Kasthuri (actress)

Kasthuri Shankar is an Indian film actress who has appeared in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada language films.

Kasthuri Shankar
Alma mater
Years active1991 – present

After winning the Miss Madras 1992 beauty pageant, Kasthuri began an acting career through Kasthuri Raja's Aatha Un Koyilile (1991). In the early 2010s, she made a comeback and took on roles as a supporting actress and as a television host.[1]


During her education at Ethiraj College for Women, Kasthuri became interested in modelling and later went on to win the Femina Miss Madras beauty pageant for 1992.[2] She received film offers and subsequently made her acting debut through Kasthuri Raja's Aatha Un Koyilile (1991), where she portrayed a wealthy girl in a village. She continued to work in small budget Tamil films such as the horror drama Rasathi Varum Naal (1991) and Manivannan's Government Mappillai (1992), before working alongside Prabhu on more mainstream films such as Gangai Amaran's Chinnavar (1992) and P. Vasu's Senthamizh Paattu (1992). During the same period, she worked on her first Telugu and Malayalam films as a lead actress. After garnering popularity for her early films, she was cast opposite Rajinikanth in P. Vasu's Uzhaippali (1993), but was later dropped from the project.[2]

In the mid-1990s, Kasthuri was the subject of a 30-minute documentary film Kasthuri: A South Indian Film star made by Richard Breyer and N. C. Rajamani.[3][4] Kasthuri then continued to work as the lead actress in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam films, notably appearing in successful films such as the horror drama Athma (1993), the political satire Amaidhi Padai (1995) and as the title character in Chinna Mani (1995). At the height of her popularity, her Telugu film Merupu (1996) co-starring Anand and Vikram, was dubbed and released in Tamil as Miss Madras, owing to her success in the competition.

Kasthuri was then cast alongside Kamal Haasan in Shankar's action drama Indian (1996), where she portrayed a pivotal supporting role a poor student. She later won critical acclaim for her role as Akkalamma in the Telugu devotional film, Annamayya (1997), where she starred alongside Nagarjuna and Ramya Krishnan.[5] She then appeared opposite Prashanth in Agathiyan's romantic drama Kaadhal Kavithai (1998), and won attention for her performance in a song.[6] As her roles diminished in Tamil and Telugu films, Kasthuri began to take up supporting roles towards the end of her first stint.

In the late 2000s, Kasthuri returned to India owing to her mother's ailing health and decided to make a comeback as an actress. However, several of the films that she signed during the period were dropped or unreleased including Selva's Nootrukku Nooru, Milind Rau's Kadhal 2 Kalyanam and Venkat's Kadhirvel, where she was signed to perform in an item number.[7] Her first release during her second stint was the action drama Malai Malai (2009), and she followed it up with a single song appearance in the comedy Thamizh Padam (2010).[8] Throughout the mid-2010s, she continued to shift base between the US and India, and acted in more films in guest appearances and in single song appearances. She also notably portrayed a key supporting role as an investigative agent in Adhik Ravichandran's Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan (2017), appearing alongside Silambarasan. The film garnered fanfare prior to release, but the commercial failure of the film saw a proposed sequel cancelled.[5]

Other work


Kasthuri works as quiz master at staged events and on television. She had taken an early interest during childhood in participating in quiz events, and later continued making competitive appearances, and notably appeared as a contestant on BBC's Mastermind India in 2000. [9] She later made a comeback to hosting television-based quiz shows in the 2010s, and worked on Vina Vidai Vettai for Puthuyugam TV.[10]

After rejecting the opportunity to appear on the Tamil reality television show Bigg Boss Tamil in 2018, she joined the third season of the show in 2019 as a wildcard contestant.[5]

After that,she made her comeback to Telugu audience in Intinti Gruhalakshmi serial which airs on Star Maa now.[11]It is her 1st debut into TV serials.


Kasthuri is an active commentator regarding social issues through an occasional column with the Times of India and via Twitter, and her tweets have sometimes elicited debate in the media.[12] In early 2017, she questioned Rajinikanth's ability as a potential politician, and her opinion garnered criticism from the actor's fans.[13][14] In late 2018, she criticised Rajinikanth's ignorance over the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and engaged in a further exchange with Rajinikanth's supporters.[15] Kasthuri spoke out as a part of the Me Too movement in India, suggesting that her reluctance to give into patriarchal behaviour meant that she was removed from several film projects. She revealed that one male actor took a particular vengeance against her for her rebuff to his advances, and subsequently made it difficult for her to work on other projects.[16][17][18]

In 2014, she was photographed as a part of Jade Beall's book The Bodies of Mothers: A Beautiful Body Project.[19] The images from the shoot were later illegally shared by Indian websites, and Kasthuri announced that she would take legal action against the sites.[5]

Personal life

Her father Shankar was an engineer from IIT and her mother, Sumathi, was an advocate.[20] She has a daughter who is a leukaemia survivor.[16][5]


Year Film Role Language Notes
1991 Aatha Un Koyilile Kasthuri Tamil
Chakravarthy Praseetha Malayalam
Rasathi Varum Naal Radha Tamil
1992 Government Mappillai Mallaria
Chinnavar Meena
Urimai Oonjaladugiradhu Uma
Senthamizh Pattu Shanmathi
Abhirami Dhanam
Gang War Kaveri Telugu
1993 Rakkayi Koyil Vellaiyamma Tamil
Pudhiya Mugam Raja's first wife
Pass Mark Shanthi
Aathma Uma
Udan Pirappu Sumathi
Nippu Ravva Bharathi Telugu
Enga Muthalali Kalyani Tamil
1994 Amaidhi Padai Thayamma
Watchman Vadivel Radha
Raja Pandi Ponnuthaayi
Thendral Varum Theru Nalini
Jaana Kasturi Kannada
1995 Sindhu Bath Shobana Tamil
Chinna Mani Chinna Mani
Kolangal Uma
God Father Aruna Telugu
Agrajan Sreedevi Malayalam
Radholsavam Chempakam
Aniyan Bava Chetan Bava Ammu
1996 Ibbara Naduve Muddina Aata - Kannada
Indian Kasthuri Tamil
Krishna Lizy
Soggadi Pellam - Telugu
Merupu Prema
1997 Chilakkottudu Kasturi
Ratha Yatra -
Annamayya Akkalamma
Maa Aayana Bangaram
1998 Mangalya Pallakku Seethalakshmi Malayalam
Thutta Mutta Dr. Seema Kannada
One Man Army Kasthoori
Sneham Radhika Malayalam
Kaadhal Kavidhai Kasthuri Tamil
1999 Habba Anu Kannada
Suyamvaram Uma Tamil
Panchapaandavar Nandini Malayalam
2001 Engalukkum Kaalam Varum Pooja Tamil
Dosth - Special appearance in the song "Hey Sal Sal"
Akasa Veedhilo Padma Telugu
Premakke Sai Vedha Kannada
2002 Adheena - Malayalam
2009 Malai Malai Lakshmi Tamil
2010 Thamizh Padam - Special appearance in the song "Kuthuvilakku"
Gudu Gudu Gunjam Malleeshwari Telugu
Don Seenu Lakshmi
2011 Pathinaaru Ilavarasi Tamil Guest appearance
Thoonga Nagaram - Special appearance
2012 Naanga Chithra
2013 Azhagan Azhagi - Special appearance in the song "Ethuvarai Vaanam"
Naan Rajavaga Pogiren Bharathi
2014 Vadacurry Satish's sister in law
Naan Ponnu Ondru Kanden - Special appearance in the song "Othaya Retaya"
2017 Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan Ruby
Samanthakamani Krishna's mother Telugu
2018 Traffic Ramasamy Witness in court Tamil Guest appearance
Thamizh Padam 2 - Special appearance in the song "Vaa Vaa Kaama"
2020 Velvet Nagaram Gauri
Thamilarasan Filming
Year Title Role Language Channel Notes
Eshtadanam Malayalam DD Malayalam Serial
2000 Mastermind India Contestant Tamil BBC
2010 Sun Kudumbam Awards 2010 Host Sun TV
2013-14 Vina Vidai Vettai Host Puthuyugam TV
2014 Vina Vidai Vettai Juniors Host Puthuyugam TV
2019 Bigg Boss Tamil 3 Contestant Star Vijay Evicted
Day 63
2020–Present Intinti Gruhalakshmi Tulasi Telugu Star Maa Serial


  1. ^ "I am too old for Vijay, too young for Rajinikanth: Kasthuri". The New Indian Express. 22 June 2017. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Kasthuri: A South Indian Film Star | Alexander Street, a ProQuest Company". search.alexanderstreet.com.
  3. ^ "Kasthuri: A South Indian Film Star". Film Info. Film makers library.
  4. ^ The Journal of Asian Studies. Association for Asian Studies. 1995. p. 915.
  5. ^ a b c d e "I am too old for Vijay, too young for Rajinikanth: Kasthuri". The New Indian Express.
  6. ^ "Rediff on the NeT, Movies: Gossip from the southern film industry". m.rediff.com.
  7. ^ "Kasthuri is back with Noothukku Nooru!". Sify.
  8. ^ "Malai Malai - Behindwoods.com - Tamil Top Ten Movies - Kanthaswamy Pokkisham Azhagar Malai Naadodigal Malai Malai". www.behindwoods.com.
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "In the limelight again". www.journeyline.in.
  11. ^ Pasupuleti, AuthorPriyanka. "Kasthuri Shankar testing her luck on small screen". Telangana Today. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  12. ^ "The Word View: Ek Gaon Mein Ek Kisan Raghuthatha! - Times of India". The Times of India.
  13. ^ Subramanian, Anupama (23 May 2017). "I am a true fan of Rajini sir: Kasturi". Deccan Chronicle.
  14. ^ "Kasthuri Says She's A "True Fan" Of Rajinikanth". 23 May 2017.
  15. ^ "Rajinikanth, actress Kasthuri engage in war of words over Rajiv Gandhi assassination case". Asianet News Network Pvt Ltd.
  16. ^ a b "Casting couch in filmdom isn't a myth, it does exist - Times of India". The Times of India.
  17. ^ "Kasthuri: "People Think Women Can't Climb Up The Ladder Without The Favours of a Man!"". 12 March 2017.
  18. ^ "Winds of change in Kollywood? More women actors speak up about misogyny in the industry". The News Minute. 25 March 2017. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  19. ^ "Actor Kasthuri's photo shoot for motherhood wins hearts, she says amazed at response". The News Minute. 30 October 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  20. ^ "Kasthuri - Tamil Movie News - Actress bereaved - Kasthuri | Sumathi Shankar | Tamil Padam | Kuthuvillakku - Behindwoods.com". www.behindwoods.com.

External links