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For the director, producer and graphic designer, see Soundarya Rajinikanth.
Soundarya actress.jpg
Native name ಸೌಮ್ಯ
Born Sowmya Satyanarayan (Munna)
(1972-07-18)18 July 1972[1]
Mulbagal, Kolar, Karnataka, India
Died 17 April 2004(2004-04-17) (aged 31)
Bengaluru, India
Years active 1992–2004
Spouse(s) G. S. Raghu (m.2003-2004)

Soundarya Raghu (born Sowmya Satyanarayan) (18 July 1972 – 17 April 2004) was an Indian film actress and producer known for her works in Telugu cinema, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, and Bollywood films in lead roles.[2]

In 2002, she received the National Film Award for Best Feature Film as producer for the Kannada film, Dweepa. She received two Karnataka State Film Awards for Best Actress, several Filmfare Awards South, and the Nandi Awards, for her performances in films, such as Ammoru (1994), Anthapuram (1998), Raja (1999), Dweepa (2002), and Aaptamitra (2004).[2][3] At the peak of her career, Soundarya died in an aircraft crash near Bangalore on 17 April 2004 when she was on her way to Andhra Pradesh to campaign for the Bharatiya Janata Party.,[4][5] Soundarya's first movie was the Kannada movie Gandharva in 1992, produced by Hamsalekha. In the same year she entered Telugu movies through the movie Raithu bharatham.

Personal life[edit]

Soundarya, was born to industrialist, and Kannada film writer K. S. Satyanarayan in Kolar, Karnataka, India. She was born to Kannada speaking parents in Karnataka. She discontinued her M.B.B.S., and then married to G. S. Raghu, who is a Software Engineer. She had wide popularity and tremendous goodwill among Andhra pradesh and Telangana and probably the most successful actress after Savitri in the history of Telugu cinema and is often called "Savitri of modern Telugu cinema".She died in the 2004 aircraft crash, which happened in Bangalore, during an election campaign.[6]

Early career and Rise to Fame[edit]

Soundarya's first movie was the Kannada film Gandharva in 1992. Then the same year she acted in the Telugu movie Raithu Bharatham opposite superstar Krishna, directed by Tripuraneni sriprasad alias varaprasad. Soundarya was one of the most prominent actress of 1990's. She is particularly regarded as the "Savitri of Modern Telugu cinema" because of her screen presence and phenomenal success. She was a versatile actress of her times, enacting strong, positive and responsible characters in each of her movies. She preferred performance-oriented roles and took a tough stand on glamour, throughout her career. These unique features worked out completely in her favour and struck a chord with a wide audience base, earning her immense popularity in the state of Andhra Pradesh (undivided state). She made 114 movies, predominantly in Telugu, in a span of twelve years. Her brilliant performances made her critically and commercially one of the successful heroines. Telugu superstar Venkatesh once described her as "a thorough actress".[7]

In her first hit in Telugu, in 1993, she acted the leading role alongside Rajendra Prasad in Rajendrudu Gajendrudu, directed by S.V.Krishna Reddy. She had a decent start with another pair of releases in the same year. The real commercial recognition came with Hello Brother (1994) in which she starred alongside Nagarjuna and Ramya Krishna. The film became the biggest blockbuster of 1994. Most of her other releases in 1994 had a decent run. In 1995, she had acted in Pedarayudu, a remake of the Tamil film Nattamai, alongside Mohan Babu for the first time, and the movie was critically appreciated and highly successful. Following this success, she starred with all Tollywood's biggest stars like Chiranjeevi in Rikshavodu, with Venkatesh in Super Police, with Balakrishna in Top Hero. Top Hero was an average while Rikshavodu and Super Police flopped at the box office. But she had an award-winning role in Ammoru, where she played the pivotal role of a selfless devotee to Goddess Ammoru; the film was a big success and it specially showcased her acting skills. She stood ahead with eleven movie releases in 1995.[7]

In 1996, Soundarya had another critical and commercial success through Pavitra Bandham, alongside Venkatesh, where she acted as a woman who signs for a contract marriage for supporting her family. Intlo Illalu Vantintlo Priyuralu and Ramudochadu have given her a credit of golden hand. This continuous success and popularity made Soundarya the reigning Queen of Telugu cinema, and she was referred popularly as NUMERO UNO by the Telugu media and magazines.

Continuous success, critical acclaim and popularity (1997–2001)[edit]

Soundarya along with her contemporary Ramya Krishna paved a way for strong performance-oriented roles and led to a change in the characterizations of heroines in Telugu Film Industry.

In 1997, she continued her success with Pelli Chesukundam, 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. Soundarya, apart from good performances and a growing lady fan following, emerged as the golden hand with her continuous successes when her rivals faced constant debacles. 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 the team work between 36 departments. Soundarya's intensity in performances, expressions, her beautiful face, her lady fan following and phenomenal success were all in common with Savitri, and she was able to earn fame as a replacement to Mahanati Savitri.[7]

Furthermore, the critical success of Chudalani Vundi opposite Chiranjeevi in 1998 made her reach the pinnacle of her career. She also starred along Kamal Hassan in Kaathala Kaathala in Tamil in the same year. Pelli Peetalu and Sri Ramulayya in Telugu and Doni Saagali in Kannada were commercially highly successful. Anthapuram, directed by Krishnavamshi, stood as one of the finest performances of Soundarya in her career, winning her a State Nandi award and also her second consecutive Filmfare Award. 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 her third Filmfare. Her other releases, Padayappa opposite Rajinikanth, Azad opposite Nagarjuna, and Premaku Velayera and Arundathi further solidified her position. In the same year she starred opposite Amitabh Bachchan in Suryavansham, which was one of the only failures of her career, and prevented her from entering into the Bollywood business.[7]

In 2000, she starred in yet another commercial success, Annayya opposite Chiranjeevi, Jayam Manadera and Deviputrudu opposite Venkatesh, Ninne premista opposite Nagarjuna and several others and went on displaying her acting abilities, continuing her successful journey with films like Eduruleni manishi, Sri manjunatha, Narasimha, Pelli peetalu, Dongata, and Nagadevatha.[7]

She had around 10 film releases each year, most of them in Telugu, from 1993 to 2001, which reflects her path breaking success. After the entry of budding next generation, she slowed down but even later she went on acting seven films each year till 2004. Besides being recognized for her talent, her directors and costars describe her as an honest, grounded and friendly person.[7]

Kannada Cinema and National Film Award[edit]

In 2002, she has received the National Film Award for Best Feature Film (producer) for Dweepa. Her last film was the Kannada film Apthamitra, a run away hit with Vishnuvardhan. This film also won her the Filmfare Award for Best Actress posthumously in 2004.

Other languages[edit]

Soundarya acted in the Hindi film, Sooryavansham, alongside Amitabh Bachchan. She was also starred in Tamil super hits, such as Arunachalam, Padayappa alongside Rajinikanth, and Kaadhala Kaadhala alongside Kamal Haasan.She acted in mollywood as female lead in Kilichundan mambhazham with Mohanlal and Sreenivasan.

Politics and accidental death[edit]

Soundarya died in an aircraft crash near Bangalore on 17 April 2004 when she was on her way to Karimnagar to campaign for the Bharatiya Janata Party and Telugu Desam Party candidate for the upcoming elections. She was pregnant when she died.[4][5][6] The aircraft took off at 11:05 a.m. and turned in a westerly direction 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 before it crashed 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.


Year Film Language Role Notes
1992 Gandharva Kannada Sudha Debut movie
1992 Raithu Bharatham Telugu Soundarya
1992 Baa Nanna Preethisu Kannada
1992 Manavarali Pelli Telugu Soundarya
1993 Nanna Thangi Kannada
1993 Vijaya Kranthi Kannada
1993 Ponnumani Tamil Chinthamani
1993 Rajendrudu Gajendrudu Telugu Lalitha
1993 Amma Naa Kodala Telugu Neelima
1993 Number One Telugu Soundarya
1993 Mayalodu Telugu Siri
1993 Inspector Jhansi Telugu Jhansi
1993 Asalae Pellaina Vanni Telugu
1993 Donga Alludu Telugu Latha
1994 Thooguve Krishnana Kannada
1994 Madam Telugu Soundarya
1994 Hello Brother Telugu Ooha
1994 Allari Premikudu Telugu Jhansi
1994 Top Hero Telugu Chitra
1994 Super Police Telugu Bharathi
1995 Amma Donga Telugu Kumari Padma Priya
1995 Muthu Kaalai Tamil Poonjolai
1995 Dear Son Maruthu Tamil Raani
1995 Rikshavodu Telugu Narasakka
1995 Ammoru Telugu Bhavani Nandi Award for Best Actress
Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu
Dubbed in Tamil as Amman
1995 Bhale Bullodu Telugu Raadha
1995 Amma Naa Kodala Telugu Neelima
1995 Peddarayudu Telugu Bharathi
1995 Chilakapachcha Kaapuram Telugu Satyavathi
1995 Raja Simham Telugu Sundari
1995 Vetagadu Telugu
1995 Balaraju Bangaru Pellam Telugu
1995 Maya Bazaar Telugu Herself
1996 Jagadekaveerudu Telugu Soundarya
1996 Pavithra Bandham Telugu Radha Nandi Award for Best Actress
1996 Maa Voori Maraju Telugu Satyavathi
1996 Ramudochadu Telugu Soundaryaananda Aravindha Vadhana SundaraLakshmi
1996 Intlo Illalu Vantintlo Priyuralu Telugu Seeta
1996 Puttinti Gowravam Telugu
1996 Maa Inti Adapadachu Telugu Janaki
1996 Sipayi Kannada
1996 Urmila Telugu
1996 Senathipathi Tamil Aishwarya
1996 Prema Pranayam Telugu
1997 Pellichesukundam Telugu Shanti
1997 Adirindi Guru Telugu
1997 Taraka Ramudu Telugu Taraka Dubbed in Tamil as "Velli Nilave"
1997 Maa Aayana Bangaram Telugu Vennela, Sruthi
1997 Oosi Na Maradala Telugu Manisha Koirala, Kanchana Mala
1997 Aaro Pranam Telugu Maknaa, Aakaanksha
1997 Arunachalam Tamil Vedhavalli
1997 Priyaragalu Telugu Priya
1998 Choodalani Vundi Telugu Padmavathi
1998 Pelli Peetalu Telugu Anjali
1998 Sri Ramulayya Telugu Seethamma
1998 Sooryudu Telugu Panthulamma Prameela
1998 Doni Saagali Kannada Karnataka State Film Award for Best Actress
1998 Anthapuram/Anthapuram Telugu/Tamil Bhanumathi Nandi Award for Best Actress
Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu
1998 Thambulalu Telugu
1998 Dongata Telugu SubbaLakshmi
1998 Subha Vaartha Telugu Meghana
1998 Rayudu Telugu Madhavi
1998 Kaathala Kaathala Tamil Sundari
1999 Mannavaru Chinnavaru Tamil
1999 Raja Telugu Anjali Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu
1999 Aryabhata Kannada Bharathi
1999 Anaganaga O Ammayi Telugu Sandhya
1999 Arundhati Telugu Arundhati
1999 Premaku Velayara Telugu Madhavi, Malathi
1999 Manavudu Danavudu Telugu
1999 Padayappa Tamil Vasundhara Dubbed in Telugu as "Narasimha"
1999 Naanu Nanna Hendthiru Kannada Seetha
1999 Sooryavansham Hindi Radha Singh
1999 Mayadari Mosagadu Telugu Latha
2000 Annayya Telugu Gajjela Kanaka Maha Lakshmi Devi
2000 Jayam Manade Raa Telugu Uma
2000 Ninne Premistha Telugu Meghamala
2000 Moodu Mukkalata Telugu Shravani
2000 Ravanna Telugu pirralamma Sirisha
2000 Azad Telugu Anjali Dubbed in Tamil as "Gurushethram" and Dubbed in Hindi as "Mission Azad"
2000 Naga Devathe/Naga Devatha Kannada/Telugu Goddess Nagamma Dubbed in Tamil as "Nagadevathai"
2000 Postman Telugu Archana
2001 Devi Putrudu Telugu Karna Dubbed in Tamil as "Paapa" and Dubbed in Hindi as "Aaj Ka Deviputra"
2001 Sri Manjunatha Kannada/Telugu Katyaayini
2001 Eduruleni Manishi Telugu Vasundhara
2001 Sarduku Podam Randi Telugu Raadha
2001 Naa Manasisthaa Raa Telugu Nandhini
2001 9 Nelalu Telugu Savithri Dubbed in Tamil as "Kanden Seethaiyai"
2001 Adhipati Telugu Jagan's fiancee
2001 Eshwar Allah Telugu
2001 Vijayadasami/Thaye Bhuvaneswary Kannada/Tamil Goddess Bhuvaneswary Dubbed in Telugu as "Peddamma Talli"
2001 Thavasi Tamil Priyadarshini
2001 Kalisi Naduddam Telugu Vijaya
2002 Kondaveeti Simhasanam Telugu Chitti
2002 Premaku Swagatham Telugu Lahari
2002 Yathrakarude Sradhakku Malayalam Jyothi
2002 Gelupu Telugu
2002 Ivan Tamil Dikshanya
2002 Dweepa Kannada Nagi Also as Producer
National Film Award for Best Feature Film
Karnataka State Film Award for Best Actress
Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Kannada
Filmfare Award for Best Film – Kannada
2003 Chokka Thangam Tamil Pavala
2003 Prema Donga Telugu
2003 Seetayya Telugu Seetha
2003 Kilichundan Mampazham Malayalam Amina
2003 Sri Renukadevi Kannada Goddess Renuka Devi Dubbed in Tamil as "Namma Ooru Ellaiamman" and Dubbed in Hindi as "Ma Ka Chamatkar"
2004 Shwetha Nagaa/Shwetha Naagara Telugu / Kannada Madhu Posthumously released. Dubbed in Tamil as "Madhumathi"
2004 Shiva Shankar Telugu Padma Posthumously released
2004 Apthamitra Kannada Ganga / Nagavalli Posthumously released
Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Kannada


National Film Awards
Karnataka State Film Awards
Filmfare Awards South


Nandi Awards


  1. ^ Pandya, Haresh (10 May 2004). "Obituary: Soundarya". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 May 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Pandya, Haresh (2004-05-10). "Soundarya". Online edition. The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  3. ^ "International Film Festival of India-2002". 2002-09-26. Retrieved 2013-05-29. 
  4. ^ a b "Indian Actress Soundarya Dies in Plane Crash". online edition. Voice of America news. 2004-04-17. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  5. ^ a b Hemant Raj, Ashwin (2005-04-17). "Soundarya dies in plane crash". Online edition. Times of India. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  6. ^ a b Press Trust of India (2004-04-17). "Soundarya killed in plane crash. its a tragedy". The Indian Express. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Kumar, Ch Sushil (1998-03-28). "Child, woman, star". Interview. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 

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