Sep 16, 1977 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Sep 16, 1977 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Meena is an Indian actress who has appeared in a leading role with most of her focus being the South Indian film industry. She has worked in regional industries like Tamil, Malayalam, and Kannada, along with a host of Hindi films. Having made her acting debuted as a child artist in the Tamil film Nenjangal (1982), she is one of the few actresses who has gained success in the all the South Indian languages she has worked in.
Meena was born to a Tamil father Durairaj and a Malayali mother Raj Mallika and grew up in Chennai. She studied at the Vidyodhya School in Chennai but had to discontinue schooling in the 8th standard as she was quite busy as a child artist. She took up private coaching later on and completed 10th standard in Vidyodaya School in Chennai. She attained her master`s in History from the University of Madras in 2006.
Meena got married to a Bangalore-based software engineer Vidyasagar in 2009. The couple has a daughter, Nainika Vidyasagar.
Meena started her acting career as a child artist in the 1982 film Nenjangal that featured Sivaji Ganesan in the lead, and then as a daughter to Rajinikanth in Enkeyo Ketta Kural in the same year. In 1983, she was seen in Thandikkapatta Niyayangal and Sumangali. In the following year, she featured in Thiruppam, and Telugu movies like Illalu Priyuralu and Bava Maradallu. Her turning point as a child artist came with her role in the Tamil film Anbulla Rajinikanth, which gained her popularity. In 1984, she debuted in Malayalam cinema with Oru Kochukatha Aarum Parayatha Katha, followed by another Malayalam movie Manasariyathe. She then featured in Tamil films like Ketti Melam and Vasanthi, and Telugu movies likake Rendu Rella Aaru and Sirivennela.
After working in a host of movies as a child artist, she debuted as a lead actress in the Telugu film Navayugam alongside Rajendra Prasad and Vinod Kumar, but she rose to fame with director Kranthi Kumar`s drama Seetharamayya Gari Manavaralu, for which she won the Nandi Award for Best Actress. She followed this up with a few Telugu and Tamil movies, but gained attention for her role in the Malayalam film Sandhwanam directed by Sibi Malayil in 1991. The actress` award-winning performance came with P. Vasu`s Sethupathi IPS (1994), in which Meena played cop Vijayakanth`s wife, Chandramathi. The film won her the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress.
Her next hit film was Nattamai, directed by K. S. Ravikumar, in a leading role with Sarath Kumar and Kushboo. This film proved a huge blockbuster hit and Meena won the Cinema Express Awards for Best Actress for the film. Hereafter, there was no stopping the actress as she bagged pivotal roles in many movies like Avvai Shanmughi (1996), Bharathi Kannamma (1997), and Porkkaalam (1997). The actress, known for versatility, pulled off all these roles with ease, appeasing the audiences. Seetharamaiah Gari Manavaralu won her Nandi Award and Cinema Express Awards for Best Actress. With director Vasanth `s Rhythm (2000), she gained critical applause and audience appreciation for her simple and subtle yet powerful character in the film, making it one of her most liked performance. She won the Filmfare Special Jury Award - South - Rhythm (2000) and Best Janaranja nadigai award for the film.
Meena is one of the few actresses who has acted opposite Rajinikanth as a child and as an adult. Her first success as a lead heroine with Rajinikanth came in the romantic drama Ejamaan. The film won her the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress. She again was cast opposite Rajinikanth in the 1994 romantic comedy Veera, which went on to become one of the highest-grossing films of the year. Even though these movies were successes, the film that got Meena recognition and fame was Muthu . Her role won Cinema Express Awards and Thumbs Up Awards for Best Actress for the film. Her other popular films are Shock in Tamil and Swathi Muthu in Kannada. She even won the Filmfare Awards South for Best Kannada Actress - Swathi Muthu (2003).
Later, she starred in Mariyadhai (2009) andKatha, Samvidhanam: Kunchacko (2009), and Thambikottai (2011). She was then seen in the Kannada film Hendtheera Darbar, a remake of the Tamil movie Varavu Ettana Selavu Pathana. In 2012 the actress appeared in the lead role of a goddess in Udaya Bhaskar`s Telugu devotional film Sri Vasavi Vaibhavam.
In 2013, Meena was seen in the highly successful Malayalam filmDrishyam . Her performance won her various awards and nominations for Best Actress. She also appeared in its Telugu remake, Drushyam (2014). Her 2015 film was Mama Manchu Alludu Kanchu in the role of Suryakantham. In 2017, the actress acted in the Malayalam domestic drama Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol opposite Mohanlal. Her other projects include Saakshyam (2018). Her 2020 release includes Shylock.
As playback singer and music composer
Meena has also tried her hands on playback singing and has lent her voice in a track in the Tamil film Kadhal Sadugudu. Moreover, the actress has composed music, sung and recorded two pop albums 16 Vayath inile and Kadhalism. She has sung the song Enru Enthan in the movie Sena for the music of D. Imman.
Along with a highly successful movie career, Meena has also entertained audiences with her television appearances. She was seen in the 1990 TV serial Anbulla Amma and then hosted the game show Houseful on Jaya TV in 2005. She featured as one of the judges of various dance reality shows, including Masthana Masthana and Boys VS Girls. Her appearances continued in serials like Lakshmi, Kalyanam, Mudda Mandaram, and Anubhandalu. She was seen in Star Vijay`s Jodi Number One Season 5, hosted Nee Kongu Bangaram Ganu on MAA TV, appeared as a judge in the reality show Super Kudumbam.