Nithya Menen

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Nithya Menen
Nithya Menen at the trailer launch of her film 'Mission Mangal'.jpg
Menen in 2019
Born (1988-04-08) 8 April 1988 (age 34)[1]
NationalityIndian
Alma materMount Carmel College, Bangalore
Manipal Academy of Higher Education
Occupation
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active1998–2001 (child artist)
2006–present (as an actress)

Nithya Menen[2][3][4] (born 8 April 1988) is an Indian actress and singer who works primarily in Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, and Kannada films. She has acted in more than 50 films and is a recipient of several accolades, including three Filmfare Awards South and two Nandi Awards.

Nithya Menen appeared first on-screen as a child, when she was ten, in the English film, The Monkey Who Knew Too Much (1998), playing the younger sister to Tabu's character. She started her acting career at the age of 17 by appearing in a supporting role in the Kannada film 7 O' Clock, which was released in 2006. She made her debut in leading roles in Malayalam with Aakasha Gopuram (2008), in Telugu with Ala Modalaindi (2011) and in Tamil with Nootrenbadhu (2011). In 2019, she made her Hindi debut with Mission Mangal.

Early life[edit]

Nithya Menen was born on 8 April 1988[1] in Bangalore to Malayali parents settled in Karnataka. Menen cannot read or write Malayalam and identifies herself as a Kannadathi.[5] She was educated at Poorna Prajna School and Mount Carmel College, Bangalore.[6] She later studied journalism at the Manipal Academy of Higher Education.[7][time needed]

She once said in an interview that she never wished to become an actress but a journalist,[8][9] but ultimately found journalism unappealing, so she pivoted to filmmaking,[9][10][11] and enrolled in a cinematography course at the Film and Television Institute of India at Pune. During the school's entrance exam, she met B. V. Nandini Reddy, who convinced Menen to take up acting.[9] Reddy would later turn director and sign Menen for a lead role in her first Telugu film.[12]

Career[edit]

1998–2001: Debut as child actress[edit]

As a child, Nithya had acted in a French-Indian English film named The Monkey Who Knew Too Much, at the age of 10, playing younger sister to Tabu's character.[13] She also played the childhood stepdaughter role in the Hindi serial, Chhoti Maa...Ek Anokha Bandhan, a remake of the Tamil serial Chitti.[14][15]

2006–2010: Debut in Kannada and Malayalam[edit]

In 2006, Menen started her acting career in a supporting role with the Kannada film 7 O' Clock directed by cinematographer Santosh Rai Pataje.[16] The 2008 off-beat film Aakasha Gopuram, directed by National Film Award-winning director K. P. Kumaran, marked her Malayalam debut in a leading role in which she was paired with Mohanlal. She was in the midst of her 12th class exams when she was offered the role, after Mohanlal had spotted her on the front cover of a tourism magazine, Stark World Kerala.[2][8] Her performance was well received, with critics writing that she shows "sparkle in her debut venture" and "makes her entry in an impressive role",[17][18] though the film, based on the Norwegian play The Master Builder, got mixed reviews and was a financial failure.[17][18] She next made a comeback into Kannada films with the super hit film Josh. She played a supporting role in the film, which received rave reviews,[19][20][21] and became a commercial success as well, with her performance garnering her a nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category at the 57th Filmfare Awards South. In 2010, she starred in the Malayalam film, Apoorvaragam where she plays Nancy, a young girl who gets involved with two male students (Nishan and Asif Ali) who are later discovered to be con-artists. The film received mixed to negative reviews,[22][23] but became a hit at the box office.

2011–2012: Telugu debut and breakthrough[edit]

In 2011, her first release was Nandini Reddy's romantic comedy Ala Modalaindi, which was Menen's maiden Telugu venture as well.[4] The film opened to favourable reviews by critics and turned out to become a sleeper hit,[24] while Menen received critical praise for her performance. Idlebrain's Jeevi in his review cited that she "epitomized Nitya character with her fabulous performance", "looks beautiful in all kinds of dresses" and was "the best debut in recent years of Telugu cinema after Samantha in YMC",[25] while another critic wrote that she was a "charming find" and "...quite the Genelia replacement that our cinema so badly needs right now."[26] She eventually won the Nandi Award for Best Actress for her performance and received a nomination for Filmfare Award for Best Actress at the 59th Filmfare Awards South.[27] Further more, she also sang two songs for the soundtrack album of the film, tuned by Kalyani Malik.[28][29] Nandini Reddy, later, went on to describe Menen as "the discovery of the decade".[24] Following Ala Modalaindi, she starred in Santosh Sivan's historical fiction Urumi as part of an ensemble cast.[30] She portrayed a Chirakkal princess named Bala, playing the love interest of Prabhu Deva's character,[30] which gained positive remarks, with a Sify review claiming that she "looks pretty and is a scene stealer".[31] Menen quoted that much of her character was based on "Santosh's perception of who I am", with Sivan stating that he had written that role for her and that only she could play it. She received a nomination for Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress at the 59th Filmfare Awards South[30] She next appeared in ad-filmmaker Jayendra's bilingual venture Nootrenbadhu, which was made and released in Tamil and Telugu(as 180), in which she played a photo journalist named Vidya.[32] She described the character as "bubbly, full of life, nosey, wide-eyed and innocent in life" and to be similar to herself.[32] Later the year, she was seen in Sibi Malayil's Violin in Malayalam and the Gautham Vasudev Menon-produced Veppam in Tamil. She also featured in V. K. Prakash's Kannada anthology film Aidondla Aidu where she played a young bride who is obsessed with making payasam for her new husband much to his chagrin. She had sung and also choreographed one of the songs, titled "Payasa".[33]

Menen's first 2012 release was the Telugu romance film Ishq with Nitin Reddy. She received the CineMAA Award for Best Actress (jury) while receiving best actress nomination at the same event and at the SIIMA Awards. She was later seen in 5 Malayalam films: Karmayogi, V. K. Prakash's Malayalam adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet co-starring Indrajith Sukumaran, Poppins, the Malayalam remake of Aidondla Aidu in which she reprised her role from the original and sang the Malayalam version of "Payasa", T. K. Rajeev Kumar's Thalsamayam Oru Penkutty, in which she portrayed a village woman whose daily life is filmed and broadcast as a reality show for a month,[34] Amal Neerad's Bachelor Party in which she played Asif Ali's wife and young mother to their baby and Ustad Hotel directed by Anwar Rasheed where she paired up for the first time with Dulquer Salmaan.[35]

2013–2015: Critical acclaim[edit]

In 2013, she starred in three Telugu films, Okkadine, Jabardasth and Gunde Jaari Gallanthayyinde and one Kannada movie Mynaa. She played a character with two shades in Gunde Jaari Gallanthayyinde and she dubbed for herself as well as for the character of her co-star Isha Talwar. For this movie, she received her first Filmfare Award for Best Telugu Actress at the 61st Filmfare Awards South.[36] Her Kannada film Mynaa which won the Filmfare Award for Best Film – Kannada[37] in which she plays a character of a physically challenged girl, became a huge blockbuster hit completing 100 days in many centers across Karnataka and her performance was well praised by the critics. She also sang the female version of "Modele Maleyante" which was well received. In 2014, she made a cameo in the Malayalam movie Bangalore Days, which became the highest grosser of that year.[38]

In 2015, Menen starred in numerous films which gave her more critical and commercial recognition. In the beginning of the year, she paired up with Sharwanand for the Telugu movie, Malli Malli Idi Rani Roju, a love story between a Muslim girl and a Hindu boy which is tragically separated by fate. Her performance as Nazeera, the young Muslim student in love who later becomes a successful businesswoman in Malaysia was well praised by the critics eventually receiving her Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress South, Nandi Special Jury Award and also receiving her second nomination at Filmfare. With this Menen became the first Telugu actress ever to win Critics Award & the Best Actress Award at Filmfare. She did minor roles in the films S/O Satyamurthy directed by Trivikram Srinivas, Kanchana 2 directed by and starring Raghava Lawrence and Rudhramadevi where she shared scenes with Anushka Shetty.[39] She appeared opposite Dulquer Salmaan in two films in 2015, 100 Days of Love, a romantic Malayalam film and OK Kanmani, a Tamil film directed by Mani Ratnam which explored a live-in relationship between a male video game designer and a female architectural student. Dulquer and Menen's on-screen chemistry was praised in the reviews of both films. For OK Kanmani, she received near universal acclaim for her role as Tara and garnered her first Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Actress nomination.[40][41]

2016–present[edit]

In 2016, Menen starred in three Tamil films. Beginning the year was 24 where she was paired opposite Suriya for the first time.[citation needed] The film was opened to high critical acclaim, with critics praising her screen presence and garnered her a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress – Tamil nomination at 64th Filmfare Awards South.[citation needed] She played the main heroine in K. S. Ravikumar's bilingual project titled Kotigobba 2 opposite Sudeep.[42] Towards the end of the year, she starred alongside Vikram and Nayanthara in a science-fiction thriller Iru Mugan where she had a limited screen presence.[43] In Telugu, she starred in two films, Okka Ammayi Thappa opposite Sundeep Kishan and Janatha Garage opposite Jr. NTR.[44]

In 2017, her only release was a Tamil film Mersal opposite Vijay, where she was praised for her role as a tough yet supportive wife and garnered her a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress – Tamil at 65th Filmfare Awards South.[45][46]

In 2018, Menen's first release was Nani's Production venture, an anthology psychological thriller Awe,[47] where she became the first mainstream South Indian actress to play a LGBTQ character who is a psychologist.[48] In the film, she and Eesha Rebba portray a lesbian couple who try to get the latter's parents to approve their relationship.[49] The film opened to unanimous critical acclaim with her performance garnering much praise.[50][51]

She reunited with V. K. Prakash after Karmayogi, Aidondla Aidu and its remake Poppins in the experimental film Praana which also marks her comeback to Malayalam industry after 2015's romantic flick 100 Days of Love. She plays an English writer named Tara Anuradha who battles intolerance in society and is the sole actor in the film.[52][53][54]

In 2019, she made her Hindi debut with Mission Mangal alongside Akshay Kumar and Vidya Balan.[55]

In 2020, she starred alongside Udhayanidhi Stalin and Aditi Rao Hydari in Mysskin's Psycho, where she played Kamala Das, a bitter, foul-mouthed quadriplegic ex-police officer who helps nab a psychopathic serial killer.[56] She also made her OTT debut in the Amazon Prime series Breathe: Into the Shadows alongside Abhishek Bachchan and Amit Sadh which received mixed to negative reviews, however she was praised for her role as a desperate mother. She received her first nomination for 'Best Actor, Series (Female): Drama' at the Filmfare OTT Awards.[57]

In 2021, Menen starred in Ninnila Ninnila, written and directed by Ani Sasi, co-starring Ashok Selvan and Ritu Varma where she played Maya, a childlike, adventurous girl who tragically dies in an accident, but whose spirit is still alive in the main protagonist's mind.[58][59] She made her producer debut in Skylab where she played a rebellious and outspoken daughter of a zamindar in a village near Karimnagar who seeks to discover her identity as a writer.[60]

Filmography[edit]

Films[edit]

Key
Films that have not yet been released Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Title Role Language Notes Ref.
1998 The Monkey Who Knew Too Much Munna English Child artist [6][61]
2006 7 O' Clock Anu Kannada [62]
2008 Aakasha Gopuram Hilda Varghese Malayalam [63]
2009 Josh Meera Kannada [64]
Vellathooval Jiya Malayalam [65]
Kerala Cafe Nithya Malayalam [66]
[67]
Angel John Sofia Malayalam [68]
2010 Apoorvaragam Nancy Malayalam [22]
Anwar Asna Malayalam [69]
2011 Ala Modalaindi Nithya Telugu [70]
Urumi Bala of Chirakkal / Daisy da Cunha[a] Malayalam [71]
[72]
Nootrenbadhu/ 180 D. Vidya Lakshmi Tamil Bilingual film [73]
Telugu
Violin Angel Malayalam [74]
Veppam Revathy Tamil [75]
Aidondla Aidu Gowri Kannada [76]
Makaramanju Model Malayalam [77]
2012 Ishq Priya Telugu [78]
Thalsamayam Oru Penkutty Manjula Ayyapan Malayalam [71]
Karmayogi Moonumani Malayalam [79]
Doctor Innocentanu Anna Malayalam Special appearance [80]
Bachelor Party Neethu Malayalam [81]
Ustad Hotel Shahana Malayalam [82]
[71]
Poppins Ammu Malayalam [83]
2013 Okkadine Shailaja Telugu [84]
Jabardasth Saraswati Telugu [85]
Myna Myna Kannada [86]
Gunde Jaari Gallanthayyinde Shravani / Bangaram[a] Telugu [87]
[88]
2014 Malini 22 Palayamkottai Malini Tamil [89] [90]
Bangalore Days Natasha Francis Malayalam Cameo appearance [91][92]
2015 Malli Malli Idi Rani Roju Nazeera Khanum Telugu [93] [94]
JK Enum Nanbanin Vaazhkai Nithya Tamil Telugu version Rajadhi Raja released in 2016 [95][96]
100 Days of Love Sheela Malayalam [97][98]
S/O Satyamurthy Valli Telugu [99]
Kanchana 2 Ganga Tamil [100]
O Kadhal Kanmani Tara Kalingarayan Tamil [101][102]
Rudhramadevi Muktamba Telugu [103][104]
2016 24 Priya Tamil [105][106]
Okka Ammayi Thappa Mango / Satyabhama[a] Telugu [107][108]
Kotigobba 2 / Mudinja Ivana Pudi Subhashini / Shubhasree Kannada Bilingual film [109]
Tamil
Janatha Garage Anu Telugu [110]
Iru Mugan Ayushi Tamil [111] [112]
2017 Mersal Aishwarya Vetrimaaran Tamil [113] [114]
2018 Awe Krishnaveni (Krish)[a] Telugu [115]
Geetha Govindam Nithya Telugu Special appearance [116][117]
2019 NTR: Kathanayakudu Savitri Telugu Special appearance [118]
Praana Tara Anuradha Malayalam [71] [119]
Mission Mangal Varsha Pillai Hindi [120]
2020 Psycho Kamala Das IPS Tamil [121]
2021 Ninnila Ninnila Maya Telugu [122]
Gamanam Shailaputri Devi Telugu Cameo appearance [123]
Skylab Gouri Telugu Also producer [124]
Kolaambi Arundhathi Malayalam [125]
2022 Bheemla Nayak Suguna Telugu [126]
19(1)(a) Not yet released TBA Malayalam Completed [127]
Thiruchitrambalam Not yet released Shobana Tamil Completed [128]

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Platform Language Notes Ref.
2020–present Breathe: Into the Shadows Abha Sabarwal Amazon Prime Video Hindi [129]
2022 Telugu Indian Idol Judge Aha Telugu [130]
Modern Love Hyderabad Amazon Prime Video Telugu

Music video[edit]

Year Song Language Singer(s) Notes
2022 Thaniye Malayalam Siddharth Menon, Nithya Menon on YouTube

Short film[edit]

Year Film Role Language Notes Ref.
TBA Color of a Nation Not yet released Pregnant woman Telugu Short film [131]

Voice artist[edit]

Year Film Role Language Notes
2013 Gunde Jaari Gallanthayyinde Shruti Telugu
2019 Frozen 2 Elsa Telugu
2019 Navarasa Shamna Kasim Tamil

Discography[edit]

Year Song Title Language Composer Notes Ref.
2010 "Payasa" Aidondla Aidu Kannada Abhijit-Joe
2011 "Edo Anukunte" Ala Modalaindi Telugu Kalyani Malik
"Ammammo Ammo" Ala Modalaindi Telugu Kalyani Malik
2012 "Oh Priya Priya" Ishq Telugu Anoop Rubens
"Payasam" Poppins Malayalam Ratheesh Vegha
2013 "Arere Arere" Jabardasth Telugu S. Thaman
"Doore Doore Neengi" Natholi Oru Cheria Meenalla Malayalam Abhijith
"Modala Maleyante" Myna Kannada Jassie Gift Solo singer
"O Premada Poojari" Myna Kannada Jassie Gift Duet with Shreya Ghoshal
"Thu Hi Rey" Gunde Jaari Gallanthayyinde Telugu Anoop Rubens
"Hi my name is malini" Malini 22 Palayamkottai Tamil Arvind & Shankar
"Kanneer Thulilye (Duet)" Malini 22 Palayamkottai Tamil Arvind & Shankar
"Madharthamma (Immigrant Mix)" Malini 22 Palayamkottai Tamil Arvind & Shankar
"Hi my name is malini" Malini 22 Telugu Arvind & Shankar
"Navve Kaluva (Duet)" Malini 22 Telugu Arvind & Shankar
"Yennali (Immigrant Mix)" Malini 22 Telugu Arvind & Shankar
2015 "Paalnilaa : Lets Do the Dandiya" Rockstar (2015 film) Malayalam Prashant Pillai
2016 "Laalijo" 24 Telugu A. R. Rahman
"Hrudayam Kannulatho" 100 Days of Love Telugu Govind Menon [132][133]
2018 "Va Va Vo" Mohanlal Malayalam Tony Joseph Pallivathukal
2021 "Thiruppavai" Margazhi Thingal Tamil Ravi G
2022 Thaniye Thaniye Malayalam Sidharth Menon Music video

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Film Result Ref.
2009 Filmfare Awards South Best Supporting Actress – Kannada Josh Nominated
2011 Best Supporting Actress – Malayalam Urumi Nominated
Best Actress – Telugu Ala Modalaindi Nominated
Best Female Playback Singer – Telugu (for song "Ammammo Ammo") Nominated
1st South Indian International Movie Awards Best Female Debut (Telugu) Nominated
Best Female Playback Singer (Telugu) (for song "Ammammo Ammo") Nominated
Nandi Awards Best Actress Won
Vijay Awards Best Actress Nootrenbandhu Nominated
2012 CineMAA Awards Best Actress (Jury) Ishq Won
2nd South Indian International Movie Awards Rising Star of South Indian Cinema (Female) Won
2013 Filmfare Awards South Best Actress – Kannada Myna Nominated
Best Actress – Telugu Gunde Jaari Gallanthayyinde Won [134]
3rd South Indian International Movie Awards Best Actress (Telugu) Nominated
Vanitha Film Awards Best Pair (along with Dulquer Salmaan) Ustad Hotel Won
2014 Vijay Awards Best Actress Malini 22 Palayamkottai Nominated
2015 Filmfare Awards South Best Actress – Telugu Malli Malli Idi Rani Roju Nominated
Best Actress – Telugu (Critics) Won
5th South Indian International Movie Awards Best Actress (Telugu) Nominated
1st IIFA Utsavam Awards Best Actress – Telugu Nominated
Nandi Awards Special Jury Award Won
Filmfare Awards South Best Actress – Tamil OK Kanmani Nominated
5th South Indian International Movie Awards Best Actress – Tamil Nominated
Best Actress – Tamil (Critics) Won
Best Supporting Actress (Telugu) Rudhramadevi Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Tamil Kanchana 2 Nominated
2016 2nd IIFA Utsavam Awards Best Supporting Actress – Telugu Rudhramadevi Nominated
2017 64th Filmfare Awards South Best Supporting Actress – Tamil 24 Nominated
2018 65th Filmfare Awards South Mersal Won
2020 Filmfare OTT Awards Best Actor Series: Drama (Female) Breathe: Into The Shadows Nominated [135]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Nithya Menen played a single character with two or more names.

References[edit]

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