|Real Name:||Nayanthara Vignesh|
|Profession:||Indian actress and film producer|
|Birthplace:||Elanthoor, Pathanamthitta, India|
Nayanthara (born Diana Mariam Kurian; 18 November 1984) is an Indian actress and film producer who is known for her work in South Indian Cinema. She was the only female actor from south India to have made it into the Forbes India “Celebrity 100”, 2018 list, with her total annual earning credited at ₹15.17 crore. She is popularly addressed as Thalaivi and the Lady Superstar of Indian cinema. Having starred in more than 75 films spanning two decades, Nayanthara is the highest-paid actress in South Indian cinema and is overall one of India’s highest-paid actresses.
She made her acting debut in the 2003 Malayalam film Manassinakkare with Jayaram. She made her debut in Tamil cinema with Ayya (2005) and Telugu with Lakshmi (2006). Both were successful. After this, she had numerous commercially successful Tamil, Malayalam, and Telugu films like Chandramukhi (2005), Rappakal (2005), Ghajini (2005), Dubai Seenu (2007), Tulasi (2007), Billa (2007), Yaaradi Nee Mohini (2008), Adhurs (2010), Bodyguard (2010), Simha (2010), Boss Engira Bhaskaran (2010), Sri Rama Rajyam (2011), Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum (2012), Raja Rani (2013), Arrambam (2013), Bhaskar the Rascal (2015), Thani Oruvan (2015), Maya (2015), Naanum Rowdy Dhaan (2015), Babu Bangaram (2016), Iru Mugan (2016), Velaikkaran (2017), Kolamavu Kokila (2018), Imaikkaa Nodigal (2018), Viswasam (2019), Love Action Drama (2019), Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy (2019) and Bigil (2019).
In 2010, she also made her Kannada film debut through the film Super and Upendra, her only appearance in a Kannada film to date. Her portrayal of Goddess Sita in Sri Rama Rajyam (2011) earned her the Filmfare Award for Best Telugu Actress and the Nandi Award for Best Actress. She won the Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Actress for her performance in Raja Rani (2013), Naanum Rowdy Dhaan (2015), and Aramm (2017). In 2017, she was awarded the Filmfare Award for Best Malayalam Actress for her performance in Puthiya Niyamam (2016), marking her first Filmfare Award in Malayalam cinema.
Table of Contents
Early life (Nayanthara Biography)
Nayanthara was born as Diana Mariam Kurian in Bangalore, Karnataka, India to Elanthoor Marthoma Pazhaya Palli’s parents Kurian Kodiyattu and Omana Kurian who hail from the aristocratic Kodiyattu family from Thiruvalla, Kerala. Her elder brother, Leno, lives in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. As her father was an Indian Air Force official, Nayanthara studied in various parts of India, mainly in North India. She did her schooling in Jamnagar, Gujarat, and Delhi. In Thiruvalla, she studied at Balikamadom Girls Higher Secondary School and then attended Marthoma College, Thiruvalla for her bachelor’s degree in English Literature.
Career (Nayanthara Biography)
Debut in Malayalam cinema (2003–2004)
While studying at college, Nayanthara worked part-time as a model. She was spotted by director Sathyan Anthikkad, who had seen some of her modeling assignments and approached her to play a pivotal role in his film Manassinakkare (2003). Although she turned down the offer initially, as she was not interested in films, she gave in eventually and agreed to do “just that one film”. Manassinakkare went on to become a high financial success and she continued to receive acting offers. Both her releases in 2004, Natturajavu by Shaji Kailas, and Fazil’s psychological thriller Vismayathumbathu, saw her co-starring alongside Mohanlal; while she played the protagonist’s adopted sister in the former, she portrayed a ghost in the latter. Her performance in Vismayathumbathu, in particular, was lauded, with critics claiming that she had “stolen the thunder with her author-backed role”, and was “the revelation of the film”.
Early work in Tamil and Telugu cinema (2005–2007)
Nayanthara subsequently started appearing in Tamil and Telugu films. In 2005, she was cast in Hari’s Ayya, debuting in the Tamil film industry as the lead heroine of the movie. Behindwoods.com stated that she had made a “sensational debut in Tamil”, while a reviewer from Nowrunning.com said that her “presence with her beautiful smile is crowd winning”. While still shooting for Ayya, she was selected for the comedy horror film Chandramukhi, after its director P. Vasu’s wife had seen Manassinakkare and recommended her. The film ran for over 800 days in theatres, eventually turning Nayanthara into one of the most sought-after actresses in Tamil. She also acted in Malayalam, Thaskara Veeran and Rappakal. Later that year she appeared in AR Murugadoss’ Ghajini, in which she played a secondary female character. Nayanthara then accepted to appear in an item number as herself in the Perarasu-directed masala film Sivakasi.
Nayanthara’s first release in 2006 was Kalvanin Kadhali. Indiaglitz.com stated her performance was the “strength of the film”. She next made her debut in Telugu, starring in the film Lakshmi, following which she performed in Boss, I Love You. Three Tamil films in which she enacted the lead female character Vallavan, Thalaimagan, and E – were released simultaneously during Deepavali 2006. All three films opened to mixed reviews. In Vallavan, she portrayed a lecturer who falls in love with a student younger than her. Sify wrote: “Nayanthara virtually walks away with the film and has never looked so beautiful. She looks gorgeous, especially in songs, and does justice to her well-etched-out role”. The science fiction thriller E featured Nayanthara in the role of a bar dancer. Reviewers from Rediff stated that she made an impact. Indiaglitz said she was “very adequate and impressive in a slightly complicated role”, and that she had “come up with a good performance”. In Thalaimagan, she played a news reporter, with critics agreeing that she did not have much to do in the film.
Public recognition and widespread success (2007–2011)
Nayanthara regained her star billing in Kollywood by acting in the Vishnuvardhan-directed gangster film Billa (2007). A remake of the same-titled 1980 Tamil film, it went on to become a success at the box office, while Nayanthara received many accolades for her performance as Sasha in her new glamour look. Sify heaped praise on her, describing her as a “show stopper”. The reviewer further wrote: “Nayanthara has gone full throttle to look her sexiest best […] She has a beautiful body which she flaunts daringly […] and is also able to bring out the cold aloofness and bitterness of her character. Similarly, a critic from Nowrunning.com noted that she looked “great in mini-skirts, jacket, dark glasses, and tall boots”.
In 2008 she had five releases, four of which were in Tamil. Her first release was the family entertainer Yaaradi Nee Mohini. Behindwoods.com wrote: “Nayan dispels her bombshell act and proves that she can more than just that. She breaks into tears when needed, shows vicious contempt when rubbed the wrong way in the name of love, and looks endearing in songs”. Nowrunning.com stated that she “exhibits her acting skills in full measure [and] gives a moving performance in emotional scenes”, while Sify’s critic wrote that she looked “sensational and has done a great job in perhaps the meatiest role she has done so far”. She won the Vijay Award for Favourite Heroine for the second consecutive year and was nominated for the Best Actress prize at the 56th Filmfare Awards South.
Her subsequent appearances were in Kuselan, Satyam, and Aegan in 2008. In 2009 she appeared in Villu and Aadhavan.
Comeback and stardom (2012–present)
Choosing to make a comeback, Nayanthara began shooting for Krish’s Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum (2012) after an eleven-month sabbatical. She portrayed the role of a journalist and her performance was praised, with a reviewer from Sify stating that “Nayanthara does not play the normal commercial glam-doll for a change and she is good” and “her chemistry with Rana is perfect”. The following year, she won critical acclaim for her performance in Atlee’s romantic drama Raja Rani (2013), winning both the Filmfare and Vijay Awards for Best Actress. Playing the role of a wife in an unhappy marriage, a critic from Sify.com noted, “Nayanthara gets a well-written role and she couldn’t ask for a better character than Regina for her return after a three-year hiatus… she looks good, throws herself into the role, approaches her part with restraint and minimalist fuss, and turns in a sincere performance.” Sify.com also said her role was “unquestionably the film’s biggest strength”. Likewise, another reviewer from Behindwoods.com stated the role was “Nayanthara’s career best performance till date” and it was a “great comeback by the actress with a role which gave her ample scope”.
Her next release, Vishnuvardhan’s Arrambam (2013), featuring Ajith Kumar in the lead, also won acclaim with a reviewer from Rediff stating that “Nayanthara looks gorgeous and does full justice to her character”, while Behindwoods critic stated that “Nayanthara puts out a fiery face when required and also showcase her oomph and style in many scenes, adding “this superstar continues to shine”.
Nayanthara’s rising popularity as an actress led to her being cast in female-centric films, a genre considered a rarity in South Indian cinema. Sekhar Kammula cast her in the titular role of his bilingual Anaamika (2014), a remake of the Hindi film Kahaani (2012), in which Nayanthara portrayed an IT professional who moves to Hyderabad to look for her missing husband. Sify.com labeled her performance in the film “a one-woman show by her in a difficult role… she nails the character perfectly, whether in the initial scenes showing her anguish or in the stunning climax, where she takes a brave decision”. In contrast, Rediff.com stated that her “performance is lackluster in the first half”.
Personal life (Nayanthara Biography)
She was brought up as a Christian. On 7 August 2011, she embraced Hinduism at the Arya Samaj Temple in Chennai. She has gone through Shuddhi Karma, a ritual involving a Vedic purification, and a Homam where she chanted the hymns from the Veda and the Gayatri Mantra under the guidance of the priest. After the purification ceremony, a certificate of conversion to Hinduism was issued to her, and her stage name, Nayanthara, became her official name. She is a polydactyl, with a rudimentary finger on her left hand.
Nayanthara and director Vignesh Shivan have been in a relationship ever since they worked together on Naanum Rowdy Dhaan in 2015. The couple got married on 9 June 2022 in Mahabalipuram.
In 2021, Nayanthara and Vignesh Shivan launched their film production venture Rowdy Pictures, which produced the films Koozhangal, Netrikann, and Kaathu Vaakula Rendu Kaadhal. In the same year, Nayanthara and renowned dermatologist Dr. Renita Rajan launched The Lip Balm Company. She is also popular for philanthropic activities.
International Indian Film Academy Awards
|2016||Naanum Rowdy Dhaan||Nominated|
|2010||Contribution to Tamil Cinema||Kalaimamani||Won|
Ananda Vikatan Awards
|2015||Naanum Rowdy Dhaan||Best Actress||Won|
Tamil Nadu State Film Awards
|2013||Raja Rani||Best Actress||Won|
Filmfare Awards South (Nayanthara Biography)
|2008||Yaaradi Nee Mohini||Tamil||Nominated|
|2010||Boss Engira Bhaskaran||Nominated|
|2011||Sri Rama Rajyam||Telugu||Won|
|2012||Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum||Nominated|
|2015||Naanum Rowdy Dhaan||Won|