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Namitha in a photoshoot
Namitha Mukesh Vankawala

(1981-05-10) 10 May 1981 (age 38)
Surat, Gujarat, India
Occupationactress, model
Years active2001–present
Veerendra Chowdary (m. 2017)

Namitha Vankawala is an Indian film actress who has predominantly been active in the South Indian film industry. She competed in the Miss India 2001 pageant, before making her film debut through the Telugu romantic film Sontham (2002). In the mid-2000s, she achieved popularity through her glamorous roles in Tamil films and often starred opposite older actors. By the end of the decade, Namitha was amongst the most popular actresses in Tamil cinema and enjoyed a cult-like fan following from audiences across Tamil Nadu. Since 2010, box office success has evaded Namitha, prompting her to appear in less film roles and experience a decline in her fan following.



Starting her career as a beauty pageant contestant, Namitha was crowned Miss Surat during the year of 1998 at the age of 17. She went on to participate in the 2001 Miss India pageant and ended up as the fourth runner-up, while Celina Jaitley was crowned Miss India.[1] The publicity she garnered during the competition prompted her to move to Mumbai and subsequently she did a number of TV commercials such as Himani cream and hand soap, Arun Ice Creams, Manikchand Gutka, and Nile Herbal Shampoo early in her career. Unable to make a breakthrough into the Hindi film industry, she enrolled in an English Literature course and then considered returning to Surat but chose to later accept an invitation to audition for a Telugu film. After being selected, she consequently made her acting debut in Sreenu Vaitla's coming-of-age romantic film, Sontham (2002), where she played the love interest of two characters in a love triangle. Her next film, Saran's big budget action film Gemeni (2002) opposite Venkatesh, garnered her further attention and her portrayal of a Marwardi girl won critical acclaim. She had also briefly given herself the stagename of "Bhairavi" for the film, but later reverted to her original name.[2][3]

In the mid 2000s, she quickly became popular in Tamil language films with her mature look and tall frame prompting film makers to cast her opposite ageing actors such as Vijayakanth, Sathyaraj, Arjun, Parthiban, Sundar C and Sarathkumar.[4] She appeared in a series of commercial action films opposite such actors, including roles in Aai (2005), Chanakya (2005) and Aanai (2005). Likewise, she was regularly cast in comedy films with senior actors too, making appearances in Siddique's Engal Anna (2004) and six of Sakthi Chidambaram's comedy dramas. During the period, she appeared in her first Hindi film Love Ke Chakkar Mein, worked on a Kannda film titled Namitha I Love You and shot for an English film, Maya, which was later released in 2008 as Kamasutra Nights.[5] In 2007, she had the opportunity to work with two leading younger actors from Tamil cinema, respectively appearing with Vijay in the A. R. Rahman-musical Azhagiya Tamil Magan (2007) and Ajith Kumar in Vishnuvardhan's gangster film Billa (2007). By the end of the period, Namitha had developed a "cult following" in Tamil Nadu as a result of her glamorous appearances in films, with the media regularly looking to feature her in reports and labelled her "omnipotent and omnipresent".[6][7][8]


However, by the turn of the decade, Namitha's popularity began to decline after several of her films failed to perform well and the South Indian film industry moved away from casting women in outright glamorous roles, a character that Namitha had become famed for performing. Film makers were also reluctant to cast Namitha opposite young male actors, as the older generation began to stop appearing in leading roles.[9][10] She was relegated to increasingly smaller roles and guest appearances, while the big-budget horror film, Jaganmohini (2009), where she played the title role performed poorly at the box office.[11] Likewise, she became engaged in disputes with her film makers, with the director of Azhagana Ponnuthan (2010), criticising the actress's lack of cooperation for the film's failure.[12][13] She briefly prioritised her work in Kannada films in the early 2010s, while several of her films endured production delays including Ilamai Oonjal (2016). After several years without any film releases, she announced plans of making a comeback in 2016 and has since notably appeared in Puli Murugan (2016).[14]

In 2017, Namitha appeared on the Tamil reality television show, Bigg Boss hosted by Kamal Haasan. After being introduced as the hyped surprise contestant, she was evicted on day 28 by audiences. During her stint in the show, she was widely criticised for her harsh treatment of actress Oviya.[15] Her upcoming projects include Pottu, where she portrays an aghori, and T. Rajender's Indraya Kadhal Da, where she plays the antagonist.[16][17]

In the media[edit]

[18][19] In October 2010, there was an attempt to kidnap her by a fan at Trichy in Tamil Nadu.[20] In 2012, the actress was chosen by Tokyo TV, a Japanese media station, as the "most beautiful person" in India.[21] Namitha has been an advocate of safe driving and in June 2012, she and Tamil actor Bharat promoted awareness of safe driving.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Namitha married her long time friend Veerendra Chowdry in Tirupathi in November 2017.[23]


Films that have not yet been released Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Title Role(s) Director(s) Language(s) Notes Ref.
2002 Sontham Nandu Srinu Vaitla Telugu Telugu Debut [24]
Gemini Manisha Natwarlal Saran [25][26]
2003 Oka Raju Oka Rani Preethi Yogi
Oka Radha Iddaru Krishnula Pelli Sasirekha G. Nageswara Reddy
2004 Engal Anna Gowri Siddique Tamil Tamil Debut
Aithe Enti Anjali Sharma Soma Vijayaprakash Telugu
2005 Aai Anjali A. Venkatesh Tamil
Englishkaran Maheshwari Sakthi Chidambaram
Nayakudu Kodi Ramakrishna Telugu
Chanakya Deivanayaki A. Venkatesh Tamil
Bambara Kannaley Mynaa Parthy Baskar
Aanai Ramya Selva
2006 Kovai Brothers Sania Sakthi Chidambaram
Love Ke Chakkar Mein Neha V. Batra B. H. Tharun Kumar Hindi Hindi Debut
Pachchak Kuthira Poovu R. Parthiban Tamil
Thagapansamy Swapna Shiva Shanmugam
Nee Venunda Chellam Anjali L. Venkatesan
Neelakanta Ganga Om Sai Prakash Kannada Kannada Debut
2007 Viyabari Namitha Sakthi Chidambaram Tamil
Naan Avanillai Monika Prasad Selva
Azhagiya Tamil Magan Dhanalakshmi Bharathan
Billa C. J. Vishnuvardhan
2008 Sandai Seemakal Chinnakilli Sakthi Chidambaram
Kamasutra Nights Aunt Maya Eric Manning English English Debut
Pandi Salangai Rasu Madhuravan Tamil
Indra H Vasu Kannada
2009 Perumal Saroja Vincent Selva Tamil
Thee Ruchi Devi G. Kicha
1977 Chandini G.N.Dhinesh Kumar
Billa Lisa Meher Ramesh Telugu
Indira Vizha Kamini K. Rajeshwar Tamil
Jaganmohini Jaganmohini N. K. Vishwanathan
2010 Black Stallion Laura Fernandez Pramod Pappan Malayalam Malayalam Debut
Azhagaana Ponnuthan Jennifer Thiru Tamil
Guru Sishyan Anitha Sakthi Chidambaram Cameo
Simha Mahima Boyapati Srinu Telugu
Hoo V. Ravichandran Kannada
2011 Ilaignan Sena Suresh Krissna Tamil
Namitha I Love You Sunanda M. Jayasimha Reddy Telugu
2013 Benki Birugali Mona S. K. Basheed Kannada
2016 Ilamai Oonjal Durga Mangai Harirajan Tamil
Pulimurugan Julie Vysakh Malayalam
2017 Miya Miya AL Ravi & Mathew S Tamil
2019 Pottu Bhrameshwari Vadivudaiyan


Year Title Role Notes
2017 Bigg Boss Tamil (season 1) Contestant Reality TV Series[27]


  1. ^ "Namitha was crowned Miss Surat in 1998 – The Times of India". 29 August 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  2. ^ Telugu Cinema Etc. (16 September 2002). Retrieved on 2019-01-01.
  3. ^ "Telugu cinema article – Namita photo – stolen from Namitha's desktop". 20 March 2000.
  4. ^ Namitha interview – Telugu Cinema interview – Telugu film and Tamil film actress. (30 July 2008). Retrieved on 2019-01-01.
  5. ^ "Namitha stars in English movie". The Hindu. 14 August 2006.
  6. ^ "Tamil movies : Namitha the omnipotent and the omnipresent".
  7. ^ "Tamil Nadu / Chennai News : Namitha goes to `Subway' for meal". The Hindu. 21 October 2005.
  8. ^ I Will Do It For A Lesser Payment, Says Namitha – Namitha – Dirty Picture – Tamil Movie News. (30 June 2012). Retrieved on 2019-01-01.
  9. ^ "Namitha attempting to shed her flab for a comeback?". 8 November 2012.
  10. ^ Why Namitha won't act in Tamil films? | Movie News . Times of India (20 May 2011). Retrieved on 2019-01-01.
  11. ^ Review: Jaganmohini is a half-baked remake. (19 October 2009). Retrieved on 2019-01-01.
  12. ^ Namitha's behavior – Tamil Movie News – Namitha | Thiru | Azhagana Ponnuthan | Raja Karthik | Nizhalgal Ravi | Mayilsaamy. (17 March 2010). Retrieved on 2019-01-01.
  13. ^ Namitha angry with Sona? (22 July 2011).
  14. ^ "Actress Namitha To Make Her Comeback Soon". 3 September 2015.
  15. ^ Ex- Bigg Boss contestant Namitha hits back at Oviya | Tamil Movie News. Times of India (6 August 2017). Retrieved on 2019-01-01.
  16. ^ T Rajendherr to helm trilingual, Indraya Kaadhal Da. Cinema Express (10 July 2018). Retrieved on 27 September 2018.
  17. ^ T Rajendar returns to direction. Deccan Chronicle (11 July 2018). Retrieved on 27 September 2018.
  18. ^ "I'll stick to my sexy image: Namitha". Deccan Herald. 28 December 2009.
  19. ^ I’m thrilled I have a temple:Namitha | Hindi Movie News. Times of India (7 July 2008). Retrieved on 2019-01-01.
  20. ^ Bharathan, Bijoy (27 October 2010). "Namitha's die-hard fan". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  21. ^ Namitha – The Indian Beauty ... – Namitha – Tamil Movie News. (1 November 2012). Retrieved on 2019-01-01.
  22. ^ Namitha, Bharath want you to be safe on the road!. Retrieved on 1 January 2019.
  23. ^ "Namitha gets married to her boyfriend Veerandra in Tirupati". Times of India. 24 November 2017. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  24. ^ "Movie review - Sontham". Idlebrain.
  25. ^ "GEMINI SYNOPSIS". Apunkachoice.
  26. ^ "Show with a difference". TheHindu.
  27. ^ "Bigg Boss Tamil: How Oviya Helen became the premiere season's most sensational contestant- Entertainment News, Firstpost". Firstpost. Retrieved 21 February 2018.

External links[edit]