Nayantara

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This article is about the Indian film actress. For the Indian writer, see Nayantara Sahgal.
Nayantara
Nayantara at South Indian International Movie Awards 2013.jpg
Nayanthara at SIIMA function in January 2014
Born Diana Mariam Kurian
(1985-11-18) 18 November 1985 (age 28)[1][2]
Bangalore, Karnataka, India[3][4]
Nationality Indian
Other names Nayanthara, Nayan
Occupation Actress, model
Years active 2003–present
Height 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)

Nayantara (born 18 November 1984 as Diana Mariam Kurian)[5] is an Indian film actress, who appears in South Indian films. She made her acting debut in the 2003 Malayalam film Manassinakkare and followed with Vismayathumbathu (2004) before foraying into Tamil and Telugu cinema.

She made her debut in Tamil cinema in 2005 with Ayya and a year later in Telugu with Lakshmi, after which she was the female lead in numerous commercially successful Tamil and Telugu films, making herself as one of the most sought after actresses in Tamil and Telugu cinema.[6] In 2010, she also made her Kannada film debut through the film Super. Her portrayal of Sita in Sri Rama Rajyam (2011) earned her Filmfare Award for Best Telugu Actress and Nandi Award for Best Actress.

Early life[edit]

Nayantara was born in Bangalore, Karnataka [3] to Malayali Syrian Christian parents Kurian Kodiyattu and Omana Kurian.[7][8] Her brother, Leno, who is nine years elder to her, lives in Dubai.[9] As her father was an Indian Air Force official, she studied in various parts of India, mainly in North India.[9] She did her schooling in Chennai, Jamnagar, Gujarat and Delhi. Following his retirement, they settled in Kerala, where she continued her college studies, at the Kendriya Vidyalaya schools in Kerala. In Tiruvalla, she studied at Balikamadom Girls Higher Secondary School and then attended Marthoma College for her bachelor's degree in English Literature.[10]

Career[edit]

Debut in Malayalam cinema (2003–04)[edit]

While studying at college, Nayantara was working as a part-time model. She was spotted by director Sathyan Anthikkad, who had seen some of her modelling assignments and approached her to play a pivotal role opposite Jayaram in his film Manassinakkare (2003).[11] 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 movie".[11] Manassinakkare went on to become a high financial success and she continued to receive acting offers. Her both 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.[12] Her performance in Vismayathumbathu, in particular, was lauded, with critics claiming that she had "stolen the thunder with her author-backed role",[13] and was "the revelation of the film".[14] She also acted opposite Mammootty in Thaskara Veeran and Rappakal.

Work in Tamil and Telugu cinema (2005–09)[edit]

She subsequently started appearing in Tamil and Telugu films. In 2005, she was cast opposite Sarath Kumar in Hari's Ayya, debuting in the Tamil film industry. The family drama film opened to positive critical response, fetching Nayantara positive feedback as well. Behindwoods.com claimed that she had made a "sensational debut in Tamil",[15] while a reviewer from Nowrunning.com said that her "presence with her beautiful smile is crowd winning".[16] While still shooting for Ayya, she was selected to portray the love interest of Rajinikanth in the comedy horror film Chandramukhi,[17] after its director P. Vasu's wife had seen Manassinakkare and recommended her.[18] The film became one of the most successful Tamil films in history, running for over 800 days in theatres,[19] eventually turning Nayantara into one of the most-sought after actresses in Tamil.[6] Later that year her third Tamil film, A. R. Murugadoss' Ghajini, in which she played a secondary female character, again was a commercially highly successful venture. However, she later told that appearing in Ghajini was a big mistake and the "worst decision" she ever took.[6] Nayantara then accepted to appear in an item number as herself in the Perarasu-directed masala film Sivakasi starring Vijay.[20]

Her first release in 2006 was Kalvanin Kadhali. Indiaglitz.com termed her performance as the "strength of the movie".[21] She next made her debut in Telugu, starring in the film Lakshmi, following which she performed in Boss, I Love You, alongside Venkatesh and Nagarjuna respectively. Three Tamil films in which she enacted the lead female characters – Vallavan, Thalaimagan and E – were released simultaneously during Diwali 2006.[22] All three films opened to mixed reviews;[23][24] Nayantara mostly won praise for her performances. 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".[25] The science fiction thriller E featured Nayantara in the role of a bar dancer. Reviewers claimed that she made an impact,[26] was "very adequate and impressive in a slightly complicated role",[27] and that she had "come up with a good performance".[24] In Thalaimagan, she played a news reporter, with critics agreeing that she did not have much to do in the film.[28][29] She regained her star billing in Kollywood acting opposite Ajith Kumar in the Vishnuvardhan-directed gangster film Billa (2007). A remake of the same-titled 1980 Tamil film, it went on to become a blockbuster success at the box office,[30] while Nayantara received many accolades for her performance as Sasha in her new glamour look.[31] Sify heaped praise on her, describing her as a "show stopper". The reviewer further wrote: "Nayanthara has [...] go[ne] 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.[32] Similarly a critic from Nowrunning.com noted that she looked "great in mini skirts, jacket, dark glasses and tall boots".[33]

In 2008 she had five releases, four of which were in Tamil. Her first release, the family entertainer Yaaradi Nee Mohini was critically acclaimed and one of the highest grossing Tamil films of the year. Nayantara's portrayal of Keerthi was appreciated by critics. 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 cited that she "exhibits her acting skills in full measure [and] gives a moving performance in emotional scenes",[34] 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".[35] She won the Vijay Award for Favourite Heroine for second consecutive year,[36] as well as a nomination for the Best Actress prize at the 56th Filmfare Awards South. Her subsequent releases, however, Kuselan opposite Rajnikanth, Sathyam opposite Vishal and Villu opposite Vijay, were all unsuccessful, while Aegan became an average grosser. Her only successful release in 2009 was Aadhavan with Suriya which released in October of that year.

Successive successes and awards (2010-2011)[edit]

In 2010, all her releases, which featured her as the female lead, turned out to be commercial successes. She delivered five super hit films in the four Southern languages – Bodyguard (Malayalam), Adurs and Simha (Telugu), Boss Engira Bhaskaran (Tamil) and Super (Kannada).[37][38] She won the Asianet Award for Best Actress for her performance in Bodyguard. The latter three, in particular, were exceptionally successful, with Simha becoming one of the highest-grossing Telugu films of the year and Boss Engira Bhaskaran releasing to highly positive reviews, and becoming a blockbuster.[39][40][41] Upendra's Super, which marked her debut into the Kannada film industry opened to rave reviews, while her performance was also praised by critics.[42][43] Her performances in Simha, Boss Engira Bhaskaran and Super eventually fetched her nominations for the Filmfare Best Actress Award in the respective languages.[44][45][46] She also starred in Shyamaprasad's critically acclaimed Malayalam film Elektra. Her performance was well appreciated by critics when it was screened at the International Film Festival of India.[47] The film was also screened at the Dubai International Film Festival.[48]

Her only release in 2011 was the mythological film Sri Rama Rajyam by Bapu, in which she played the role of Sita. She received critical acclaim for her performance in the film with Rediff.com noting that "Nayanthara is the surprise package of the film. As Sita, she too has played the role of her lifetime. She gave a fine understated performance conveying a kaleidoscope of emotions",[49] while Sify commented "Nayanthara gave a fitting answer to all, unleashing grace and accomplishing the assignment with absolute perfection."[50] Subsequently, she was awarded the Nandi Award for Best Actress and the Filmfare Award for Best Telugu Actress.[51] The film was dubbed in the media as her swan song and considered to be her last release before her marriage as she was reported to quit acting thereafter.[52]

Comeback in 2012 and upcoming projects[edit]

However, after her break-up with Prabhu Deva, she made a comeback; she began shooting for Krish's Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum with Rana Daggubati in March 2012, after an 11-months sabbatical.[53] She portrayed the role of a journalist in this movie and her performance was also praised, with a reviewer from Sify citing that "Nayanthara does not play the normal commercial glam-doll for a change and she is good. As a reporter, she looks good and her chemistry with Rana is perfect".[54] Her first release in 2013 was Greeku Veerudu alongside Akkineni Nagarjuna. Her performance was also praised, with a reviewer from Sify citing that "Nayanthara looks beautiful in trendy costumes as well as in designer sarees. Her chemistry with Nagarjuna is equally nice and perfect. After a long Nagarjuna found his best pair".[citation needed] Her next film, Raja Rani opposite Arya was her first Tamil release after three years that had her in a lead role, which was followed by Vishnuvardhan's Arrambam opposite Ajith Kumar. Both films became very successful.[55]

In 2014, she was first seen in Idhu Kathirvelan Kadhal opposite Udhayanidhi Stalin which was directed by S. R. Prabhakaran. Her next release was the bilingual thriller Anamika (Telugu)/Nee Enge En Anbe (Tamil) directed by Shekhar Kammula. She has three more projects, directed by B. Gopal,[56] Pandiraj [57] and M. Raja, coming up,[58] all of them are yet untitled.

Personal life[edit]

Relationships[edit]

While shooting for her Tamil film Vallavan, she was romantically linked with the film's director and co-actor Silambarasan Rajendar.[59] She initially denied the reports.[6] In November 2006, however, she confirmed that she and Silambarasan had broken up, going on to add that she will not work with him again.[60] During the making, in 2008, and after the release of her film Villu, reports suggested that she was in a relationship with its director Prabhu Deva, with some sources even claiming that both had married secretly in June 2009.[61] She had tattooed his name on her wrist,[61] and began appearing with him in public, while keeping silence and refusing to comment about the issue, neither denying nor confirming the relationship.[62][63] In September 2010 then, Prabhu Deva openly confessed his love for Nayantara and further stated that he would marry her soon.[63] The issue soon gained media attention and turned into a controversy, since Prabhu Deva was already married and not divorced yet. His wife Ramalath, unwilling to agree for a divorce, filed a petition at the family court, sought directions against her husband and Nayantara from marrying, attending functions together and receiving awards as husband and wife and requested a reunion with him.[64][65] Furthermore, Ramalath threatened to go on hunger strike, if Prabhu Deva married Nayantara,[65][66] while several women's organizations also conducted protests against Nayantara for "bringing disrepute to Tamil culture", burning an effigy of her.[65][67][68] In 2012, Nayantara confirmed that she had ended her relationship with Prabhu Deva.[69]

Beliefs[edit]

On 7 August 2011, she converted to Hinduism at the Arya Samaj Temple in Chennai. She went through Shuddhi Karma, a procedure involving a Vedic purification and a Homam where Nayan chanted the hymns from Veda and 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, Nayantara, became her official name.[5] She also visited a number of Holy places including Haridwar and Rishikesh in May 2014. She was dressed in Saffron clothes and wore Rudrakshas during her visit.[70]

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Language Notes
2003 Manassinakkare Gauri Malayalam Asianet Award for Best Female New Face of the Year
2004 Vismayathumbathu Reetha Mathews Malayalam
2004 Natturajavu Katrina Malayalam
2005 Ayya Selvi Madasamy Tamil
2005 Chandramukhi Durga Tamil
2005 Thaskara Veeran Thankamani Malayalam
2005 Rappakal Gauri Malayalam
2005 Ghajini Chitra Tamil
2005 Sivakasi Herself Tamil Special appearance in the song "Kodambakkam Area"
2006 Kalvanin Kadhali Haritha Tamil
2006 Lakshmi Nandhini Telugu
2006 Boss, I Love You Anuradha Telugu
2006 Vallavan Swapna Tamil
2006 Thalaimagan Meghala Tamil
2006 E Jyothi Tamil
2007 Yogi Nandini Telugu
2007 Dubai Seenu Madhumathi Telugu
2007 Sivaji: The Boss Tamil Special appearance in song "Balleilakka"
2007 Tulasi Vasundhara Ram Telugu Nominated - Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu
2007 Billa Sasha Tamil Vijay Award for Favourite Heroine
Nominated - Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Tamil
2008 Yaaradi Nee Mohini Keerthi (Komalavalli) Tamil Vijay Award for Favourite Heroine
Nominated - Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Tamil
2008 Kuselan Nayantara Tamil
2008 Kathanayakudu Nayantara Telugu
2008 Sathyam Deivalakshmi Tamil
2008 Aegan Mallika Tamil
2008 Twenty:20 Diana Malayalam Special appearance in the song "He Dil Deewana"
2009 Villu Janavi Tamil
2009 Anjaneyulu Anjali Telugu
2009 Aadhavan Thara Tamil Nominated - Vijay Award for Favourite Heroine
2010 Adurs Chandrakala Telugu
2010 Bodyguard Ammu Ashokan Malayalam Asianet Award for Best Actress[71]
2010 Goa Village girl Tamil Guest appearance
2010 Simha Gayatri Telugu Nominated - Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu
2010 Boss Engira Bhaskaran Chandrika Tamil Nominated - Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Tamil
Nominated - Vijay Award for Favourite Heroine
2010 Elektra Elektra Alexander Malayalam
2010 Super Indira Kannada Nominated - Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Kannada
2011 Sri Rama Rajyam Seetha Telugu Nandi Award for Best Actress
Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu
2012 Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum Devika Telugu Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu
2013 Ethir Neechal White Girl Tamil Special appearance
2013 Greeku Veerudu Sandhya Telugu
2013 Raja Rani Regina Tamil Filmfare Award for Best Actress - Tamil
Vijay Award for Best Actress
Vijay Award for Favourite Heroine
2013 Arrambam Maya Tamil
2014 Idhu Kathirvelan Kadhal Pavithra Tamil
2014 Anaamika Anaamika Telugu
2014 Nee Enge En Anbe Anaamika Tamil
2014 Idhu Namma Aalu Mylaa Tamil Filming
2014 Thani Oruvan Tamil Filming
2014 Nanbenda Divya Tamil Filming
2014 Masss Tamil Filming [72]
2014 Night Show Tamil Pre-production [73][74]

Awards and honours[edit]

Year Category Award Film Result
2003 Asianet Award for Best Female New Face of the Year Asianet Film Awards Manassinakkare Won
2007 Filmfare Award for Best Telugu Actress Filmfare Awards South Tulasi Nominated
Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Actress Filmfare Awards South Billa Nominated
Vijay Award for Favourite Heroine Vijay Awards Won
Sunfeast Isaiaruvi Tamil Music Award for Best Actress[75] Sunfeast Tamil Music Awards Won
2008 Vijay Award for Favourite Heroine Vijay Awards Yaaradi Nee Mohini Won
Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Actress Filmfare Awards South Nominated
2009 Vijay Award for Favourite Heroine Vijay Awards Aadhavan Nominated
2010 Asianet Award for Best Actress[71] Asianet Film Awards Bodyguard Won
Vijay Award for Favourite Heroine Vijay Awards Boss Engira Bhaskaran Nominated
Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Actress Filmfare Awards South Nominated
Filmfare Award for Best Telugu Actress Simha Nominated
Filmfare Award for Best Kannada Actress Super Nominated
2011 Filmfare Award for Best Telugu Actress[76] Filmfare Awards South Sri Rama Rajyam Won
Nandi Award for Best Actress[77] Nandi Awards Won
CineMAA Award for Best Actress (Jury) CineMAA Awards Won
SIIMA Award for Best Actress [78] 1st South Indian International Movie Awards Won
Bharatamuni Film Award for Best Actress[79] Bharatamuni Film Awards Won
Ugadi Puraskar Award for Best Actress[80] Ugadi Puraskar Awards Won
Santhosham South Film Award for Best Actress[81] Santhosham South Film Awards Won
2012 Filmfare Award for Best Telugu Actress Filmfare Awards South Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum Nominated
SIIMA Award for Best Actress (Critics) 2nd South Indian International Movie Awards Won
2013 Edison award for Best Actress Edison Awards (India) Raja Rani Won
Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Actress Filmfare Awards South Won
Vijay Award for Best Actress Vijay Awards Won
Vijay Award for Favourite Heroine Won
SIIMA Award for Best Actress 3rd South Indian International Movie Awards Pending

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External links[edit]