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This article is about the Indian film actress. For the Indian writer, see Nayantara Sahgal.
Nayantara at South Indian International Movie Awards 2013 (cropped).jpg
Nayantara at the 2013 SIIMA Awards
Born Diana Mariam Kurian
(1984-11-18) 18 November 1984 (age 30)[1][2][3]
Bangalore, Karnataka, India[4][5]
Nationality Indian
Ethnicity Nasrani[6]
Occupation Actress, model
Years active 2003–present
Religion Hindu
Awards Kalaimamani[7]

Nayantara (born 18 November 1984 as Diana Mariam Kurian)[8] is an Indian film actress from Kerala, 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 her one of the most sought after actresses in South Indian cinema.[9] Her portrayal of Sita in Sri Rama Rajyam (2011) earned her the Filmfare Award for Best Telugu Actress and Nandi Award for Best Actress. She also won Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Actress for her performance in Raja Rani (2013).

Early life[edit]

Nayantara was born in Bangalore (Karnataka), India,[4] to Malayali Syrian Christian parents Kurian Kodiyattu and Omana Kurian.[6][10] Her brother, Leno, who is nine years elder to her, lives in Dubai.[11] As her father was an Indian Air Force official, she studied in various parts of India, mainly in North India.[11] She did her schooling in Chennai, Jamnagar, Gujarat and Delhi. Following his retirement, they settled in Rasipuram, where she continued her school studies, at the Lingesa school,Rasipuram schools in Namakkal. In Tiruvalla, she studied at Balikamadom Girls Higher Secondary School and then attended Marthoma College for her bachelor's degree in English Literature.[12]


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).[13] 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".[13] 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.[14] Her performance in Vismayathumbathu, in particular, was lauded, with critics claiming that she had "stolen the thunder with her author-backed role",[15] and was "the revelation of the film".[16] She also acted opposite Mammootty in Thaskara Veeran and Rappakal.

Work in Tamil and Telugu cinema (2005–07)[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. claimed that she had made a "sensational debut in Tamil",[17] while a reviewer from said that her "presence with her beautiful smile is crowd winning".[18] While still shooting for Ayya, she was selected to portray the love interest of Rajinikanth in the comedy horror film Chandramukhi,[19] after its director P. Vasu's wife had seen Manassinakkare and recommended her.[20] The film became one of the most successful Tamil films in history, running for over 800 days in theatres,[21] eventually turning Nayantara into one of the most-sought after actresses in Tamil.[9] 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.[9] Nayantara then accepted to appear in an item number as herself in the Perarasu-directed masala film Sivakasi starring Vijay.[22]

Her first release in 2006 was Kalvanin Kadhali. termed her performance as the "strength of the movie".[23] 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.[24] All three films opened to mixed reviews;[25][26] 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".[27] The science fiction thriller E featured Nayantara in the role of a bar dancer. Reviewers claimed that she made an impact,[28] was "very adequate and impressive in a slightly complicated role",[29] and that she had "come up with a good performance".[26] In Thalaimagan, she played a news reporter, with critics agreeing that she did not have much to do in the film.[30][31]

Billa and Stardom (2007-2012)[edit]

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,[32] while Nayantara received many accolades for her performance as Sasha in her new glamour look.[33] 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.[34] Similarly a critic from noted that she looked "great in mini skirts, jacket, dark glasses and tall boots".[35]

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. 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". cited that she "exhibits her acting skills in full measure [and] gives a moving performance in emotional scenes",[36] 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".[37] She won the Vijay Award for Favourite Heroine for second consecutive year,[38] 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 two successful releases in 2009 were Aadhavan with Suriya which released in October of that year.

In 2010, all her releases, which featured her as the female lead, turned out to be commercial successes: she had five box office hits in the four Southern languages – Adhurs (Telugu} Bodyguard (Malayalam), and Simha (Telugu), Boss Engira Bhaskaran (Tamil) and Super (Kannada).[39][40] 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.[41][42][43] Upendra's Super, which marked her debut into the Kannada film industry opened to rave reviews, while her performance was also praised by critics.[44][45] Her performances in Simha, Boss Engira Bhaskaran and Super eventually fetched her nominations for the Filmfare Best Actress Award in the respective languages.[46][47][48] 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.[49] The film was also screened at the Dubai International Film Festival.[50]

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 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",[51] while Sify commented "Nayanthara gave a fitting answer to all, unleashing grace and accomplishing the assignment with absolute perfection."[52] Subsequently, she was awarded the Nandi Award for Best Actress and the Filmfare Award for Best Telugu Actress.[53] 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.[54]

However, after her break-up with Prabhu Deva, she made a comeback; she began shooting for Krish's Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum in March 2012, after an 11-months sabbatical.[55] She portrayed the role of a journalist in this movie and her performance was also praised, with a reviewer from Sify stating 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".[56] Her first release in 2013 was Greeku Veerudu . Her performance was also praised, with a reviewer from Sify writing 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 was her first Tamil release after three years that had her in a lead role, which was followed by Vishnuvardhan's Arrambam. Both films became Blockbusters at the box office making it a Dream Comeback for her.[57] In 2014, she appeared in Idhu Kathirvelan Kadhal 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 Huge 6 projects coming up in Tamil: Idhu Namma Aalu starring Silambarasan,[58] Nanbenda starring Udhayanidhi Stalin,[59] Thani Oruvan starring Jayam Ravi,[60] Magnum Opus Masss starring Surya, Naanum Rowdydhaan starring Vijay Sethupathi and Kashmora starring Karthi.

She has Bhaskar the Rascal starring Mammootty in Malayalam[61] and Dictator starring Nandamuri Balakrishna in Telugu.[62]

Personal life[edit]


While shooting for her Tamil film Vallavan, she was romantically linked with the film's director and co-actor Silambarasan Rajendar.[63] She initially denied the reports.[9] 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.[64]

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.[65] She had tattooed his name on her wrist,[65] and began appearing with him in public, while keeping silence and refusing to comment about the issue, neither denying nor confirming the relationship.[66][67] In September 2010 then, Prabhu Deva openly confessed his love for Nayantara and further stated that he would marry her soon.[67] 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.[68][69] Furthermore, Ramalath threatened to go on hunger strike, if Prabhu Deva married Nayantara,[69][70] while several women's organizations also conducted protests against Nayantara for "bringing disrepute to Tamil culture", burning an effigy of her.[69][71][72] In 2012, Nayantara confirmed that she had ended her relationship with Prabhu Deva.[73]


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.[8] 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.[74]


Films that have not yet been released Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Film Role Language Notes
2003 Manassinakkare Gauri Malayalam
2004 Vismayathumbathu Reetha Mathews Malayalam
Natturajavu Katrina Malayalam
2005 Ayya Selvi Madasamy Tamil
Chandramukhi Durga Tamil
Thaskara Veeran Thankamani Malayalam
Rappakal Gauri Malayalam
Ghajini Chitra Tamil
Sivakasi Herself Tamil Special appearance in the song "Kodambakkam Area"
2006 Kalvanin Kadhali Haritha Tamil
Lakshmi Nandhini Telugu
Boss, I Love You Anuradha Telugu
Vallavan Swapna Tamil
Thalaimagan Meghala Tamil
E Jyothi Tamil
2007 Yogi Nandini Telugu
Dubai Seenu Madhumathi Telugu
Sivaji: The Boss Tamil Special appearance in song "Balleilakka"
Tulasi Vasundhara Ram Telugu
Billa Sasha Tamil
2008 Yaaradi Nee Mohini Keerthi (Komalavalli) Tamil
Kuselan Nayantara Tamil
Kathanayakudu Nayantara Telugu
Sathyam Deivalakshmi Tamil
Aegan Mallika Tamil
Twenty:20 Diana Malayalam Special appearance in the song "He Dil Deewana"
2009 Villu Janavi Tamil
Anjaneyulu Anjali Telugu
Aadhavan Thara Tamil
2010 Adurs Chandrakala Telugu
Bodyguard Ammu Ashokan Malayalam
Goa Village girl Tamil Special appearance
Simha Gayatri Telugu
Boss Engira Bhaskaran Chandrika Tamil
Elektra Elektra Alexander Malayalam
Super Indira Kannada
Multilingual film.
2011 Sri Rama Rajyam Seetha Telugu
2012 Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum Devika Telugu
2013 Ethir Neechal White Girl Tamil Special appearance in the song "Soup Boys"
Greeku Veerudu Sandhya Telugu
Raja Rani Regina Tamil
Arrambam Maya Tamil
2014 Idhu Kathirvelan Kadhal Pavithra Tamil
Anaamika Anaamika Telugu
Nee Enge En Anbe Anaamika Tamil
2015 Nanbenda Films that have not yet been released Diya Tamil Scheduled for April 2 [75]
Bhaskar the Rascal Films that have not yet been released Malayalam Scheduled for April 12 [76]
Masss Films that have not yet been released Tamil Scheduled for May 1 [77]
Maya Films that have not yet been released Tamil Post-production [78]
Idhu Namma Aalu Films that have not yet been released Mylaa Tamil Post-production [79]
Thani Oruvan Films that have not yet been released Tamil Filming [80]
Naanum Rowdydhaan Films that have not yet been released Tamil Filming [81]


Year Category Award Film Result
2003 Best New Face of the Year Asianet Film Awards Manassinakkare Won[82]
2007 Favourite Heroine 2nd Vijay Awards Billa Won[83]
Best Actress Sunfeast Tamil Music Awards Won[84]
Best Tamil Actress 55th Filmfare Awards South Nominated[85]
Best Telugu Actress Tulasi Nominated[86]
2008 Favourite Heroine 3rd Vijay Awards Yaaradi Nee Mohini Won[87]
2010 Best Actress Asianet Film Awards Bodyguard Won[88]
Best Tamil Actress 58th Filmfare Awards South Boss Engira Bhaskaran Nominated[47]
Best Telugu Actress Simha Nominated[46]
Best Kannada Actress Super Nominated[48]
2011 Best Telugu Actress 59th Filmfare Awards South Sri Rama Rajyam Won[89]
Best Actress Nandi Awards Won[90]
Best Actress (Jury) CineMAA Awards Won[91]
Best Actress 1st South Indian International Movie Awards Won[92]
Best Actress Bharatamuni Film Awards Won[93]
Best Actress Ugadi Puraskar Awards Won[94]
Best Actress Santhosham South Film Awards Won[95]
2012 Best Actress (Critics) 2nd South Indian International Movie Awards Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum Won[96]
Best Actress TSR-TV9 Film Awards Nominated
Best Actress 60th Filmfare Awards South Nominated
2013 Best Actress Edison Awards Raja Rani Won[97]
Best Tamil Actress 61st Filmfare Awards South Won[98]
Best Actress 8th Vijay Awards Won[99]
Favourite Heroine Won[99]
Best Acting Performance Behindwoods Gold Medal Won[100]
Best Actress 3rd South Indian International Movie Awards Nominated[101]
2014 Best Actress Edison Awards Idhu Kathirvelan Kadhal Nominated


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External links[edit]