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Nayanthara: The Lady Superstar Who Ruled South Indian Cinema for 20 Years

Nayanthara is one of the most successful and versatile actresses in South Indian cinema. She has acted in over 75 films in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam languages, and has won several awards and accolades for her performances. As she completes 20 years in the film industry, we take a look at her journey from a debutante to a superstar.

The Beginning

Nayanthara made her acting debut in 2003 with the Malayalam film Manassinakkare, where she played a young woman named Gauri who falls in love with an elderly widower. The film was a huge hit and Nayanthara received positive reviews for her role. She then ventured into Tamil cinema with Ayya (2005), where she played the love interest of Sarath Kumar. The film was also a success and Nayanthara gained recognition in the Tamil industry.

The Rise

Nayanthara’s breakthrough came with the blockbuster film Chandramukhi (2005), where she starred opposite Rajinikanth as his niece who gets possessed by a vengeful spirit. The film was a remake of the Malayalam film Manichitrathazhu, and Nayanthara impressed the audience with her performance as the innocent Durga and the fierce Viji. The film ran for over 800 days in theatres and Nayanthara became a household name.

Nayanthara then went on to act with leading actors like Vijay, Ajith, Suriya, Prabhas, Venkatesh, Nagarjuna and others. She also experimented with different genres and roles, such as a journalist in Billa (2007), a warrior princess in Arundhati (2009), a visually impaired woman in Yaaradi Nee Mohini (2008), a police officer in Anamika (2014) and a goddess in Sri Rama Rajyam (2011). She also won several awards, such as the Filmfare Award for Best Actress for Arundhati and Sri Rama Rajyam, the Nandi Award for Best Actress for Sri Rama Rajyam, and the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress for Billa.

The Comeback

Nayanthara took a break from acting in 2011, after her relationship with actor-director Prabhu Deva ended. She returned to the screen in 2013 with the romantic comedy Raja Rani, where she played a married woman who is unhappy with her husband. The film was a critical and commercial success, and Nayanthara received praise for her performance as Regina. The film also marked a turning point in her career, as she decided to focus on quality scripts and female-centric films.

Nayanthara then established herself as a solo star, who could carry a film on her own shoulders. She starred in films like Maya (2015), a horror thriller where she played a single mother and a struggling actress; Naanum Rowdy Dhaan (2015), a comedy where she played a deaf and mute girl who falls in love with a rowdy; Kolamavu Kokila (2018), a dark comedy where she played a drug smuggler; and Aramm (2017), a social drama where she played a district collector who saves a child trapped in a borewell. She also produced some of her films, such as Airaa (2019) and Netrikann (2021).

Nayanthara also continued to act with big stars, such as Vijay Sethupathi, Nivin Pauly, Chiranjeevi, Mammootty, Mohanlal and Rajinikanth. She also got engaged to her longtime boyfriend and director Vignesh Shivan in 2020. She recently celebrated her 75th film, Annaatthe, where she reunited with Rajinikanth. The film was released on Diwali and received positive response from the audience.

The Legacy

Nayanthara is widely regarded as the Lady Superstar of South Indian cinema, and one of the most influential and highest-paid actresses in the country. She has a huge fan following across the states, and has inspired many young actresses to pursue their dreams. She has also been featured in several magazines and lists, such as Forbes India’s Celebrity 100, Times of India’s Most Desirable Women, and Film Companion’s 10 Best Performances of Nayanthara in Tamil.

Nayanthara has also ventured into entrepreneurship, as she launched her own beauty brand, Kay Beauty, in 2019. She also supports various social causes, such as animal welfare, women empowerment and environmental protection. She is known for her professionalism, dedication and humility, and has earned the respect and admiration of her peers and fans alike.

Nayanthara is a rare example of an actress who has achieved both critical acclaim and commercial success, and has balanced both the actor and star in her. She has also overcome many challenges and controversies in her personal and professional life, and has emerged stronger and wiser. As she completes 20 years in the film industry, she is setting the stage for a far longer innings, and we can only expect more surprises and delights from her in the future.

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