Amala Paul at 60th South Filmfare Award Ceremony
|Years active||2009 – present|
|Spouse(s)||A. L. Vijay (m. 2014)|
Amala Paul is an Indian film actress, who works in the South Indian film industries. After appearing in supporting roles in the Malayalam film Neelathamara and Veerasekaran in Tamil, she received critical acclaim for the portrayal of a controversial character in the film, Sindhu Samaveli. Despite the failure of that film, Amala became noted after playing the title role in Mynaa, receiving critical acclaim for her work.
Amala, after finishing her Higher Secondary education, took a year out before joining college.She later joined St Teresa's college, to pursue a BA Degree in Communicative English. At the time, her modelling portfolio was spotted by noted Malayalam director Lal Jose who offered her a supporting role in his remake, Neelathamara (2009). Despite emerging a success, the film failed to attract any further offers, as she had anticipated. She pursued roles in Tamil films and went on to sign the low-budget comedy film Vikadakavi which was delayed and ultimately became her sixth release, while also signing on to play the lead role in another small budget film Veerasekaran (2010). The film, which became her maiden Tamil release, was panned by critics and went completely unnoticed, while Amala's role was being labelled as 'minimal', and she later cited that she regretted doing the film and many of her scenes were edited out. Amala Paul then went on to work in Samy's controversial Sindhu Samaveli (2010), portraying the role of Sundari, who has an illicit relationship with her father-in-law. The director of the film had previously drawn criticism for his depictions of illicit romances as well as for assaulting his previous lead actress in a film, but Amala played down the issue citing that she had no problem with the director. She was approached after the major portions of her next release, Mynaa were ready and signed on before listening to the entirety of the story, claiming that she was shocked but not upset with the controversial scenes which she heard later. Upon release, the film met with contrasting reviews, whilst some critics refused to give the film a rating, declaring their disgust at the film's plot. Amala's performance won her critical acclaim. However her success was marred with extreme reactions from the public, with Amala claiming she received death threats from anonymous callers and was publicly scolded by women at a cinema hall in Chennai.
Amala's next release, the romantic drama film Mynaa (2010) by Prabhu Solomon, made her a recognised actress in the industry. The film had garnered much anticipation prior to release, with noted distributors Udhayanidhi Stalin and Kalpathi S. Aghoram purchasing the rights of the film after being impressed with it. Amala played the village belle Mynaa, attaining unanimous praise from critics for her portrayal; a critic labelled her work as "outstanding" and that she put in a "riveting performance", while other reviews claimed she had "immense talent" and scores in "every instance" in the title role. The film, which also saw her gain recognition from noted actors Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth, subsequently became a large commercial success at the box-office. Amala Paul gained recognition from several award committees and notably secured the Vijay Award for Best Debut Actress, while also gaining nominations in the Best Actress category at the Filmfare Awards and the Vijay Awards.
Following the success of Mynaa, Amala became touted as the "new star of 2011" as she subsequently signed on to several prominent projects. Her first release of 2011 was in a supporting role in the Malayalam drama film, Ithu Nammude Katha, a remake of the successful Tamil film Naadodigal and the second was meant to be her launch in Tamil films, the coming-to-age tale of five friends Vikadakavi with the film opening to limited screens. Both films opened to limited screens due to the moderate budget of the projects, with her performance in the latter being described as "full of potential". She went on to sign three big budget films with established production houses, with the drama Deiva Thirumagal directed by Vijay, featuring her opposite Vikram and alongside Anushka, becoming her next release. Her portrayal of school correspondent Shwetha Rajendran won critical acclaim with a reviewer citing that her "expressive eyes help her leave a mark in a small but important role" whilst another critic claimed she "acquits herself well". Her final release of 2011 was Ram Gopal Varma's Bejawada which marked her début in Telugu language films. The film saw her portray college girl, Geetanjali, and featured her opposite Naga Chaitanya, but the film opened to negative reviews and became a surprise box office failure.
Amala Paul's first release of 2012 was in Linguswamy's multi-starring action entertainer, Vettai, alongside Arya, Madhavan and Sameera Reddy. The film opened to critical and commercial acclaim with The New York Times claiming the film "entertains without breaking any new ground, though it can also surprise". Amala Paul won mixed feedback for her performance; while the critic from Sify mentioned she "is lovely to look at and her feisty performance proves that a star is born", Pavithra Srinivasan of Rediff cited she "struts, pouts and hams to the hilt". The actress had three films released on the Valentine's Day weekend of 2012, with Balaji Mohan's bilingual Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi and Love Failure becoming critical and commercial successes. The film, made in Tamil and Telugu, featured her alongside Siddharth and portrayed as her college girl, Parvathi, showing her romantic skills. About the Tamil version, a reviewer from The Hindu wrote: "Amala Paul, after coming across as convincing in her last few movies, looks finally set as a leading lady", while another critic labelled that she "comes across as natural" and "it is a pleasure to see her in a role and costumes that suit her age as compared to her recent movies". Rediff.com called the Telugu version of the film "refreshing", highlighting that the lead pair's on-screen chemistry "sparkles". The romantic thriller Muppozhudhum Un Karpanaigal opposite Adharvaa, also released on the same day in which she played Charulatha, a modern girl based in Bangalore. The film won mixed reviews, though the lead pair's on-screen chemistry was praised by critics, while another reviewer noted that "Amala renders an effortless act". She played a notable role in renowned director Dr. Biju's Aakashathinte Niram, which was her first art-house film. The film was screened at the competition section for the Golden Goblet Award in the 15th Shanghai International Film Festival. She paired with veteran Malayalam actor Mohanlal in the film Run Babby Run in which she played the role of a senior news channel editor. The film was a big commercial success and her performance as well as her chemistry with Mohanlal were highly appreciated.
In 2013, Amala Paul achieved her first commercial success in Telugu cinema. Her first release in 2013, V. V. Vinayak's directorial Naayak, opposite Ram Charan Teja, went on to be one of the biggest critical as well as commercial success of the year. Her next film was Puri Jagannadh's romantic comedy Iddarammayilatho opposite Allu Arjun. Upon release, Amala's performance was appreciated by the critics. Sangeetha Devi Dundroo of The Hindu commented "Amala Paul manages to pull off a character that traverses a thin line between being naïve and downright silly. We wish we saw more of her." Another reviewer, Sasidhar AS from The Times of India commented "Amala Paul's characterisation is a delight, and she plays Komali so effectively that you'll be left wondering who else could have done the role better than her. She was a perfect choice to play a traditional Telugu girl." She was later seen in A. L. Vijay's action entertainer,Thalaivaa opposite Vijay, as a police officer. Her most recent release was Samuthirakani's Nimirndhu Nil opposite Jayam Ravi, which was simultaneously shot in Telugu as Janda Pai Kapiraju, in which Nani reprised the role of Jayam Ravi.
Amala was born in a Syro-Malabar Catholic Nasrani family in Ernakulam, Kerala to Paul Varghese and Annice Paul. After completing her schooling from GOVT.Girls HSS Aluva, she took a sabbatical to begin a career in films, but has since joined St. Teresa's College in Kochi, to pursue a BA degree in English. Her father had been strictly against Amala pursuing an acting career, but was forced to accept her decision with her older brother, Abijith, strongly backing her ambition. She later claimed she had performing arts in her, revealing that her mother was a singer and her dad was into theatre in college. Amala had changed her on-screen name to Anakha, on director Samy's insistence, who cited that another actress, Amala had already made her name popular. However, after the failure of Sindhu Samaveli, she reverted to her birth name since she felt that the replacement had brought her bad luck.
As early as 2011, when Amala was working on Deiva Thirumagal, she was romantically linked to director A. L. Vijay but denied that the pair were dating. The pair subsequently fell in love and announced in early 2014. that they were set to get married in mid 2014. On June 7, 2014 she got engaged to Vijay at Aluva in Kochi. The couple got married on June 12 at Mayor Ramanathan Chettiar Hall, Chennai, as per Hindu religious beliefs.
|2011||Amrita-FEFKA Film Awards||Best Actress in Tamil||Mynaa||Won|
|Edison Awards||Best New Face||Won|
|Filmfare Awards South||Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Tamil||Nominated|
|MGR-Sivaji Awards||Best New Actress||Won|
|Vijay Awards||Best Actress||Nominated|
|2012||Jaya Awards||Youth Female Icon of the Year||Deiva Thirumagal||Won|
|Filmfare Awards South||Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress – Tamil||Nominated|
|2012||1st South Indian International Movie Awards||Rising Female star of South Indian cinema||Won|
|2013||Asiavision Awards||Best Actress||Run Babby Run||Nominated|
|2nd South Indian International Movie Awards||Best Actress – Malayalam||Won|
|Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi||Nominated|
|Filmfare Awards South||Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Tamil||Nominated|
|2013||Vijay Awards||Favourite Heroine||Thalaiva||Nominated|
|2014||Vanitha Film Awards||Most Popular Actress||Oru Indian Pranayakatha||Won|
|Asianet Film Awards||Best Actress||Oru Indian Pranayakatha||Won|
|3rd South Indian International Movie Awards||Best Actress – Malayalam||Oru Indian Pranayakatha||Won|
|Asiavision Awards||Best Actress||Oru Indian Pranayakatha||Nominated|
|Amrita Film Awards||Best Actor (Female)||Oru Indian Pranayakatha||Won|
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