Shobana performing at the Kerala High Court in 2009
Shobana Chandrakumar Pillai
1970 (age 49–50)
|Awards||Padma Shri (2006)|
Shobana Chandrakumar Pillai (born 1970), better known mononymously as Shobana, is an Indian film actress and bharatanatyam dancer. She acts predominantly in Malayalam language, in addition to Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Kannada and English language films. She has won two National Film Awards, one Kerala State Film Awards and numerous other awards.
Shobana established herself as a leading actress in 1980s and 1990s. She has worked with directors such as Adoor Gopalakrishnan, G. Aravindan, K. Balachander, AM Fazil, Mani Ratnam, Padmarajan, Bharathan, Uppalapati Narayana Rao, and Priyadarshan. She won the National Film Award for Best Actress twice, for her performances in the Malayalam film Manichitrathazhu (1993) and the English film Mitr, My Friend (2001). Consequent to the year 1999, Shobana turned extremely selective about her films.
Shobana was trained under the Bharata Natyam dancers Chitra Visweswaran and Padma Subrahmanyam. She emerged as an independent performer and choreographer in her twenties and currently runs a dance school, Kalarpana, in Chennai. In 2006, the Government of India honoured her with the Padma Shri for her contributions towards the arts. In 2014, the Kerala State Government honoured her with the Kala Ratna Award. In 2019, she was bestowed an honorary doctorate from Dr. M.G.R. Educational and Research Institute.
She is the niece of the Travancore sisters – Lalitha, Padmini and Ragini, all of whom were classical Indian dancers and actresses. The actress Sukumari was her paternal aunt. Malayalam actress Ambika Sukumaran is her relative. Malayalam actors Vineeth is her cousin and Krishna is her nephew.
Shobana made her debut as a child artist in the Bollywood film Amar Prem (1972).  As an adult, she was introduced to the film industry through the film April 18, by director Balachandra Menon. Her realistic portrayal of a simple girl-next-door appealed to audiences instantly and she went on to work in numerous films. In the same year, she entered the Tamil film industry and acted in Enakkul Oruvan, directed by SP Muthuraman. Enakkul Oruvan didn't do well at the box office and Shobana's commercial landing was stalled and she went back into Malayalam films. She did come back to act in occasional Tamil films opposite Satyaraj (Mallu Vetti Minor, Vaathiyar Veetu Pillai), Bhagyaraj (Ithu Namma Aalu) and Vijayakanth (Ponmana Selvan, En Kitta Mothathey) in the early 90s – these roles were generally glamorous in which Shobana generally acted as the beautiful, posh and haughty city girl who is eventually charmed by the village boy.
Her other major films include Meleparambil Aanveedu, Kanamarayathu, Ithiri Poove Chuvanna Poove , Yathra, Rangam (1985), Anantaram, Vrutham (1987), Idhu Namma Aalu (1988), Siva (1989), Innale (1990), Thalapathi (1991), Manichitrathazhu (1993), Thenmavin Kombath (1994), Minnaram(1994), Dance like a Man (2003), Mampazhakkalam (2004) and Makalkku (2005). From Aviduthe Pole Ivideyum to Upaharam, Shobana did sixteen movies in a single year, 1985. Shobana also acted in the Tamil period film Kochadaiiyaan.
Shobana won her first National Film Award for Best Actress in 1994 for her performance in AM Fazil's Manichitrathazhu. Her portrayal of Ganga Nakulan and alter-ego Nagavalli in the film was described by critics as "spell binding". She received her second National Film Award for Best Actress in 2001 for her role in the Indian English language film Mitr, My Friend, directed by Revathi. Consequent to the 1993 National Award, Shobana turned extremely selective about her films.
Classical dance career
Shobana is an accomplished Bharata Natyam dancer. She did her dance training at the Chidambaram academy in Chennai, Tamil Nadu under Chitra Visweswaran. Shobana danced Abhinaya, a pivotal element in Bharata Natyam. She was one among the judges in Jodi No. 1, a reality show for dance aired on Vijay TV.
She started her own dance school, "Kalipinya" in 1989 and got it registered in 1992.
She has worked on collaborative ventures with the likes of tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, Vikku Vinayakram and Mandolin Srinivas. Her recitals abroad include those at the World Malayalee convention, in the United States in 1985 and 1995, in Kuala Lumpur before the King and Queen of Malaysia, numerous cities in the United States, Europe, South East Asia and Australia. Shobana started performing in the prestigious Soorya Music & Dance festival organised by Soorya Krishnamoorthy from the year 1994. In 1999, Shobana along with Prabhu Deva and A. R. Rahman performed with a Tamil film dancing troupe at the "Michael Jackson and Friends" concert in Munich, Germany. She was also a part of Mani Ratnam's stage show, Netru, Indru, Naalai in 2000.
|1984||April 18||Shobana||Balachandra Menon|
|1984||Ithiri Poove Chuvanna Poove||Subhadra||Mammootty|
|1985||Thozhil Allengil Jail||Ashokan|
|1985||Meenamasathile Sooryan||Revathi||Vijay Menon|
|1985||Eeran Sandhya||Prabha||Mammootty, Rahman|
|1985||Ee Thanalil Ithiri Nerum||Soudamini||Mammootty|
|1985||Ee Shabdam Innathe Shabdam||Sharada||Mammootty|
|1985||Oru Naal Innorunaal||Rajani||Shankar|
|1986||T. P. Balagopalan M.A.||Anitha||Mohanlal|
|1986||Iniyum Kurukshethram||Lekha||Mohanlal, M. G. Soman|
|1986||Ente Entethu Mathrem||Ambili||Mohanlal|
|1986||Kshamichu Ennoru Vakku||Indu||Mammootty|
|1986||Ee Kaikalil||Viji Balakrishnan||Mammootty|
|1987||Vrutham||Nancy||Suresh Gopi, Kamal Haasan|
|1987||Kalam Mari Katha Mari||Ummu Kolzu||Mammootty, Lalu Alex|
|1987||Anantaram||Suma, Nalini||Mammootty, Ashokan|
|1988||Aryan||Aswathy||Mohanlal, Maniyanpilla Raju|
|1988||Oru Vivaada Vishayam||Suresh Gopi|
|1990||Innale||Maya/Gowri||Suresh Gopi, Jayaram|
|1990||Iyer the Great||Amala||Mammootty|
|1992||Oru Kochu Bhoomikulukkam||Indu||Siddique|
|1992||Naaga Panchami||Panchami||Suresh Gopi|
|1992||Pappayude Swantham Appoos||Bhama||Mammootty|
|1993||Manichitrathazhu||Ganga/Nagavalli||Suresh Gopi, Mohanlal, Sridhar||National Award for Best Actress|
|1994||Commissioner||Indu Kurup||Suresh Gopi|
|1994||Thenmavin Kombathu||Karthumbi||Mohanlal, Nedumudi Venu|
|1994||Manathe Vellitheru||Merlin||Lalu Alex, Vineeth|
|1995||Sindoora Rekha||Arundhathi||Suresh Gopi|
|1995||Mazhayethum Munpe||Uma Maheshwari||Mammootty|
|1996||Kumkumacheppu||Indu||Manoj K. Jayan|
|1996||Aramana Veedum Anjoorekkarum||Alli||Jayaram|
|1997||Kalyana Kacheri||Gopika||Mukesh (actor), Jagathy Sreekumar|
|1999||Agni Sakshi||Devaki Manampalli||Rajit Kapur|
|2009||Sagar alias Jacky Reloaded||Indu||Manoj K. Jayan|
|2013||Thira||Dr. Rohini Pranab||Dhyan Sreenivasan|
|2020||Varane Avashyamund||Neena||Suresh Gopi|
|1982||Bhakta Dhruva Markandeya||Sunithi Devi|
|1986||Marchandi Mana Chattalu||Uma|
|1988||Rudraveena||Lalita Shiva Jyoti|
|1990||Nari Nari Naduma Murari||Shobha|
|1991||April 1st Vidudhala||Bhuvaneshwari|
|1991||Appula Appa Rao||Subba Laxmi|
|1991||Rowdy Gaari Pellam||Janaki|
|1991||Minor Raja||Santhana Lakshmi|
|1991||Alludu Diddina Kapuram||Sita|
|1993||Rowdy Gaari Teacher||Malli|
|1993||Nippu Ravva||Guest appearance in a song|
|1988||Oray Thaai Oray Kulam||Easwari|
|1988||Idhu Namma Aalu||Banu|
|1989||Sattathin Thirappu Vizhaa||Radha|
|1989||Paattukku Oru Thalaivan||Shanthi|
|1989||Vaathiyaar Veettu Pillai||Geeta|
|1990||Mallu Vetti Minor||Santhana Lakshmi|
|2008||Mere Baap Pehle Aap||Anuradha Joshi (Annu)|
|2007||Apna Asmaan||Padmini Kumar|
|2003||Dance Like a Man||Ratna|
|2002||Mitr, My Friend||Lakshmi|
Awards and recognitions
Titles and honours
|2000||Grade A Top||Doordarshan|||
|2006||Padma Shri||Government of India|||
|2011||Kalaimamani||Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Manram, Government of Tamil Nadu|||
|2012||Arch of Excellence||All India Achievers Conference|||
|2013||Kalarathna||Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy|||
|2015||Global Achievement for Performing Arts||All Malaysia Malayalee Association|||
|2019||Honorary doctorate (D.Litt)||Dr. M.G.R. Educational and Research Institute|||
|2010||Jodi Number one season 4||Vijay TV||Tamil||Reality show as Judge|
|2010||Super Jodi||Surya TV||Malayalam||Reality show as Judge|
|Mazhavil Manorama||Malayalam||Reality show as Judge|
|2017||Midukki||Mazhavil Manorama||Malayalam||Reality show as Judge|
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