Nayanthara, a leading star in the south-Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam-celebrates her birthday today. In the industry for more than a decade, she has starred in several hits and worked opposite some of the biggest stars from Rajinikanth in Chandramukhi (2004) to Vijay Sethupathi in Naanum Rowdy Dhaan (2015) and Iru Mugan (2016) opposite Vikram, which too was declared a superhit. Not surprising that she is the highest paid female actor down south.
She has played a variety of roles -- mythological, fantasy, romantic comedy and horror genres with aplomb.
Nayanthara’s got the looks and talent to be a star. Yet, movie lovers up north know little about her. With south having given Hindi cinema a plethora of leading ladies-Vyajanthimala, Hema Malini and Sridevi among others-it should only be a matter of time before this southern siren hits the Bollywood screens and sets it on fire.
On her birthday, here’s a look at some of her most memorable performances.
Playing queen Rathna Mahadevi in an epic supernatural comedy thriller, Nayanthara stands out in what was essentially a Karthi film. Her striking persona gives depth to her character.
A horror thriller in Tamil, Maya, again saw Nayanthara in the lead, featuring in a double role. Playing a single mother who is struggling to pay off a loan on the one side, she also dons a supernatural figure called Maya Matthew. The film was a success, becoming one of the highest-grossing Tamil films of 2015.
A Telugu remake of hit Hindi Kahaani starring Bollywood acting heavyweight Vidya Balan, Nayanthara did an admirable job standing up to the original. She plays an IT professional who comes to Hyderabad in search of her missing husband. A moderate success at the box office, the film nonetheless won her a SIIMA nomination. The film was simultaneously made in Tamil as Nee Enge En Anbe, starring her in both the versions.
Raja Rani (2013)
A frothy Tamil romantic comedy, Raja Rani is about a couple who gets into an arranged marriage to make their parents happy, but live in the same apartment as strangers. Both have been in relationships before and what happens to their marriage forms the crux of the story. Nayanthara, needless to say, is effervescent as a young woman of today-strong-willed, independent, loving yet stubborn.
Sri Rama Rajyam (2011)
Nayanthara had no trouble slipping into the role of Sita in the Telugu film Sri Rama Rajyam, incidentally the last film to be made by filmmaker Bapu before he passed away. Playing a dutiful wife to the Lord Rama (played by Telugu superstar Balakrishna), she pulls of a restrained performance, bringing in grace, poise, softness and steely resolve. The film is based on Uttara Ramayanam dealing with Luv and Khush chapters of the Hindu epic.
Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum (2012)
This Telugu action drama directed by Krish features Nayanthara, as a journalist/activist, who is documenting illegal mining in Bellary, Karnataka, run by a ruthless business tycoon played by Milind Gunaji. How her character, along with Rana Daggubati (the other lead), goes about dealing with this social problem is the gist of the story. Here too, Nayanthara pulls off an impressive performance as a woman on a mission.