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Actress Soundarya.jpeg
Soundarya in 2002
K. S. Sowmya

(1972-07-18)18 July 1972[1]
Ganjigunte, Mulbagal, Mysore State, (now Karnataka), India
Died17 April 2004(2004-04-17) (aged 31)
Cause of deathAeroplane crash
Years active1992–2004
Full list
G. S. Raghu
(m. 2003)

K. S. Sowmya (18 July 1972 – 17 April 2004),[1] better known by her stage name Soundarya, was an Indian actress who worked predominantly in Telugu films, in addition to Kannada and Tamil films.[2] In 2002, she received the National Film Award for Best Feature Film as producer for the Kannada film Dweepa. She has also received the Nandi Award, two Karnataka State Film Awards for Best Actress and several Filmfare Awards South for her performances in films such as Ammoru (1994), Pavitra Bandham(1996), Anthahpuram (1998), Raja (1999), Doni Saagali (1998), Dweepa (2002), and Apthamitra (2004).[2][3] Soundarya acted in more than 100 films in a span of 12 years.[4][5] She was regarded as one of the greatest actresses in the history of Telugu Cinema.[4]

Personal life and education[edit]

Soundarya was born in Ganjigunte, a village in Mulbagal, Kolar district to K. S. Sathyanarayana and Manjula. Her father was a Kannada film writer-producer. She discontinued her M.B.B.S. after her first year in Bangalore. [6] [7]

In 2003, she married G. S. Raghu, her maternal relative, a software engineer by profession.


Early career[edit]

Soundarya's first movie was the Kannada film Gandharva in 1992. In the same year, she acted in the Telugu movie Raithu Bharatham, with Krishna, directed by Tripuraneni Sriprasad alias Varaprasad. She acted in more than 100 movies, predominantly in Telugu, in a span of 12 years. Telugu actor Venkatesh has described her as "a thorough actress in Indian Cinema".[8]

She began with lead roles in Kannada, her mother tongue, and went on to become the most popular actress in Telugu films. Her first hit film as heroine in Telugu was Rajendrudu Gajendrudu, directed by S. V. Krishna Reddy.[citation needed] Real commercial recognition came to her with Hello Brother (1994), directed by E. V. V. Satyanarayana, in which she starred alongside Nagarjuna and Ramya Krishna.[citation needed] She played an award-winning role in Ammoru, directed by Kodi Ramakrishna, starring alongside Ramya Krishna and Suresh and played the role of Bhavani, a devotee of Goddess Ammoru. She had eleven releases in 1995.[8] In Tamil, she got major acclaim for Ponnumani, opposite Karthik and Sivakumar for playing the role of a mentally disabled person.

Continuous success, critical acclaim and popularity (1995–2002)[edit]

According to D. Ramanaidu, the "Most Beautiful Pairs of Telugu cinema" are NTR and Savitri, ANR and Vanisri, Chiranjeevi and Vijayashanti, Daggubati Venkatesh and Soundarya.

In 1997, she continued her successful run with Pavitra Bandham, Pelli Chesukundam, Amma Donga, Maa Aayana Bangaram, Osi Na Maradala and Aaro Pranam, winning acclaim from all over the industry for her performances. She also starred alongside South Indian superstar Rajinikanth in Arunachalam, which became the highest-grossing film of 1997 in Tamil cinema. This stardom made her come out of the shadow of mainstream heroines and she chose scripts which had a wide potential of performance even alongside big stars which was clearly reflected in her movies. Though the industry regarded her to be the golden hand, as a former director's daughter, she always regarded the success not as a one-man show, but teamwork across 36 departments.[8]

In 1998 the critical success of Choodalani Vundi, directed by Gunasekhar, opposite Chiranjeevi took her to the pinnacle. She also starred along Kamal Haasan and Prabhudeva in Kaathala Kaathala in Tamil in the same year, dubbed in Telugu as Navvandi Lavvandi, directed by Singeetam Srinivas Rao. Pelli Peetalu and Sri Ramulayya, Ninne Premistha in Telugu and Doni Saagali in Kannada were commercially successful. Anthahpuram, directed by Krishna Vamsi, stood as one of the finest performances of Soundarya in her career, winning her a State Nandi Award for Best Actress and also her second consecutive Filmfare Award for Best Actress. The producers and directors realized Soundarya's ability to be a crowd puller and the biggest plus for the promotion of the movie.

Her 1999 release Raja, opposite Venkatesh, was another blockbuster and won her a third Filmfare Award. Her other releases, Padayappa opposite Rajinikanth, Azad opposite Nagarjuna and Premaku Velayera, Premaku Swagatam and Arundathi further solidified her position. In the same year, she starred opposite Amitabh Bachchan in the Hindi movie Sooryavansham.[8]

In 2000, she starred in Annayya, opposite Chiranjeevi, Jayam Manadera and Devi Putrudu opposite Venkatesh, Ninne Premistha, opposite Nagarjuna and Srikanth and several others that displayedr acting abilities, such as Eduruleni Manishi and Sri Manjunatha opposite Chiranjeevi, Arjun Sarja, Ambareesh and Sumalatha and Narasimha, opposite Rajinikanth and Ramyakrishna, Pelli Peetalu, Dongata and Nagadevatha.[8] She also made guest appearances in songs - with Akkineni Nageswara Rao in Mayabazar, directed by Dasari Narayana Rao, in Adhipathi, with Akkineni Nagarjuna and in Shubhalagnam, with Ali. Later after the entry of the next generation, her market was slowed down.

In 2004 Balakrishna announced the remake of Nartanasala, and a launch event was held in Hyderabad. Soundarya was signed to play Draupadi[9] but the film was shelved following her death.

She worked with almost all the top directors, like Dasari Narayana Rao, K. Raghavendra Rao, Singeetam Srinivasa Rao, A. Kodandarami Reddy, Priyadarshan, Girish Kasaravalli, S. V. Krishna Reddy, K. S. Ravikumar, Krishna Vamsi, Kodi Ramakrishna, E. V. V. Satyanarayana, Muthyala Subbaiah, Gunasekhar, P. Vasu, Muppalaneni Shiva, Bharathi Kannan, Sundar C.

She starred opposite all major actors: with Super star Krishna in 5 movies, Mega star Chiranjeevi in 4 Telugu and 1 Kannada movie, Mohanlal in 1 movie, Nagarjuna in 5 movies, Venkatesh in 8 movies, Jagapathi Babu in 7 movies, Mohan Babu in 5 movies, Rajashekar in 5 movies, Suman in 3 movies, Harikrishna in 2 movies, Srikanth, Saikumar in 5 movies, Rajendra Prasad in 4 movies and Nandamuri Balakrishna in one movie. She has also acted with several other heroes such as Vinod Kumar, Naresh, Suresh, Harish, Abbas, Vineeth, Vadde Naveen, Ramesh Babu, Avinash, Bhanu Chander and J. D. Chakravarthy.[8]

In Tamil, she collaborated with superstar Rajinikanth for 3 movies, Kamal Haasan for one movie, Karthik for 3 movies, Arjun Sarja for 4 movies, Vijaykanth for 3 movies and Parthiban for 3 movies. She has also acted opposite Chiyaan Vikram, Anand, Rehman, and shared screen space with Shivaji Ganesan in Padayappa.[8]

Kannada film Career[edit]

In Kannada, she has acted with Vishunuvardhan, Anant Nag, Ravichandran, Shashikumar, Ramesh Arvind and Avinash. In 1996, she acted in the musical blockbuster Sipayi, along with Ravichandran and Chiranjeevi, dubbed in Telugu as Major. In 2002, she received the National Film Award for Best Feature Film (producer) for Dweepa. She also acted with Ambareesh in Sri Manjunatha. Her last film was Apthamitra, a runaway hit starring Vishnuvardhan and Ramesh Arvind. The film won her the Filmfare Award for Best Actress posthumously in 2004.

Other languages[edit]

Soundarya acted in the Hindi film Sooryavansham, opposite Amitabh Bachchan. She starred in several Tamil super-hits including Arunachalam and Padayappa with Rajinikanth and Kaadhala Kaadhala, with Kamal Haasan. She has acted in the Malayalam film Kilichundan Mampazham, with Mohanlal and Sreenivasan and Yathrakarude Sradhakku with Jayaram.


Soundarya had opened 3 schools for orphaned children in Bangalore, in the name of her father. After Soundarya's death, her mother Manjula started more schools, institutions and orphanages under the name "Amarsoundarya Vidalayas" in Bangalore.


On 17 April 2004, Soundarya died in an aircraft crash along with her brother Amarnath while travelling to Karimnagar from Bangalore during an election campaign to support Bharatiya Janata Party, which she had joined that year.[10]

The aircraft, a Cessna 180 owned by Agni Aerosports, took off at 11:05 a.m. and turned west before crashing on the campus of the Gandhi Krishi Vigyan Kendra of the University of Agricultural Sciences. It had reached only a height of 100 feet and burst into flames. B. N. Ganapathi, one of the two persons working on the experimental fields of the university, who rushed to the aircraft to save the occupants, said the plane wobbled before the crash.[11]

Awards and honours[edit]

Year Award Award Category Film Role
2003 National Film Awards National Film Award for Best Feature Film Dweepa Producer
1998 Karnataka State Film Awards Best Actress Doni Saagali Kshama
2003 Karnataka State Film Awards Best Actress Dweepa Nagi
1995 Filmfare Awards South Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu Ammoru Bhavani
1998 Filmfare Awards South Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu Anthapuram Bhanumati
1999 Filmfare Awards South Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu Raja[12] Anjali
2002 Filmfare Awards South Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress - Tamil Ivan (Nominated) Dikshanya
2003 Filmfare Awards South Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Kannada Dweepa Nagi
2003 Filmfare Awards South Filmfare Award for Best Film – Kannada Dweepa[13] Producer
2004 Filmfare Awards South Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Kannada Apthamitra (Posthumously awarded) Ganga / Nagavalli
1998 Nandi Awards Best Actress Antahpuram Bhanumathi
1996 Nandi Awards Best Actress Pavithra Bandham Radha
1994 Nandi Awards Best Actress Ammoru Bhavani


  1. ^ a b c Pandya, Haresh (10 May 2003). "Obituary: Soundarya". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b Pandya, Haresh (10 May 2004). "Soundarya". Online edition. The Guardian. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
  3. ^ "International Film Festival of India-2002". 26 September 2002. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^
  6. ^ TIMESOFINDIA, TIMESOFINDIA. "Soundarya's 44th Birth Anniversary: Remembering the evergreen actress of Telugu cinema". TIMESOFINDIA. TIMESOFINDIA. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  7. ^ Upadhyaya, Prakash. "After Savithri biopic Mahanati's success, filmmaker ponders next one on Soundarya". International Business Times. International Business Times. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Kumar, Ch Sushil (28 March 1998). "Child, woman, star". Interview. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
  9. ^ " - Connecting People Through News".
  10. ^ Press Trust of India (17 April 2004). "Soundarya killed in plane crash. its a tragedy". The Indian Express. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
  11. ^ "Indian actress dies in air crash". BBC News. 28 December 2020. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  12. ^ "Rahman bags 12th Filmfare award". Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]