Lakshmi Rai (born on 5 May 1989), professionally credited as Raai Laxmi is an Indian film actress and model born in Bangalore who predominantly appears in Tamil and Malayalam as well as Telugu and Kannada films. She made her Bollywood debut with the film Julie 2 (2017).
Raai has completed over 14 years in the film industry, acting in over 50 films in several languages.
Raai Lakshmi was born on 5 May 1989 in Belagavi, Bangalore, Karnataka to Ram Rai and Manjula Rai. She is originally from Kutch.
Raai Laxmi made her debut when she was 16 years old in a Tamil film Karka Kasadara in 2005, after the director R. V. Udayakumar had been impressed with her performance in a short film titled Valmiki. Subsequently, she appeared in a number of Tamil films, including the comedy film Kundakka Mandakka (2005) opposite R. Parthiban, Perarasu's action-masala flick Dharmapuri (2006) and the romance film Nenjai Thodu (2007). In 2008, she began working in more serious films such as the drama film Velli Thirai, in which she played herself, and the action thriller Dhaam Dhoom, directed by Jeeva. She received positive feedback for her portrayal of a lawyer in the latter. A review from Behindwoods wrote: "The latter (Raai Lakshmi) sizzles even as she is supposed to play the court professional who is caught in the web of smuggling drugs". She won her first Filmfare Award nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category.
She made her debut in Malayalam in 2007, starring in Rock & Roll, opposite Mohanlal. She followed it up with several successful films such as Annan Thambi, 2 Harihar Nagar (2009), Evidam Swargamanu (2009) opposite Mohanlal, and Chattambinadu (2009) opposite Mammootty. She appeared in three Tamil films in 2009, Muthirai, Vaamanan and Naan Avanillai 2.
In Vaamanan, she played a glamorous supermodel. In 2010, she was seen in three films. She made special appearances during song sequences in two of them, In Ghost House Inn and Pen Singam and portrayed a cowgirl in the Tamil film Irumbukkottai Murattu Singam.
Public recognition and success (2011–2014)
Raai Lakshmi's first 2011 release was Christian Brothers, which was a huge commercial success. Her next two films were Tamil projects, the comedy horror Kanchana and the Venkat Prabhu-directed action thriller Mankatha, starring Ajith Kumar. She played a negative character in the latter, which was received positively by critics. Both films emerged as high financial successes. Following Kanchana's success, she was signed on to reprise the role in its Kannada remake.
She performed an item number in the movie Pen Singam which went unnoticed. However, she performed her first successful item number opposite Ravi Teja in his Telugu film Balupu (2013) following which she signed to perform various item numbers with small cameo roles in films like "Money Money" in Vaamanan.
Her latest release Arabiyum, Ottakavum, P. Madhavan Nairum opposite Mohanlal was met with mixed reviews but turned out to a commercial success. Her 2014 films were Aranmanai and Irumbu Kuthirai in Tamil, Rajadhi Raja in Malayalam and Shrungara in Kannada.
Debut in Bollywood (2015–present)
In 2015, she signed three Malayalam films, Arabian Safari Preview and Santhoshayi Gopiyetta and three Tamil films, Oru Ticketla Rendu Cinema, Sowkarpettai and Arjun, Divya Matrum Karthik. After a brief gap of two years, she performed her second item number opposite Pawan Kalyan in his Telugu film Sardaar Gabbar Singh (2016).
Later she signed two Hindi films Akira and Julie 2. Julie 2 is her first Hindi film as the main lead.
In May 2016 she signed to perform her third item number in Motta Shiva Ketta Shiva. In October 2016 she signed to perform her fourth item number with Chiranjeevi in his 150th film Khaidi No. 150.
In 2018 she made her comeback to Malayalam cinema with the Mammootty starrer Oru Kuttanadan Blog
Awards and nominations
Asianet Film Awards
- 2008 : Asianet Award for Best Female New Face of the Year - Rock N' Roll
- 2010 : Asianet Most Popular Actress Award - Evidam Swargamanu
South Indian International Movie Awards
- 2012 : 1st South Indian International Movie Awards for Stylish Star of South Indian Cinema - Female.
Surya TV awards
- 2010: Nominated - Best Actress - 2 Harihar Nagar
Filmfare Awards South
- 2008 : Nominated for Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress – Tamil - Dhaam Dhoom
- 2010 : - Nominated for Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress – Malayalam Evidam Swargamanu
- 2011 - Nominated, Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress – Tamil - Mankatha
- Other awards
Based on an online poll conducted by The Times of India, Raai Lakshmi won the "Best Actor Award in a Negative Role - Female" for Mankatha.