Jun 25, 1967 in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
Jun 25, 1967 in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
Kavitha Ranjini, known popularly by her stage name Urvashi, is a National Award winning Indian actress whose career spans over four decades and across all major film industries in South India. She made her acting debut at the age of 8, and has since appeared in close to 300 films, mostly in Malayalam. Some of her most memorable performances came in films like Thalayanamanthram (1990), Michael Madana Kama Rajan (1990), Bharatham (1991), Spadikam (1995) and Achuvinte Amma (2006). Urvashi has won 5 Kerala State Film Awards for Best Actress and a National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress in the course of her illustrious acting career.
Urvashi was born in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala to actor Chavara P. Nair and Vijayalakshmi. Late actress Kalpana, late actor Prince, actress Kala Ranjini and Kamal Roy are her siblings. She did her schooling at Fort Girl`s Mission High School, Thiruvananthapuram and Corporation Higher Secondary School, Kodambakkam before dropping out to pursue her flourishing career in the Malayalam film industry.
Urvashi married actor Manoj K Jayan in October 2000, but the couple parted ways after 8 years of marriage in 2008. They have a daughter together, named Tejalakshmi. In late 2013, the actress married Chennai-based businessman Sivaprasad, with whom she has a son named Ishaan Prajapathi.
Urvashi made her acting debut at the age of 8, with an uncredited role in the Malayalam children`s film Vidarunna Mottukal (1977). Her first notable role as a lead actress came in the 1984 film Ethirppukal, where she starred alongside Mammootty. In the early years of her career, Urvashi delivered strong performances in critically acclaimed films like Ente Ammu, Ninte Thulasi, Avarude Chakki (1985), Nirakkoottu (1985), Yuvajanotsavam (1986), Sukhamo Devi (1986) and Desatanakkili Karayarilla (1986), which established her as one of the most original and promising young actresses of the generation, not just in Malayalam but among other film industries in South India as well.
Between 1980 and 1990, she appeared in over 60 Malayalam films, close to 40 Tamil films and around 20 Kannada and Telugu films. Three out of her five Kerala State Film Awards also came during this period: for Mazhavil Kavadi in 1989, for Thalayanamanthram in 1990 and for Bharatham and Kadinjool Kalyanam in 1991. The most prolific phase of her career also saw Urvashi excelling both as bankable leading lady in commercial entertainers and a powerhouse performer in critically acclaimed films, notable examples of which include the action-thriller New Delhi (1987), the crime-thriller Irupatham Noottandu (1987), the comedy-drama Ponmuttayidunna Tharavu (1988), the drama film Padamudra (1988) and the political drama Lal Salam (1990). During this era, the actress also appeared in popular Tamil films like Mundhanai Mudichu (1983), Naam Iruvar (1985), Andha Oru Nimidam (1985), Paatti Sollai Thattathe (1988) and Michael Madana Kama Rajan (1991). Urvashi also starred in hit Kannada films like Naanu Nanna Hendthi (1985) and Shabash Vikram (1985), and well-received Telugu films Jeevana Poratam (1986) and Anthima Theerpu (1988) during this phase.
Some of the best performances of Urvashi`s career came between the early and mid 1990`s, courtesy of films like Malootty (1992), Aham (1992), Venkalam (1993), Sthreedhanam (1993), Mithunam (1993), Spadikam (1995) and Kazhakam (1996). While Sthreedhanam and Mithunam saw Urvashi playing the role of the hapless housewife to perfection, she played the smart and silver-tongued love interest of Mohanlal`s iconic character Aadu Thoma in the 1995 drama film Spadikam. The actress` ability to effortlessly transition between humour and melodrama made her the most prominent and versatile lead actress in Mollywood during this period, and at the peak of her career, she co-starred with Mohanlal, Jayaram and Mammootty in several movies. In 1996, Urvashi won her fourth State Film Award for her performance in the critically acclaimed drama film Kazhakam. She also made her debut as a screenwriter with the 1992 film Utsava Melam, and subsequently wrote and produced one more film - the 1994 comedy Pidakkozhi Koovunna Noottandu.
Towards the end of the 1990`s, Urvashi worked primarily in the Tamil film industry, and in 1994, she won the Special Prize at the Tamil Nadu State Film Awards for her performance in the ensemble comedy-drama Magalir Mattum. The actress continued to garner praise for her work in Kollywood in the subsequent years, and some of her best work during this phase came in films like Pullakuttikaaran (1995), Irattai Roja (1996) and Vasuki (1997), with the former two winning her top honours at various annual award shows. She also turned in strong performances in the 1997 Malayalam political drama Janadhipathyam and the critically acclaimed 1999 drama film Garshom, which won her the Film Council Award for Best Actress that year.
By the 2000`s Urvashi had transitioned almost completely into portraying character roles, and she appeared in supporting roles in the Tamil film Panchathantiram (2002), the Kannada film Rama Shama Bhama (2005) and the Telugu film Intlo Srimathi Veedhilo Kumari (2004). She returned to Malayalam after a long hiatus with the Sathyan Anthikkad family drama Achuvinte Amma, which told the story of a unique bond between a doting yet overprotective mother and her daughter. The film opened to universal critical acclaim and was a blockbuster at the box office, and Urvashi won the first National Film Award (for Best Supporting Actress) courtesy of her performance in the film. In the following year, she starred alongside Jayaram in the comedy-drama film Madhuchandralekha, which went on to become a box office success despite the mixed critical reception. For her performance in the film, Urvashi won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress a record fifth time.
In 2010, Urvashi appeared in supporting roles in the Kamal Haasan starrer Manmadan Ambu, and the Malayalam comedy-drama Mummy and Me, the latter of which won her a Filmfare Award (South) for Best Supporting Actress. In 2012, she appeared alongside an ensemble cast in Anjali Menon`s award-winning drama film Manjadikuru, the plot of which revolved around a man`s nostalgic journey down the memory lane as he revisits his ancestral home in rural Kerala. In 2015, Urvashi played a pivotal role in the Tamil drama-metafilm Uttama Villain, which centred around a matinee idol`s (played by Kamal Haasan) quest for redemption after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. The film was well-received in all quarters and went on to become a box office success. In the same year, she appeared in the bilingual romantic-comedy Size Zero, which had Anushka Shetty in the lead role. Among the actress` 2016 releases were the Tamil film Meen Kuzhambum Mann Paanaiyum, the Kannada film Shivalinga and the bilingual film Manamantha (Telugu)/Vismayam (Malayalam), the latter two of which were box office hits.
Urvashi`s 2017 projects include two highly anticipated women-centric films: Magalir Mattum and Oh Andha Naatkal. While Magalir Mattum has her starring alongside Saranya, Bhanupriya and Jyothika, Oh Andha Naatkal is yet another multi-starrer in which Urvashi shares the screenspace with Suhasini, Khushboo and Radhika. Her 2019 release includes Oh Baby. Her 2020 release includes Soorarai Pottru.
Urvashi has hosted several television game shows in various languages over the years, notably Swarna Mazha and Rani Maharani on Surya TV, Thanga Vettai on Sun TV and Crazy Couple on Zee Kannada. She has also appeared as a member of the judging panel in popular Malayalam reality comedy shows like Comedy Super Nite on Flowers TV, Comedy Circus on Mazhavil Manorama and Laughing Villa on Surya TV. Since 2015, she has appeared in a recurring guest role in the popular Sun TV soap opera Bhairavi Aavigalukku Priyamanaval. Her 2020 release includes Dhamaka and Varane Avashyamund.