Meena (actress)

Meena is an Indian film actress who predominantly works in the South Indian film industry. Meena debuted as a child artist in the Tamil film Nenjangal in 1982 and has later appeared in films produced by various regional industries.[2]

Meena at Viscosity Dance Academy Launch.jpg
Meena Durairaj

(1976-09-16) 16 September 1976 (age 44)
Years active1982–present
(m. 2009)
ChildrenNainika (b.2011)

She has acted in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and several Hindi films. She is among the few actresses who have been successful in all the South Indian languages. She was one of the leading actresses of Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu cinema in the 90s.[3] She has established herself as a great performer through the decades in the South Indian film industry. In addition to acting, Meena is also a playback singer, TV judge and occasional dubbing artist.[1] She has won two Filmfare Awards South, four Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress, two Nandi Award for Best Actress, and five Cinema Express Awards. In 1998 the government of Tamil Nadu honoured her with the Kalaimamani award for her acting talent and numerous other awards.

Personal lifeEdit

Meena was born in Chennai, She was brought up in Chennai by her Tamil father Durairaj and Malayali mother Rajamallika from Chirakkal Palace-Kannur district Kerala.[4] She was enrolled in Vidyodhya schools in Chennai. Because of her busy acting schedule, she had to discontinue schooling in the 8th standard, later taking up private coaching and completing the 10th standard in vidyodaya schools in Chennai. She went on to get her master's in History from the University of Madras through the open university system in 2006.[citation needed] Meena is a trained Bharathanatyam dancer and speaks six languages: Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi, and English.

Meena married Vidyasagar, a Bangalore-based software engineer, on 12 July 2009 at Arya Vysya Samaj Kalyana Mandapam. The couple later visited Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, Andhra Pradesh. The couple came back to Chennai to hold a reception at Mayor Ramanathan Chettiar Hall, in which all leading southern Indian actors participated. The couple have a daughter, "Nainika Vidyasagar" (born 1 January 2011),[5][6] who made her acting debut at the age of 5 in Theri (2016) alongside actor Vijay.


Child artistEdit

Meena started her career in 1982 as a child artist in the film Nenjangal, featuring Sivaji Ganesan in the lead role after Ganesan saw her at a birthday party.[7] Meena was still very young at that time. Her mother Rajamallika brought her to A.M. Ratnam's office for an offer. Even though she looked chubby, they felt she fitted the bill. She has acted in several films along with Dr. Sivaji Ganesan and Rajinikanth as a child artist.[7] Meena acted in Kollywood by appearing as a child artiste alongside Rajinikanth in the movie Anbulla Rajinikanth, in which she acted as a terminally ill child who warms up to Rajinikanth —that became a major pointer in her career growth. After the success of that movie, she became a child artist in South Indian movies. She says of Ganesan that "I feel extremely proud to have been discovered by the legend". She appeared in over 45 films as a child.[7]

Lead female rolesEdit

Meena has been one of the top star pairing up with every big star down South .[8] She made her debut in Telugu beside Akkineni Nageswara Rao in Seetharamaiah Gari Manavaralu, where Meena played his granddaughter Seeta. The film was showcased among the Indian panorama section, at the 1991 International Film Festival of India. The film was made under the banner VMC Productions. She won Nandi Award for Best Actress from the Government of Andhra Pradesh for Seetharamaiah Gari Manavaralu.

While she made her debut as a leading lady in Tamil film Oru Pudhiya Kadhai and played heroine roles in more than three dozen films, and also starred in Malayalam and Kannada films, her first role in Malayalam that gained attention was in Sandhwanam directed by Sibi Malayil in 1991. She played Suresh Gopi's daughter in the film. Its success made her famous, which led to roles with senior Malayalam heroes. Meena has expressed a wish to do more films in Malayalam.[7] She says of her transition from being a child star to being a heroine that "Memories as a child are fabulous and I still cherish them. And it is still more special as that phase is over. Now, I am enjoying my stint as a heroine."[7] She made her Bollywood debut opposite Chunky Pandey in the comedy film Parda Hai Parda (1992).

She has played the role of the leading heroines in Telugu and Tamil films since the early 1990s, often playing characters with unidimensional personality with no negativity or gray shades. She has generally avoided glamorous roles though she has acted in a few like Maaman Magal in Tamil opposite Sathyaraj and She was part of Successful movies Like Putnanja, Swathi Mutthu in Kannada.She has worked with Ravichandran, Vishuvardhan in Kannada Cinema. In the Kannada remake of Autograph as My Autograph, were directed, produced and enacted by Sudeep. In this film, Meena starred Sneha's role of Divya.

Meena has the unique distinction of starring opposite legendary actors of different generations across various languages. She has acted with Rajinikanth, Dr. Kamal Haasan, Dr. Mohanlal, Dr. Mammootty, Chiranjeevi, Dr. Vishnuvardhan, Krishna, Balakrishna, Ravichandran and other stars like Vijayakanth, Akkineni Nagarjuna, Venkatesh, Vijay, Ajith Kumar, Sathyaraj, Prabhu Deva, Sarathkumar, K. Bhagyaraj, Jayaram, Suresh Gopi, Prashanth, Kichcha Sudeep, Raviteja. She had hits with the films Nattamai film directed by K. S. Ravikumar. It starred Sarath Kumar, Meena and Kushboo in the lead roles. The film was successful and completed a 175-day run at the box office (1994). She just grabs the continuous offer and the opportunity to act in films like Avvai Shanmughi (1996) with Kamal Haasan, Porkkaalam with Murali (1997), Bharathi Kannamma (1997) with Parthiban and so on. Telugu audience remembers her for a variety of roles that called for mature acting that seemed tailor-made for her. The peppy girl who wins over her unrelenting grandfather with her endearing ways in Seetharamaiah Gari Manavaralu, the protected sister in Chanti the innocent housewife in Sundarakanda, the renowned poet and devotee ‘Tarigonda Vengamamba’ are but just few of the many characters she played with relative ease and subtle charm. The combo of Victory Venkatesh and Meena is said to be one of the most successful combinations in Tollywood. They have 5 Blockbuster hits to their credit.[9] Another excellent performance in the movie Rhythm (2000). This movie makes the most impact on multiple viewings. Meena was an exceptionally brilliant performance in each scene. Strangely enough, she looks the best in this movie in terms of makeup and this movie had her in her best performance to date. While she picked up Best Actress at the Cinema Express Awards.

Meena has acted both as a child and as an adult opposite Rajinikanth. Her first hit with Rajinikanth was Yejaman, where she plays the role of Vaitheeswari, a simple village girl. She always played the quiet, serious woman. In one Interview Meena said that Rajinikanth was shocked to see her fan following in Telugu after the release of her film Chanti. When Meena and Rajinikanth were shooting for Yejaman in Andhra, she was surrounded by a huge number of fans- mostly female- which shocked Rajnikanth. In one interview in 1992 Rajinikanth himself said that Meena is a superstar in Telugu[10] In her follow-up movie with Rajini, Veera, Meena again dazzled. Romantic-comedy film. Rajinikanth, Meena and Roja (actress) in the lead role. This film was controversial for its climax but went on to become one of the highest-grossing films in 1994. But the film that brought her true recognition and fame was Muthu, one of Rajini's biggest hits. The movie was successful across Japan. Ranganayaki as the talkative, cheeky street theatre actress won the hearts of the audience. The film was directed by K. S. Ravikumar and produced by K. Balachander, and became the first Tamil film to be dubbed into Japanese, as Mutu: Odoru Maharaja.[47] [48] The film grossed a record $1.6 million in Japan in 1998 and was responsible for creating a large Japanese fan-base for Rajinikanth and Meena. Following the release of Muthu in Japan and its commercial success, Meena's popularity rose in Japan.

Meena agreed to appear in as herself in the K. S. Ravi – directed film Shahjahan starring Vijay (actor). She has acted with almost all leading actors in South India.[citation needed] A role in Kadha Parayumbol and in its Tamil and Telugu remakes, Kuselan and Kathanayakudu respectively, were well received by audiences. Meena has expressed regret about Kuselan, after her part was overshadowed.[11]

Meena has said that her favorite roles were in Bharathi Kannamma and Shock in Tamil, Seetharamaiah Gari Manavaralu in Telugu, Sandhwanam in Malayalam and Swathi Muthu in Kannada, "though every film of mine is close to my heart."[7] Meena became heroine in 1990 and even 2020, she has the highest-grossing movies as lead heroine in Malayalam, and making her most promising heroine after 30 years also.[12][circular reference]. No other heroine has that credit in the history of Indian cinema.

Recent rolesEdit

Meena's releases in 2009 were Mariyadhai with Vijayakanth, directed by Vikraman, who earlier directed hits like Poove Unakkaga (1996) and Vanathai Pola (2000).[13] and Katha, Samvidhanam: Kunchacko with Sreenivasan.[14] She played in Telugu as Saint Vengamamba in Tarigonda Vengamamba, directed by Uday Bhaskar.[15]

In 2011, she played the role of Narain's sister in the film Thambikottai, in which Poonam Bajwa is the pair for Narain. Other actors in this movie include Prabhu and Santhanam. Her role in this movie was very good and well accepted.[16][17][18]

After marriage, she paired with Ramesh Aravind in the film Hendtheera Darbar, which was a remake of Varavu Ettana Selavu Pathana that starred Nassar, Radhika, Goundamani, Senthil, Vadivelu and Kovai Sarala.

In 2012, Udaya Bhaskar made a film titled Sri Vasavi Vaibhavam with Meena playing the Goddess' role in the film which also stars Suhasini, Priyahassan, Suman, Saikiran, Kannada Sridhar, Raghunatha Reddy, and others. Meena plays the lead role in this Telugu devotional film. This marks her re-entry to films after a long period. After being a mother, we will get to see the sizzling Meena in this one. There are many graphic-significant episodes. The film has music by Arjun Sharma. Cinematography is by Raman Ji. Directed by Uday Baskar. The film is said to be released around mid-August.[19]

Meena, all-time favorite actress of actor Vijay, was rumored to have been roped into a movie name Sattam oru iruttarai, which was a remake of the movie under the same name by his father and director, S. A. Chandrasekhar. The movie is said to be produced by actor's Vijay new launched production house, Ghilli Productions. But since Meena refused the offer, Reema Sen was finalized to play the role of a Police Officer in this film and the sister to the hero.[20][21][22]

The actress was approached by a Mollywood director to play Lal's wife with a woman-centric film with several actresses, including Rima Kallingal. "It had an interesting subject, but I wanted something more for my character. There were a lot of women in the film and everybody's got a story. I was more interested in a story focussing on a single woman character and that's why I haven't signed up for the movie," she says.[23] Meena who had taken a temporary break from acting will be facing the arc lights once again. It seems she has agreed to star in an ad film, and she is currently shooting near Kovalam with Prakash Raj. The commercial is being directed by producer Siva. Meanwhile, Meena is currently in a Telugu film, Sri Vasavi Vaibhavam. She had played a cameo in J.K. Bharavi's Jagadguru Adi Shankara-devotional film lastly and did justice to her roles. [24][25]

After a brief hiatus, Meena returned to Malayalam cinema and will be seen playing the role of wife to Mohanlal in Drishyam (2013). Directed by Jeethu Joseph, she will be portraying the role of a mother of two daughters, of which the elder is pursuing her plus two. The actress will also be seen in Pramod Payyanur's much-awaited movie, Balyakalasakhi alongside Mammootty. The actress confirmed that she would be playing Drishyam's remake in Telugu with Venkatesh.[26] Meena will playing a leading role in Allari Naresh's upcoming movie Mama Manchu Alludu Kanchu.[27][28]

Other workEdit

Music composingEdit

Meena has been a playback singer for some albums with actor Manoj. She sang a song for the Tamil film Kadhal Sadugudu.[29] Meena has composed music and sung and recorded two pop albums, 16 Vayathinile, and Kadhalism, which she began recording in 2001 with actor Vikram.[30][31] Meena has been a playback singer in the music of D. Imman in the movie sena and the song is "indru intha kalayil en nenjil echo aachu", a super hit song.


Meena dubbed for Cheran's movie Pokkisham. Meena has rendered voice for Padmapriya Janakiraman.[32]


  Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Movie title Role Language Notes
1982 Nenjangal Kidnapped child Tamil Child artiste (debut)
Enkeyo Ketta Kural Daughter to Rajinikanth Tamil Child artiste
Theerpugal Thiruththapadalam Daughter to Sivakumar Tamil Child artiste
Parvaiyin Marupakkam Daughter to the Priest Tamil Child artiste
1983 Thandikkapatta Niyayangal Playful child Tamil Child artiste
Sumangali Doll-selling girl Tamil Child artiste
Siripuram Monagadu Baby Meena Telugu Child artiste
1984 Thiruppam Baby Meena Tamil Child artiste
Illalu Priyuralu Baby Meena Telugu Child artiste
Yaadgar Baby Meena Hindi Child Artist
Bava Maradallu Baby Meena Telugu Child artiste
Kode Trachu Telugu Child artiste
Anbulla Rajinikanth Rosy Tamil Child artiste
Oru Kochukatha Aarum Parayatha Katha Rajani Malayalam Child artiste
Manasariyathe Minimol Malayalam Child artiste
1985 Panneer Nadhigal Tamil Child artiste
Uyire Unakkaga Nadhiya as a child Tamil Child artiste
Lakshmi Vanthachu Playful child Tamil Child artiste
Rendu Rella Aaru Baby Meena Telugu Child artiste
Khooni Baby Meena Telugu Child artiste
1986 Sirivennela Baby Meena Telugu Child artiste
1988 Vasanthi Baby Meena Tamil Child artiste
1989 Prajala Manishi Telugu Child artiste
1990 Oru Pudhiya Kadhai Lover to a writer Tamil
Navayugam Sumathi Telugu first debut as heroine
Kartavyam Karuna Telugu
Dharama Telugu
Indra Bhavanam Telugu
1991 En Rasavin Manasile Cholaiamma Tamil
Seetharamayya Gari Manavaralu Seetha Telugu Nandi Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu
Idhaya Oonjal Wife of a widower Tamil
Idhaya Vaasal Vaani Tamil
Sandhwanam Rajalakshmi Malayalam
Jagannatakam Jhansi Telugu
Chengalva Pudanda Telugu
1992 Chanti Nandini Telugu Nominated - Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Telugu
Parda Hai Parda Maya Hindi
Allari Pilla Nandini Telugu
Allari Mogudu Neelambari Telugu
Sundarakanda Nanchari Telugu
President Gari Pellam Swapna Telugu
Pellam Chepte Vinali Geetha Telugu
Bangaru Maama Kasthuri Telugu
Moratodu Naa Mogudu Telugu
Aswamedham Dr. Bharati Telugu
1993 Muta Mesthri Buchamma Telugu
Yejaman Vaitheeswari Vaanavaraayan Tamil Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Tamil
Abbaigaru Sudha Telugu
Allari Alludu Sandhya Telugu
Rajeswari Kalyanam Rajeshwari Telugu Nandi Award for Best Actress
Konguchatu Krishnadu Telugu
1994 Sethupathi IPS Chandramathi Tamil Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress
Veera Devayanai Tamil
Thai Maaman Meena Tamil
Rajakumaran Selvi Tamil
Nattamai Meena Tamil Cinema Express Award for Best Actress – Tamil
Punya Bhoomi Naa Desam Swathi Telugu
Anga Rakshakudu Meenu Telugu
Bhale Pellam Bharathi Telugu
Bobbili Simham Venkatalakshmi Telugu
1995 Maaman Magal Priya Tamil
Oru Oorla Oru Rajakumari Lakshmi Prabha Tamil
Marumagan Manjula Tamil
Coolie Vimala Tamil
Seral Irumboraiyin Tamil Kadhal Tamil
Nadodi Mannan Meenakshi,
Muthu Ranganayaki Tamil Cinema Express Award for Best Actress – Tamil
Nominated – Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Tamil
Aalu Magalu Telugu
Chilakapachcha Kaapuram Radha Telugu
Putnanja Rose Kannada
1996 Sengottai Meena Tamil
Avvai Shanmugi Janaki Tamil Cinema Express Award for Best Actress – Tamil
Nominated – Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Tamil
1997 Vallal Annam Tamil
Mommaga Kannada
Cheluva Meena Kannada
Porkkaalam Maragatham Tamil Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Tamil
Pasamulla Pandiyare Vellayamma Tamil
Bharathi Kannamma Kannamma Tamil Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress
Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Tamil
Cinema Express Award for Best Actress – Tamil
Varnapakittu Sandra,
Muddula Mogudu Sirisha Telugu
Panjaram Telugu
1998 Ulavuthurai Meena Tamil
Naam Iruvar Nammaku Iruvar Indu Tamil
Kusruthi Kuruppu Meera Malayalam
Gillikajjalu Satya bhama Telugu
Suryavamsam Swapna Telugu
Harichandra Nandhini Tamil
1999 Sneham Kosam Prabhavati 'Prabha' 'Guddiya' Telugu
Periyanna Shenbagam Tamil
Iraniyan Ponni Tamil
Anandha Poongatre Meenakshi Tamil
Olympiyan Anthony Adam Angel Malayalam
Friends Padmini Malayalam
Krishna Babu Rama Telugu
Bobbili Vamsham Telugu
Velugu Needalu Telugu
Unnaruge Naan Irundhal Mahalakshimi (Maha) Tamil
Manam Virumbuthe Unnai Priya Tamil
2000 Vanathai Pola Gowri Muthu Tamil
Pape Naa Pranam Priya Telugu
Palayathu Amman Palayathu Amman Tamil
Vetri Kodi Kattu Valli Muthuraman Tamil
Doubles Meena Tamil
Rhythm Chitra Tamil Cinema Express Award for Best Actress – Tamil
Maayi Bhuvaneswari Tamil
Dreams Nirmala Mathan Malayalam
Maa Annayya Wife Telugu
Thenali Meena (Herself) Tamil Special Appearance
Anbudan Shanthi Tamil Guest appearance
2001 Rishi Indu Tamil
Censor Hindi Guest appearance
Citizen Sevali Tamil
Sri Manjunatha Goddess Parvathi Kannada
Rakshasa Rajav Meera Malayalam
Ammayi Kosam Anjali Telugu
Dasu Telugu
Shahjahan Meena Tamil Special appearance
Grama Devathe Angala Parameswari Kannada
2002 Angala Parameswari Angala Parameswari Amman Tamil
Dhaya Thulasi Tamil
Simhadriya Simha Kannada
Devan Uma Tamil
Ivan Meena Kumari Tamil Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Tamil
Namma Veetu Kalyanam Meena Tamil
Padai Veetu Amman Padai Veetu Amman,
Muthu Maariamman
Villain Thangam Tamil
2003 Paarai Mallika Tamil
Swathi Muthu Lalitha Kannada Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Kannada[33]
Mr. Brahmachari Ganga Malayalam
Simhachalam Simhachalam's wife Telugu
Game for Love Kannada
2004 Shock[34] Malini Vasanth Tamil
Puttintiki Ra Chelli Wife Telugu
Anbu Sagotharan Tamil
Bharath Simha Reddy Telugu
Swamy Telugu
Gowdru Kannada Guest appearance
Aalukkoru Aasai Eshwari Tamil
Natturajavu[35] Maya Malayalam
2005 Mahasadhvi Mallamma Mallamma Kannada
Kannamma Kannamma Tamil
Udayananu Tharam[7] Madhumathi Udayabhanu Malayalam
Chandrolsavam Indulekha Malayalam
Prayatnam Telugu
2006 My Autograph Divya Kannada
Karutha Pakshikal[36] Suvarnna Malayalam
2007 Kadha Parayumbol Sridevi Balan Malayalam
Black Cat[36] Meenakshi Malayalam
Goal Sam's mother Malayalam Cameo
2008 Kuselan Sridevi Balakrishnan Tamil
Kathanayakudu Sreedevi Telugu
Magic Lamp Anupama Malayalam
Manidhan Tamil
2009 Mariyadhai Radha Tamil
Katha, Samvidhanam: Kunchacko Ann Mary Malayalam
Vengamamba Saint Vengamamba Telugu
2010 Dasanna Malli Telugu [37]
2010 Hendtheer Darbar Radha Kannada
2011 Thambikottai Shanmugapriya Tamil
2012 Sri Vasavi Vaibhavam Telugu
2013 Sri Jagadguru Aadi Sankara Gangadevi Telugu
Drishyam Rani George Malayalam
Nominated – Filmfare Awards South for Best Actress
Nominated – SIIMA Award for Best Actress
2014 Balyakalasakhi Majeed's mother Malayalam
Drushyam Jyothi Telugu Remake of Malayalam Film Drishyam
2015 Mama Manchu Alludu Kanchu Suryakantham Telugu
2017 Katha Veendum Parayumbol Sridevi Balan Malayalam
2017 Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol Annyamma Malayalam
2018 Saakshyam Viswa's mother Telugu
2020 Shylock[38] Lakshmi Ayyanar Malayalam
2020 Annaatthe   Tamil Filming
2020 Drishyam 2   Malayalam Filming[39]


Year Title Role Language Channel Notes
1990 Anbulla Amma (co-starring with actress Manorama) Unknown Tamil Doordarshan TV serial
2005 Housefull Show Host Tamil Jaya TV TV show
2006-2008 Lakshmi Lakshmi Tamil Sun TV TV serial
2007 Mastana Mastana season 1 Judge Tamil Sun TV Dance show
2009 Kalyanam Meera/Sujatha Tamil Sun TV TV serial
2009 Tarikonda Venkamamba Tarikonda Venkamamba Telugu SVBC TV TV serial
2009 Boys VS Girls season 2 Judge Tamil Vijay TV Dance show
2011 Jodi Number One Season 5 Special Judge Tamil Vijay TV
2012 Nee Kongu Bangaram Ganu Host Telugu MAA TV TV show
Veera Judge Telugu ETV Telugu Dance show
Super Kudumbam Judge Tamil Sun TV TV show
Anubandhalu Sharada Telugu Gemini TV TV serial
2013 Bharthakkanmarude Sradhakku Judge Malayalam Asianet TV show
2014 Super Kutumbam Judge Telugu Gemini TV Dance show
2015 Manada Mayilada season 10 Judge Tamil Kalaignar TV
2016 Dance Dance Special Judge Kannada Star Suvarna
2017 Junior Senior Judge Tamil Zee Tamil Reality show
2019 Lolluppa Judge Tamil Sun TV TV Programme
2019 Extra Jabardasth Judge Telugu ETV Telugu
2019 Karoline Kamakshi Kamakshi Tamil Zee5 Web Series

Awards and honoursEdit

Tamil Nadu Government
Filmfare Awards South
Tamil Nadu State Film Awards
Nandi Award for Best Actress
Cinema Express Awards
Asianet Film Awards
  • Best Character Actress – Drishyam (2013)
TSR TV9 awards 2010
Ugadi Puraskar awards

TSR-TV9 Film AwardsEdit

  • Best Actress – Drushyam (2014)[42]

Vayalar AwardsEdit

  • 2014: Vayalar Film Award for Best Actress – Drishyam (2013)[43]


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External linksEdit