Amala Paul (born 26 October 1991)[2] is an Indian actress and producer who predominantly appears in Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu films. Starting her career acting debut in the Malayalam film Neelathamara (2009), in a minor supporting role, she later appeared as the lead actress role in the Tamil film Mynaa (2010).[3]

Amala Paul
Paul at Filmfare Awards South Function
Born (1991-10-26) 26 October 1991 (age 32)
Aluva, Kerala, India
  • Actress
  • Producer
Years active2009–present
(m. 2014; div. 2017)
Jagat Desai
(m. 2023)

Having carved her own niche, Amala has found success having appeared and delivering hits in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada films, making her one of the most highest-paid and sought-after personalities in the South Industry. She recently ventured to Hindi cinema as well.

Over the years, she's been a part of top grossers like Deiva Tirumagal, Muppozhudhum Un Karpanaigal, Naayak, Run Baby Run, Iddarammayilatho, VIP, Pasanga 2, Hebbuli, Ratsasan, and the critically acclaimed Aadujeevitham. [4]

Early life edit

Amala Paul was born on 26 October 1991 in Ernakulam, Kerala.[2][5] Amala belongs to a Syro-Malabar Catholic Syrian Christian family,[6][7] and was born to Paul Varghese (d. 2017) and Annice Paul.[8] Her brother Abijith Paul also appeared in films following Amala's entry into the film industry. After completing her schooling from Nirmala Higher Secondary School Aluva,[9][10] she took a sabbatical to begin a career in films, but has since joined St. Teresa's College in Kochi, to pursue a B.A. degree in English.[11][12]

Amala's father had been strictly against Amala pursuing an acting career, but was forced to accept her decision with her brother strongly backing her ambition.[11] She later claimed that she had performing arts in her, revealing that her mother was a singer and her dad was into theatre in college.[13]

Career edit

2009–2010: Early career edit

After finishing studies, Lal Jose offered her a supporting role in his film, Neelathamara (2009). Despite emerging a success, the film failed to attract any further offers, as she had anticipated.[14] She pursued roles in Tamil films and went on to sign for the low-budget comedy film Vikadakavi, which was delayed and ultimately became her sixth release, while also signing on to play the lead role in another small budget film Veerasekaran (2010). The film, which became her maiden Tamil release, was panned by critics and went completely unnoticed,[15][16] while Paul's role was labelled as "minimal",[15] and she later cited that she regretted doing the film and many of her scenes were edited out.[14] Paul then went on to work in Samy's controversial Sindhu Samaveli (2010), portraying the role of Sundari, who has an illicit relationship with her father-in-law. She was approached after the major portions of her next release, Mynaa were ready, and signed on for Sindhu Samaveli before listening to the entirety of the story, claiming that she was shocked but not upset with the controversial scenes which she heard later. The director of the film had previously drawn criticism for his depictions of illicit romances as well as for assaulting his previous lead actress in a film, but Paul played down the issue citing that she had no problem with the director.[14] Upon release, the film met with contrasting reviews, whilst some critics refused to give the film a rating, declaring their disgust at the film's plot.[17][18] Paul claimed that she received death threats from anonymous callers and was publicly scolded by women at a cinema hall in Chennai.[19]

Paul's next release, the romantic drama film Mynaa (2010), by Prabhu Solomon, made her a recognised actress in the industry. The film had garnered much anticipation prior to release, with noted distributors Udhayanidhi Stalin and Kalpathi S. Aghoram purchasing the rights of the film after being impressed with it.[20] Paul played the village belle Mynaa[21][22] The film was success at the box office.[20]

2011–2019: Experimentation and success edit

Following the success of the Tamil film, Mynaa, Paul became touted as the "new top star of 2011" as she subsequently signed on to several prominent projects.[3] Her first release of 2011 was in a supporting role in the Malayalam drama film Ithu Nammude Katha, a remake of the successful Tamil film Naadodigal, and the second was meant to be her launch in Tamil films, the coming-to-age tale of five friends Vikadakavi, with the film opening to limited screens. Both films opened to limited screens due to the moderate budget of the projects, with her performance in the latter being described as "full of potential".[23] She went on to sign three big budget films with established production houses, with the drama Deiva Thirumagal, directed by Vijay, featuring her opposite Vikram and alongside Anushka,[11] becoming her next release. Her portrayal of school correspondent Shwetha Rajendran won critical acclaim, with a reviewer citing that her "expressive eyes help her leave a mark in a small but important role", whilst another critic claimed that she "acquits herself well".[24][25] Her final release of 2011 was Ram Gopal Varma's Bejawada, which marked her début in Telugu language films.[26]

Paul's first release of 2012 was in Lingusamy's Vettai, alongside Arya, Madhavan and Sameera Reddy.[11] The film opened to critical and commercial acclaim with The New York Times claiming that the film "entertains without breaking any new ground, though it can also surprise".[27] Paul won mixed feedback for her performance, while the critic from Sify mentioned that she "is lovely to look at and her feisty performance proves that a star is born".[28] Pavithra Srinivasan of cited that she "struts, pouts and hams to the hilt".[29] The actress had three films released on the Valentine's Day weekend of 2012, with Balaji Mohan's bilingual Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi / Love Failure becoming critical and commercial successes. The film, made in Tamil and Telugu, featured her alongside Siddharth and portrayed her as a college girl, Parvathi, showing her romantic skills. About the Tamil version, a reviewer from The Hindu wrote: "Amala Paul, after coming across as convincing in her last few movies, looks finally set as a leading lady", while another critic labelled that she "comes across as natural" and "it is a pleasure to see her in a role and costumes that suit her age as compared to her recent movies".[30][31] called the Telugu version of the film "refreshing", highlighting that the lead pair's on-screen chemistry "sparkles".[32] The romantic thriller Muppozhudhum Un Karpanaigal, opposite Atharvaa, also released on the same day in which she played Charulatha, a modern girl based in Bangalore. The film won mixed reviews, though the lead pair's on-screen chemistry was praised by critics, while another reviewer noted that "Amala renders an effortless act".[33][34] She played a notable role in renowned director Dr. Biju's Akasathinte Niram, which was her first art-house film. The film was screened at the competition section for the Golden Goblet Award in the 15th Shanghai International Film Festival. She paired with veteran Malayalam actor Mohanlal in the film Run Baby Run, in which she played the role of a senior news channel editor. The film was a big commercial success and her performance as well as her chemistry with Mohanlal were highly appreciated.[35]

In 2013, Paul achieved her first commercial success in Telugu cinema. Her first release in 2013, V. V. Vinayak's directorial Naayak, opposite Ram Charan, went on to be one of the biggest critical as well as commercial successes of the year.[36] Her next film was Puri Jagannadh's romantic comedy Iddarammayilatho opposite Allu Arjun. Sangeetha Devi Dundroo of The Hindu commented: "Amala Paul manages to pull off a character that traverses a thin line between being naïve and downright silly. We wish we saw more of her."[37] Another reviewer, Sasidhar AS from The Times of India commented: "Amala Paul's characterisation is a delight, and she plays Komali so effectively that you'll be left wondering who else could have done the role better than her. She was a perfect choice to play a traditional Telugu girl."[38] She was later seen in A. L. Vijay's action entertainer Thalaivaa, opposite Vijay, as a police officer.[39] Her last release of the year was the Malayalam film Oru Indian Pranayakadha.[40]

In 2014, her first release was Samuthirakani's Nimirndhu Nil, opposite Jayam Ravi,[41] which was simultaneously shot in Telugu as Janda Pai Kapiraju, in which Nani reprised the role of Jayam Ravi.[42] Her second release saw her collaborating with Dhanush in the blockbuster film, VIP. Paul's performance was well received and also saw her reprising her role in its sequel, VIP 2 in 2017 that was a commercial success as well. [43]

With four releases In 2015, two of her movies hit the mark where she starred in the titular role Mili with Nivin Pauly, a malayalam film that became one of the profitable films of the year. She also co-starred with Suriya in Pasanga 2 that was a blockbuster. [44]

2016 saw Amala in different roles, with Amma Kanakku that was co-produced by Dhanush, an official remake of Nil Battey Sannata by Ashwini Iyer, showcased her acting prowess winning acclaim for her performance. However, in 2017 she starred in her Kannada film opposite Sudeepa in Hebbuli that was a major commercial success marking Amala's debut film collecting 100 crores at the box office.[citation needed]

Amala switched back to two Tamil releases in 2018, both which went on to become major commercial successes. Bhaskar Oru Rascal saw her playing the role of Anu opposite Arvind Swamy. While in Ratsasan, she starred alongside Vishnu Vishal that received critical acclaim, becoming one of the cult thriller movies of Tamil cinema. And in 2019, she starred in Tamil-Telugu bilingual solo release, Aadai, that received positive reviews. [45]

2021–present: Continued success edit

After the Pandemic, Paul starred in a number of OTT projects. In 2021, she appeared in anthology film with Kutty Story and Pitta Kathalu. She next seen in web series, Kudi Yedamaithe in Telegu, Ranjish Hi Sahi in Hindi and Victim: Who is Next? in Tamil. The OTT film, Cadaver (2022), which is an investigative thriller was released on Disney+ Hotstar on 12 August. This movie also saw Amala venture into Production.[46]

She was also seen in back to back Malayalam films, The Teacher and Christopher which turned out average. In 2023, she made her feature film Hindi debut with a cameo appearance alongside Ajay Devgn in Bholaa. [47]

2024 saw one of Amala's biggest and highest grossing release with the critically acclaimed Aadujeevitham. Starring alongside Prithviraj, the movie saw light after 16 years of development and work which turned out to become one of the highest-grossing Malayalam films of all time collecting more than 150 crores, also becoming one of the highest grossing Indian movies of 2024. Her performance was highly appreciated by all leading critics and audiences alike. [48]

Personal life edit

Amala had changed her on-screen name to Anakha, on director Samy's insistence, who cited that another actress, Amala had already made her name popular. However, after the failure of her 2011 film Sindhu Samaveli, she reverted to her birth name, since she felt that the replacement had brought her bad luck.[11] Her brother Abhijith Paul is also an actor and appeared in minor roles in a few films.[49]

As early as 2011, when Amala was working on Deiva Thirumagal, she was romantically linked to director A. L. Vijay, but denied that the pair were dating.[50] On 7 June 2014, she got engaged to Vijay at Aluva in Kochi.[51] The couple got married on 12 June 2014 at Mayor Ramanathan Chettiar Hall, Chennai.[52][53] In 2016, Amala and Vijay filed for a divorce due to disagreement between her and her in-laws on continuing her acting career.[54][55] They divorced in 2017.[56] She later married entrepreneur Jagat Desai in 2023.[57]In January 2024, they announced that they were expecting their first child.[58]

In January 2018, Amala was arrested for tax evasion. A crime branch investigation had found that she had registered her luxury car in Puducherry with fake documents.[59][60] Later, the case was closed citing jurisdictional issues.[61]

Filmography edit

Films edit

Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Title Role Language Notes Ref.
2009 Neelathamara Beena Malayalam
2010 Veerasekaran Sugandhi Tamil
Sindhu Samaveli Sundari Credited as Anakha
Mynaa Mynaa
2011 Ithu Nammude Katha Aishwarya Malayalam
Vikadakavi Kavitha Tamil
Deiva Thirumagal Shwetha Rajendran
Bejawada Geetanjali Telugu
2012 Vettai Jayanthi Tamil
Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi / Love Failure Parvathi Tamil/Telugu Bilingual Film in Tamil & Telugu
Muppozhudhum Un Karpanaigal Charulatha (Charu / Latha) Tamil
Akasathinte Niram Young lady Malayalam
Run Baby Run Renuka
2013 Naayak Nandini Telugu
Iddarammayilatho Komali Sankarabharanam
Thalaivaa ACP Meera Narayanan Tamil
Oru Indian Pranayakadha Irene Gardner Malayalam
2014 Nimirndhu Nil Poomari Tamil
Velaiilla Pattadhari Dr. Shalini
Kathai Thiraikathai Vasanam Iyakkam Herself Special appearance
Iyobinte Pusthakam Dancer Malayalam Cameo appearance
2015 Mili Milli
Janda Pai Kapiraju Indumathi Telugu
Lailaa O Lailaa Anjali Menon (Lailaa) Malayalam
Pasanga 2 Venba Thamizh Nadan Tamil
2016 2 Penkuttikal Aswathy Malayalam
Amma Kanakku Shanti Gopal Tamil [62]
Shajahanum Pareekuttiyum Jia Malayalam
2017 Hebbuli Nandhini Kannada [63]
Achayans Rita Malayalam
Velaiilla Pattadhari 2 Dr. Shalini Raghuvaran Tamil
Thiruttu Payale 2 Agalya Selvam
2018 Bhaskar Oru Rascal Anu
Ratsasan Vijaya "Viji" Lakshmi
2019 Aadai Kamini / Sudhanthira Kodi
2021 Kutty Story Mrinalini Segment: "Edhirpaara Mutham" [64]
Pitta Kathalu Meera Telugu Segment: "Meera" [65][66]
2022 Cadaver Dr. Badhra Thangavel Tamil Also producer [67][68]
The Teacher Devika Malayalam [69]
2023 Christopher Sulekha [70]
Bholaa Dr. Swara Hindi Cameo appearance [71]
2024 Aadujeevitham Sainu Malayalam [72]
Level Cross Chaitali Completed [73]
Dvija TBA Filming [74]

Television edit

Year Title Role Language Notes Ref.
2021 Kudi Yedamaithe CI Durga Goud Telugu [75]
2022 Ranjish Hi Sahi Amna Parvez Hindi [76]
Raju Vootla Party Herself Tamil Promote Cadaver [77]
Victim: Who is Next? Anjana Tamil Episode: "Confession"

Awards edit

List of awards
Year Award Category Film Result Ref.
2011 Amrita-FEFKA Film Awards Best Actress -Tamil Mynaa Won [78]
Edison Awards Best Debut Actress Won [citation needed]
Tamil Nadu State Film Awards Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress Won [79]
MGR-Sivaji Awards Best New Actress Won [citation needed]
Vijay Awards Best Debutant Actress Won [80]
2012 Jaya Awards Youth Female Icon of the Year Deiva Thirumagal Won [citation needed]
1st South Indian International Movie Awards Rising Female Star of South Indian cinema Won [citation needed]
2013 2nd South Indian International Movie Awards Best Actress – Malayalam Run Baby Run Won [citation needed]
2014 Vanitha Film Awards Most Popular Actress Oru Indian Pranayakadha Won [81][82]
Asianet Film Awards Best Actress Won [citation needed]
3rd South Indian International Movie Awards Best Actress – Malayalam Won [citation needed]
Amrita Film Awards Best Actor (Female) Won [citation needed]
2015 Vijay Awards Best Actress Velaiilla Pattadhari Won [citation needed]
The Times of India Most Desirable Married Women of Kollywood Won [83]
Asiavision Awards Outstanding performer of the year – Female Mili Won [citation needed]
2016 11th Ramu Karyat Awards Best Actress Won [citation needed]
Filmfare Awards South Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress – Malayalam Won [citation needed]
2019 Behindwoods Gold Medal Behindwoods Gold Medal For Best Actress Critics – Tamil Aadai Won [84]
Critics Choice Movie Awards - Tamil Best Actress in a Leading Role Won [citation needed]
Tamil Cinema Journalist Dailies Association Awards Won [citation needed]

References edit

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External links edit