s granddaughter and current actress Raima Sen?s sister. Her father, Bharat Dev Varma is a member of the Royal Family of Tripura. Ila Devi of Coochbehar, whose younger sister is Gayatri Devi, is Riya?s grandmother. Both sister?s use their maternal grandmother, Suchitra Sen?s surname. Riya is a student of Loreto House and Rani Birla College and she also did a stint at the National Institute of Fashion Technology. She designs most of her clothes in commercials and films.
Riya was first noticed as the delicate beauty in Falguni Pathak?s video, Yaad Piya Ki Aane Lagi, though she made her film debut in Vishkanaya in 1991. She has appeared in many other music videos like Shaan?s Sutta Maro and Sonu Nigam?s Jeena Hai Tere Liye.
While Riya does not have a good film career to boast of, she has established herself as a sex symbol. She wore a bikini in Shaadi No.1; she also kissed her co-stars Sharman Joshi and Ashmit Patel in Style and Silsilay respectively. She has appeared on magazine covers such as Savvy, Femina, Cosmopolitan and Elle and walked the ramp with her sis Raima at the Wills and Lakme Fashion Weeks from 2005 to 2007. Jhankaar Beats and Shaadi No. 1 are the only notable hits of her career. Riya is often compared to her mother Moon Moon Sen because of her sex symbol status.
Riya Sen first appeared as a child artiste in the film Vishkanya, where she played the role of the young Pooja Bedi. At the age of 15 she was cast in a major role in Bharathiraaja's Tamil film Tajmahal. Her Bollywood film debut was supposed to have been in Love You Hamesha, opposite Akshaye Khanna, but the film was stalled and she ultimately made her debut in N. Chandra's low-budget comedy Style.
Though Style met with success at the box office, most of her other films have not done as well. An exception was Jhankaar Beats, another comedy in which she co-starred with Shayan Munshi, Juhi Chawla, Rahul Bose, Rinke Khanna and Sanjay Suri. Most of her appearances have been item numbers and cameos. Her few leading roles have been in low-budget films
Riya has also appeared in Bengali,Tamil, Telegu, Malayalam and even English films. She was slated to appear in Anjan Dutta's The Bong Connection, with her sister, but was eventually dropped from the project. She was replaced by Peeya Rai Chaudhary. It would have been the second time the two sisters acted together, after director Ajai Sinha's The Bachelor. She has also appeared in a Bangladeshi film, titled Money Porey Tomakey. Her most notable South Indian film to date has been director Santhosh Sivan's Ananthabhadram, which was also the director's first Malayalam venture.
Riya became a popular model when she appeared in numerous music videos for songs by popular singers, including Asha Bhonsle, Falguni Pathak, Jagjit Singh and Sonu Nigam. She was one of many Bollywood stars who appeared in Haath Se Haath Mila an anti-HIV/AIDS music video.
She is also an advertising model. A notable point of her modeling career was when she replaced Lisa Ray as the Lakm? Girl. She herself has since been replaced by Yana Gupta. Her other notable assignments include Colgate, Limca, Vatika, Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate, and Margarita King.
Riya has appeared on the cover of a number of magazines. In 2004, she was featured partially nude in Indian photographer Dabboo Ratnani's annual calendar, which is a major happening in the Indian glamor industry. In Daboo's words, "Her mother saw it much later, after the calendar released. She thought it was too sexy, and Riya shouldn?t have done it. But the response to the photograph was superb. Riya was so thrilled that for her next ad campaign, she asked me to light her up like I did in this." She is the only female face to be featured on the calendar on four consecutive years (2004-2007).