Navya Nair (born Dhanya Veena; 14 October 1985) is an Indian actress who has appeared predominantly in Malayalam cinema along with a few Kannada and Tamil language films.[1][2]

Navya Nair
Navya Nair in 2010
Dhanya Veena

(1985-10-14) 14 October 1985 (age 38)
Years active2001–present
Santhosh S. Menon
(m. 2010)

Early and personal life edit

Navya Nair was born Dhanya Veena on 14 October 1985[3][4] in Muthukulam, a village near Haripad in Alappuzha, Kerala. Her parents are Mr. Raju, a telecom employee, and Veena, a school teacher. She performed well in school before focusing on a film career. She learned dance at a young age, trained in classical dance[5] and has won the Kalathilakam title as a student of Bethany Balikamadam Girls High School, Nangiarkulangara, Haripad[6] in the Alappuzha District School Youth Festival. She is a graduate in BA English.[7]

She married Santhosh Menon, a Mumbai settled Malayali, on 21 January 2010[8] and the couple have a son, Sai Krishna[9] born the same year. Malayalam film Director K. Madhu is her Maternal Uncle. Director Sibi Malayil preferred Navya as her screen name because he believed Dhanya was inappropriate for an actress.

Career edit

Debut and success (2001–2005) edit

Navya Nair started her film career with Ishtam in 2001, opposite Dileep directed by Sibi Malayil.[10] The film was a commercial success for its sheer humour and fresh subject.[11][12] Critics describe her as the surprise of the film.[citation needed] She then acted in Mazhathullikkilukkam (2002) with Dileep, a commercially successful film.[13] She then appeared in Kunjikoonan (2002), which also became a box office hit.

Her next release was the 2002 Malayalam film Nandanam directed by Ranjith and starring Prithviraj Sukumaran.[14][15] Her portrayal of Balamani, an orphan who works as a maid and is an ardent devotee of Lord Guruvayurappan, received critical acclaim.[16] She bagged several awards for her role, notably receiving her first Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress. She soon became a household name. Over the years, she has been remembered for her role as Balamani.[17] Her other releases of the year were Kalyanaraman, alongside Dileep and Kunchacko Boban which became a commercial success[18][19] and Chathurangam starring Mohanlal which was a failure at the box office.[20]

In 2003, Vellithira, Ammakilikkoodu with Prithviraj Sukumaran and Gramophone starring Dileep and Meera Jasmine were box office failures. The soundtracks to Vellithira and Gramaphone were popular.[21][22] However, this year's Pattanathil Sundaran with Dileep was a hit.[23] She played the role of the wife of a ration shop owner who accepted a job as a clerk in the Secretariat against her husband's desires.[24]

In 2004, she played a minor role in Sethurama Iyer CBI. She then had two releases Jalolsavam by Sibi Malayil and Chathikkatha Chanthu by Rafi Mecartin, starring Jayasurya, with the latter becoming a box office success. She played Vasumathi who seeks out the man who sent her some letters accidentally, but she believes he did so on purpose. Her encounters with Salim Kumar in the movie are still popular. She made her Tamil debut with Azhagiya Theeye,[25] generally received positive reviews. However, the film was a commercial failure.

In 2005, she appeared in Immini Nalloraal, Deepangal Sakshi and Sarkar Dada. All of which were critical and commercial failures. Her other release of the year, Pandippada directed by Rafi Mecartin became commercially successful at the box office. She then appeared in the Tamil film Chidambarathil Oru Appasamy. S. R. Ashok Kumar of The Hindu described her as "the beleaguered wife who steals the show."[26] Her portrayal of Saira Hussain in Dr. Biju's directorial debut Saira and her role as Karunya in Alberrt Antoni's Kanne Madanguka[27][28] earned her the second Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress.

Expansion into Tamil and Kannada cinema (2006–2014) edit

She had three Tamil releases in 2006 Pasa Kiligal,[citation needed] Amirtham,[29] and the National Award-winning Aadum Koothu.[30][31] Her Malayalam films at this time, Kalabham, Pathaaka, Ali Bhai and Kichamani MBA received negative reception. Her next film Maya Kannadi which Cheran directed and starred in, received mixed reviews overall but praise for her role.[32] She appeared in Sila Nerangalil directed by Jayaraj which opened to a positive reception and was a box office success.[33]

She made her Kannada debut opposite Darshan in Gaja, which was a box-office hit.[34][35] Films like SMS, Calendar, and Banaras were poorly received, but her performances were praised nonetheless.[36][37] Her Kannada film, Namyajamanru (2009) alongside Vishnuvardhan opened to positive reviews from critics.[38] A critic from The Times of India described her as "Navya Nair at her best."[39] She starred in Bhagyada Balegara opposite Shiva Rajkumar, receiving praise for her performance.[40] She appeared in the anthology film Kerala Cafe (2009).

In 2010, her films were Drona and Yugapurushan with Mammootty, the Tamil film Rasikkum Seemane and Sadgamaya with Suresh Gopi. She then appeared in Boss with Darshan,[41] but the film could not repeat the success of their previous collaboration. Scene Onnu Nammude Veedu was her last Malayalam film before going on hiatus.[42]

In 2014, she starred in Drishya along with V. Ravichandran, which met with widespread critical acclaim and commercial success.[43][44]

Return to cinema post-marriage (2021–present) edit

After marriage, Nair took a break from appearing in cinema and started appearing in television programs.[45][46][47] She is currently one of the judges on the reality show Kidilam with Mukesh and Rimi Tomy.[48]

In her comeback film, Drishya 2 (2021),[49] she reprised her role as Seetha, which received critical acclaim like its predecessor and was a decent hit at the box office. Her comeback film in Malayalam became Oruthee (2022),[50] directed by V. K. Prakash, and she was cast with Vinayakan and Saiju Kurup[51] plays Radhamani, a middle-class woman and a ticket conductor on a boat whose husband is abroad and who has a daughter, thriving from the helplessness in society.[52] The film, which dealt with true events, received critical acclaim for her performance.[53][54][55]

Filmography edit

Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Film Role Language Notes
2001 Ishtam Anjana Pillah Malayalam Debut Malayalam film
2002 Mazhathullikkilukkam Sophie Malayalam
Kunjikoonan Chembakam Malayalam
Nandanam Balamani Malayalam
Kalyanaraman Gowri Malayalam
Chathurangam Sherin Mathew Malayalam
2003 Vellithira Thatha Malayalam
Gramophone Pooja Malayalam
Ammakilikkoodu Akhila Malayalam
Pattanathil Sundaran Radhamani Sundaresan Malayalam
2004 Sethurama Iyer CBI Rachana Malayalam
Jalolsavam Geetha Malayalam
Chathikkatha Chanthu Vasumathi & Ambika Malayalam
Parayam Herself Malayalam Cameo appearance
Azhagiya Theeye Nandhini Tamil Debut Tamil film
2005 Immini Nalloraal Sneha Malayalam
Deepangal Sakshi Krishnaveni Malayalam
Pandippada Meena Karuppusamy Malayalam
Sarkar Dada Sandhya Malayalam
Chidambarathil Oru Appasamy Thenmozhi Elangovan Tamil
Kanne Madanguka Kaarunya Bhagyanathan Malayalam
Saira Saira Hussain Malayalam
2006 Pasa Kiligal Maragatham Tamil
Amirtham Amirtha Ramaswamy Tamil
Kalabham Sivakami Malayalam
Pathaaka Ashitha Muhammed Malayalam
2007 Maya Kannadi Maheswari Tamil
Ali Bhai Chenthamara Malayalam
Kichamani MBA Shivani Menon Malayalam
2008 Gaja Shwetha Kannada Debut Kannada film
Sila Nerangalil Thamarai Chidambaram & Anjali Tamil
Aadum Koothu Manimeghalai Tamil
SMS Indhumathi Malayalam
Raman Thediya Seethai Senthamarai Tamil Guest appearance
2009 Banaras Devu Malayalam
Namyajamanru Charulatha Kannada
Calendar Kochurani Malayalam
Ivar Vivahitharayal Herself Malayalam Cameo appearance
Bhagyada Balegara Cheluvi Kannada
Kerala Cafe Sheela Johnykutty Malayalam
2010 Drona 2010 Mithra Antarjanam Malayalam
Yugapurushan Savitri Antarjanam & Saradha Malayalam
Rasikkum Seemane Gayathri Tamil
Sadgamaya Yamuna Malayalam
2011 Boss Raani Kannada
2012 Scene Onnu Nammude Veedu Manju Malayalam [56]
2014 Drishya Seetha Kannada [57]
2021 Drishya 2 Seetha Kannada
2022 Oruthee Radhamani Malayalam [58]
2023 Janaki Jaane Janaki Malayalam [59][60]

Television edit

Year Program Role Language Channel Ref
2011-2012 Dance Dance Judge Malayalam Asianet
2013 Bharthakanmarude Shradhakku Host


2016-2017 Laughing Villa Host Surya TV [61]
2018 Onnum Onnum Moonu Guest (Episode 19) Mazhavil Manorama [62]
2019 Comedy Nights with Suraj Guest (Episode 33) Zee Keralam
2019 Comedy Stars Season 2 Judge Asianet [63]
2021-2022 Star Magic Judge Flowers TV [64]
2021 Mr & Mrs Guest (Finale) Zee Keralam [65]
2022– 2023 Kidilam Judge Mazhavil Manorama [66]
2023 Red Carpet Guest (Episode 500) Amrita TV [67]
2023 Star Singer season 9 Judge Asianet Celebrity judge for devotional round

Awards and nominations edit

Year Work Award Category Result Ref
2002 Nandanam Kerala State Film Awards Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress Won [68]
Filmfare Awards South Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Malayalam Won [69]
Nandanam Kerala Film Critics Association Awards Kerala Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress Won [70][71]
2005 Saira Kerala State Film Awards Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress Won [72]
Kanne Madanguka

References edit

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External links edit