Happy Birthday Nayanthara: 5 memorable performances of the Lady Superstar

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looks back at five memorable performances of Nayanthara

As nayanthara celebrates her 33rd birthday today, BollywoodLife looks back at five memorable performances of the Lady Superstar, who has survived for nearly 15 years in a male-dominated industry. Despite facing a lot of ups and downs both on the personal and professional fronts, Nayanthara is known for making relentless comebacks and dedication. An elusive star to catch hold of today, on the lines of Thala Ajith who has distanced himself from all the media spotlight, Nayanthara was one of the first actresses in the Tamil film industry who dared to plunge into women-centric films. And, she also proved her mettle at the box office by shouldering a host of other projects, where she teamed up with stars lesser than her stature for her belief in the content.

Naanum Rowdy Thaan

The role of Kadambari in Naanum Rowdy Thaan is easily one of Nayanthara’s most memorable, all-time favourite performances. It was during the shooting of this project, which was bankrolled by Dhanush’s Wunderbar Films, Nayanthara fell in love with director Vignesh Shivan. Her role as a childlike, hearing-impaired Kadambari earned the respect of fans. She proved as a performer in Vignesh Shivan’s superbly-etched character and held her fort despite sharing the screen with a power-house actor like Vijay Sethupathi.


Maya is one of Nayanthara’s essential films in her career. The box-office success of Maya, a bonafide horror-thriller directed by debutant Ashwin Saravanan, made Nayanthara believe in her box-office potential and led her to sign more women-centric movies. At a time when Tamil cinema was continuously churning out mediocre horror-comedies with ready-made templates, Maya came as a whiff of fresh air and emerged as a trend-setting horror thriller in Tamil cinema. Nayanthara as Maya Mathews delivered a subtly beautiful performance and her trust in the project was another substantiation that she was willing to walk the extra mile compared to other contemporaries.


The recent success of hard-hitting social drama Aramm directed by Gopi Nainar has proved that content-driven films if supported by star power, will reach miles. Nayanthara shouldered the film, which no one dared to do and is replete with sharp political dialogues. At a volatile political climate in Tamil Nadu, where stars are being targeted for criticising politicians, Nayanthara’s decision to act in a film that talks boldly about anti-establishment and in a character that doesn’t mince words about censuring government policies deserves applause.


When Tamil filmmakers were majorly stereotyping actresses with song-and-dance roles a decade back, director Vishnuvardhan came up with a bold, stylish and ultra-glam character called Sasha in Ajith’s action thriller Billa. Nayanthara’s swim-suit appearance, her nonchalant expressions, and fashionably elegant and sophisticated costumes made Sasha one of the ritzy roles performed by a lead heroine in Kollywood.

Raja Rani

Raja Rani is one of Nayanthara’s most loved on-screen performances. Nayan agreed to be paired opposite a B-list actor such as Jai at a time when she was reigning supreme with films such as Arrambam with Ajith Kumar. Raja Rani directed by Atlee was a true-blue blockbuster, and it would not be a hyperbole to say that Nayanthara pulled in the first crowd to the theatres, before the word-of-mouth on film’s content spread like wildfire. Nayanthara as the emotionally-challenged Regina produced a performance that tugged at our heartstrings. She was beautifully captured by cinematographer George C Williams, who went to work in Vignesh Shivan’s Naanum Rowdy Thaan, where she looked at her best again in single-dimension costume choices.

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