When Nayanthara first made her debut in Tamil with 2005 film Ayya, she was not expected to survive in the industry for such a long time. But, she surprised everyone and proved her critics wrong by becoming the most sought after and top paid female actor in southern cinema. Nayanthara not just survived the industry, but she also exceeded all expectations. Now, she commands a significant fan following like her male counterparts. So much so that she is dubbed as the ‘Lady Superstar’ by the industry insiders, a reputation difficult to earn for female actors in a male-dominated field.
She is among the handful of south Indian female actors who are known for their fitness. She redefined herself in terms of her physical appearance and acting skills and overcame relationship issues and professional challenges to reach where she is today.
As the Lady Superstar turned 32 on Friday, here is the list of Nayanthara’s career-defining films.
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Chandramukhi: Although, she played the hero’s arm candy in this 2004 super hit film, sharing screen space with superstar Rajinikanth helped her get some recognition in the industry.
Vallavan: Nayanthara’s role in Vallavan is one of her bold and sensuous performances till date. Her role carried equal weight compared to the leading man in the film, played by Simbu, her boyfriend at the time.
Sivaji: Nayanthara was not the female lead in the film. She just appeared in a special song featuring Rajinikanth. But, it is the film that gave the Tamil audience the first glimpse of her transformation. She had dropped a lot of weight and she had no qualms about showing off her toned stomach in the song.
Billa: Another film that saw Nayanthara in a glamorous and memorable role. Probably she won over millions of new fans with her bold avatar even as she set a benchmark in the industry for sporting a bikini on screen.
Sri Rama Rajyam: Nayanthara later went on to work in several films, mostly adding to the glamour quotient of the films. But she pivoted from her usual choice of roles by starring in this 2011 mythological film. Her performance as Seetha also brought her awards, including a Filmfare award.
Raja Rani: This 2013 film was touted to be a comeback of sorts for Nayanthara in the Tamil industry. She had taken almost a year break from her acting career. Right when everyone thought she may never return to the big screen, she came back with a bang. And she also won awards for her performance.
Maya: Nayanthara’s solo film became one of the top-grossing films in 2015. The success of this horror-flick also gave the filmmakers the confidence that female-centric films are commercially viable.
Aramm: The upcoming film has Nayanthara in the lead role, in which she plays the role of an honest district collector. The team has wrapped the shooting. The film, which is directed by Minjur Gopi, will hit the screens soon and is tipped to be another solo hit film in Nayanthara’s filmography.