Meena is an Indian actress who has starred as a lead heroine in the South Indian film industry. Meena debuted as a child artist in Tamil film Nenjangal in 1982 and has later starred in films produced by various regional industries.
She has acted in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and several Hindi films. She is among the few actresses who have been successful in all the South Indian languages. She is one of the most established actresses in the South Indian film industry. In addition to acting, Meena is a model, singer, dancer, TV judge and occasional dubbing artiste.
Meena was brought up in Chennai by Tamil father Durairaj and Malayali mother Raj Mallika from Chirakkal Palace-Kannur Dist. She was enrolled in Vidyodhya schools in Chennai. Because of her busy acting schedule, she had to discontinue schooling in the 8th standard, later taking up private coaching and completing the 10th standard in vidyodaya schools in Chennai. She went on to get her master's in History from the University of Madras through the open university system in 2006. Meena is a trained Bharathanatyam dancer and speaks six languages: Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi, and English.
Meena married Vidyasagar, a Bangalore-based software engineer, on 12 July 2009 at Arya Vysya Samaj Kalyana Mandapam. The couple later visited Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, Andhra Pradesh. The couple came back to Chennai to hold a reception at Mayor Ramanathan Chettiar Hall, in which all leading southern Indian actors participated. The couple have a daughter, Nainika Vidyasagar (born 1 January 2011), who made her acting debut at the age of 4 in Theri (2016) alongside Vijay.
Meena started her career in 1982 as a child artist in the film Nenjangal, featuring Sivaji Ganesan in the lead role, after Ganesan saw her at a birthday party. Meena was still very young at that time. Her mother Rajamallika brought her to A.M. Ratnam's office for an offer. Even though she looked chubby, they felt she fitted the bill. She has acted in several films along with Dr. Sivaji Ganesan and Rajinikanth as a child artist. Meena acted in Kollywood by appearing as a child artiste alongside Rajinikanth in the movie Anbulla Rajinikanth, in which she acted as a terminally ill child who warms up to Rajinikanth —that became a major pointer in her career growth. After the success of that movie, she became one of the famous child artist in South Indian movies. She says of Ganesan that "I feel extremely proud to have been discovered by the legend". Since then, she has appeared in over 45 films as a child artiste.
Lead female roles
She made her debut in Telugu beside Akkineni Nageswara Rao in Seetharamaiah Gari Manavaralu, where Meena played his granddaughter Seeta. The film was showcased among the Indian panorama section, at the 1991 International Film Festival of India. The film was made under the banner VMC Productions. She won Nandi Award for Best Actress from the Government of Andhra Pradesh for Seetharamaiah Gari Manavaralu.
While she made her debut as a leading lady in Tamil film Oru Pudhiya Kadhai and played heroine roles in more than three dozen films, and also starred in Malayalam and Kannada films, her first role in Malayalam that gained attention was in Sandhwanam directed by Sibi Malayil in 1991. She played Suresh Gopi's daughter in the film. Its success made her famous, which led to roles with senior Malayalam heroes. Meena has expressed a wish to do more films in Malayalam. She says of her transition from being a child star to being a heroine that "Memories as a child are really fabulous and I still cherish them. And it is still more special as that phase is over. Now, I am enjoying my stint as a heroine."
She has played the role of the leading heroines in Telugu and Tamil films since the early 1990s, often playing characters with unidimensional personality with no negativity or gray shades. She has generally avoided glamorous roles though she has acted in a few like Maaman Magal in Tamil opposite Sathyaraj and some movies with Ravichandran in Kannada. In the Kannada remake of Autograph as My Autograph, were directed, produced and enacted by Sudeep. In this film, Meena starred Sneha's role of Divya.
Meena has the unique distinction of starring opposite legendary actors of different generations across various languages. She has acted with Rajinikanth, Dr. Kamal Haasan, Chiranjeevi, Dr. Vishnuvardhan, Krishna, Dr. Mammootty, Dr. Mohanlal, Balakrishna, Ravichandran and other stars like Vijayakanth, Akkineni Nagarjuna, Venkatesh, Ajith Kumar, Prabhu Deva, Sarathkumar, K. Bhagyaraj, Jayaram, Suresh Gopi, Prashanth, Kichcha Sudeep, Raviteja. She had hits with the films Nattamai film directed by K. S. Ravikumar. It starred Sarath Kumar, Meena and Kushboo in the lead roles. The film was successful and completed a 175-day run at the box office (1994). She just grabs the continuous offer and the opportunity to act in films like Avvai Shanmughi (1996) with Kamal Haasan, Porkkaalam with Murali (1997), Bharathi Kannamma (1997) with Parthiban and so on. Telugu audience remember her for a variety of roles that called for mature acting that seemed tailor-made for her. The peppy girl who wins over her unrelenting grandfather with her endearing ways in Seetharamaiah Gari Manavaralu, the protected sister in Chanti the innocent housewife in Sundarakanda, the renowned poet and devotee ‘Tarigonda Vengamamba’ are but just few of the many characters she played with relative ease and subtle charm. Another excellent performance in the movie Rhythm (2000). This movie makes the most impact in multiple viewings. Meena was exceptionally brilliant performance in each scene. Strangely enough, she looks the best in this movie in terms of makeup and this movie had her in her best performance to date. While she picked up Best Actress at the Cinema Express Awards.
Meena has acted both as a child and as an adult opposite Rajinikanth. Her first hit with Rajinikanth was Yejaman, where she plays the role of Vaitheeswari, a simple village girl who marries the Superstar Rajinikanth. She always played the quiet, serious woman. In her follow-up movie with Rajini, Veera, Meena again dazzled. Romantic-comedy film. Rajinikanth, Meena and Roja (actress) in lead role. This film was controversial for its climax but went on to become one of the highest-grossing films in 1994. But the film that brought her true recognition and fame was Muthu, one of Rajini’s biggest hits. The movie was successful across Japan. Ranganayaki as the talkative, cheeky street theatre actress won the hearts of audience. The film was directed by K. S. Ravikumar and produced by K. Balachander, and became the first Tamil film to be dubbed into Japanese, as Mutu: Odoru Maharaja.  The film grossed a record $1.6 million in Japan in 1998 and was responsible for creating a large Japanese fan-base for Rajinikanth and Meena. Following the release of Muthu in Japan and its commercial success, Meena's popularity rose in Japan.
Meena agreed to appear in an item number as herself in the K. S. Ravi – directed film Shahjahan (film) starring Vijay (actor). She has acted with almost all leading actors in South India. A role in Kadha Parayumbol and in its Tamil and Telugu remakes, Kuselan and Kathanayakudu respectively, were well received by audiences. Meena has expressed regret about Kuselan, after her part was overshadowed.
Meena has said that her own favorite roles were in Bharathi Kannamma and Shock in Tamil, Seetharamaiah Gari Manavaralu in Telugu, Sandhwanam in Malayalam and Swathi Muthu in Kannada, "though every film of mine is close to my heart."
Meena's releases in 2009 were Mariyadhai with Vijayakanth, directed by Vikraman, who earlier directed hits like Poove Unakkaga (1996) and Vanathai Pola (2000). and Katha, Samvidhanam: Kunchacko with Sreenivasan. She played in Telugu as Saint Vengamamba in Tarigonda Vengamamba, directed by Uday Bhaskar.
In 2011, she played the role of Narain's sister in the film Thambikottai, in which Poonam Bajwa is the pair for Narain. Other actors in this movie include Prabhu and Santhanam. Her role in this movie was very good and well accepted.
After marriage, she paired with Ramesh Aravind in the film Hendtheera Darbar, which was a remake of Varavu Ettana Selavu Pathana that starred Nassar, Radhika, Goundamani, Senthil, Vadivelu and Kovai Sarala.
In 2012, Udaya Bhaskar made a film titled Sri Vasavi Vaibhavam with Meena playing the Goddess' role in the film which also stars Suhasini, Priyahassan, Suman, Saikiran, Kannada Sridhar, Raghunatha Reddy and others. Meena plays the lead role in this Telugu devotional film. This marks her re-entry to films after a long period. After being a mother, we will get to see the sizzling Meena in this one. There are many graphic-significant episodes. The film has music by Arjun Sharma. Cinematography is by Raman Ji. Directed by Uday Baskar. The film is said to be released around mid-August.
Meena, all-time favorite actress of actor Vijay, was rumored to have been roped into a movie name Sattam oru iruttarai, which was a remake of the movie under the same name by his father and director, S.A. Chandrasekhar. The movie is said to be produced by actor's Vijay new launched production house, Ghilli Productions. But since Meena refused the offer, Reema Sen was finalized to play the role of a Police Office in this film and the sister to the hero.
The actress was approached by a Mollywood director to play Lal's wife with a woman-centric film with several actresses, including Rima Kallingal. "It had an interesting subject, but I wanted something more for my character. There were a lot of women in the film and everybody's got a story. I was more interested in a story focussing on a single woman character and that's why I haven't signed up for the movie," she says. Meena who had taken a temporary break from acting, will be facing the arc lights once again. It seems she has agreed to star in an ad film, and she is currently shooting near Kovalam with Prakash Raj. The commercial is being directed by producer Siva. Meanwhile, Meena is currently in a Telugu film, Sri Vasavi Vaibhavam. She had played a cameo in J.K. Bharavi's Jagadguru Adi Shankara-devotional film lastly and did justice to her roles.
After a brief hiatus, Meena returned to Malayalam cinema and will be seen playing the role of wife to Mohanlal in Drishyam (2013). Directed by Jeethu Joseph, she will be portraying the role of a mother of two daughters, of which the elder is pursuing her plus two. On the comeback trail has given, she holds her own against a superlative performance by the superstar Mohanlal. The actress will also be seen in Pramod Payyanur's much awaited movie, Balyakalasakhi alongside Mammootty.The actress confirmed that will be playing drishyam remake in Telugu with venkatesh. Meena will playing a leading role in Allari Naresh's upcoming movie Mama Manchu Alludu Kanchu.
Apart from south Indian movie sector Meena got also famous in Tamil Television serial sector too. Meena could able to make top on TV Serial and acted several high-ranking TV serial in over 2005. Meena got great presentation skills and she also uses that skills do stage shows and TV shows in various TV channels in South India. Among these are Meena has appeared in television shows and soap operas:
- She acted as a married woman in a 1990 TV serial Anbulla Amma co-starring with Tamil actress Manorama.
- She hosted a game show on Jaya TV in 2005 called Houseful.
- She appeared as one of the judges for the first season of the dancing competition Masthana Masthana aired on Sun TV.
- She appeared on Sun TV's serial Lakshmi in 2006.
- She acted in the TV serial Mudda Mandaram on Gemini TV.
- She appeared in a serial on Sun TV in 2009 called Kalyanam, written by Pattukottai Prabhakar.
- She has appeared as one of the main judge for the second season of the dancing competition Boys VS Girls season 2 aired on Star Vijay.
- Recently after giving birth to her daughter her debut to television is Jodi Number One Season 5. She was a judge for one of the rounds aired on Star Vijay.
- She was debuted to act the sun TV serial thiruppam.
- She has hosting Nee Kongu Bangaram Ganu on MAA TV starting from 18 June 2012.
- She is representing as a Judge in Veera Multi talen show on E TV from 2 August 2012.
- She made a grand entry as the main judge in Sun TV reality show Super Kudumbam in August 2012 along with Sukanya & Gangai Amaran.
- she has done another reality show in Asianet "Bharthakkanmarude Sradhaku" as judge.
- She has acted in anubhandalu serial on Gemini TV.
- She is a judge in super kutumbam which is a dance show and it is telecast in Gemini TV.
- Ramanujam, Srinivasa (10 August 2008). "'I am the heroine'". Times of India. Retrieved 1 May 2009.
- "Vijaykanth's 'Mariyadai' for a summer release". msn entertainment. 19 February 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2009.
- "Sreenivasan and Meena together once again!". FilmySouth. 3 October 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2009.
- "Meena to play Saint Vengamamba". Filmsouth. 2 April 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2009.
- "All about 'Thambikkottai'". IndiaGlitz. 30 September 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
- "Meena is back to Tamil". IndiaGlitz. 28 October 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
- "Meena for a Kannada remake". IndiaGlitz. 6 November 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
- "Meena as Shakthi in 'Sri Vasavi Vaibhavam'". IndiaGlitz. 28 February 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
- "Vikram Prabhu, Karthika & Piaa come together?". IndiaGlitz. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
- South, Filmy (5 June 2012). "'Sattam Oru Iruttarai' remake: Troubled times". Entertainment.in.msn.com. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
- "Reemma Sen in Vijay's production!". IndiaGlitz. 25 April 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
- "I'm still waiting for the right offer: Meena". The Times of India. 3 March 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
- "Ayngaran International". Ayngaran.com. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
- V Lakshmi (2 July 2012). "Meena is back on screen!". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
- Radhika C Pillai (11 February 2014) Will it be Meena or Nadiya for Kamal Haasan in Drishyam remake?. Times of India
- "Ramya Krishna and Meena are paired with Mohan Babu in Mama Manchu, Alludu Kanchu". tollywoodshow.com.
- "Mohan Babu is all thrilled to work with Ramya Krishnan and Meena again, 23 years after the release of "Allari Mogudu".". ibtimes.co.in. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
- Pillai, Sreedhar (24 September 2005). "Meena's small screen debut". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 1 May 2009.
- "Meena makes a TV debut". Screen India. 14 October 2005. Retrieved 1 May 2009.
- "Cinema Plus / TV Serials : New show". The Hindu. 26 October 2007. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
- "Lakshmi". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 21 July 2006. Retrieved 1 May 2009.
- "Friday Review Chennai and Tamil Nadu". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 27 February 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2009.
- Media, Sampurn. "Second innings for actress Meena". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
- "Meena to debut on Malayalam television". The Times of India. TNN. 30 May 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
Meena has been a playback singer for some albums with actor Manoj. She sang a song for the Tamil film Kadhal Sadugudu. Meena has composed music and sung and recorded two pop albums, 16 Vayathinile, and Kadhalism, which she began recording in 2001 with actor Vikram. Meena has been a playback singer in the music of D. Imman in the movie sena and the song is "indru intha kalayil en nenjil echo aachu", a super hit song.
Meena and Prasanna dubbed for Cheran's movie Pokkisham. Prasanna has dubbed for Aryan Rajesh, who has played Cheran's son in the film, while Meena has rendered voice for Padmapriya.
|1982||Nenjangal||Kidnapped child||Tamil||Child artiste|
|Enkeyo Ketta Kural||Daughter to Rajinikanth||Tamil||Child artiste|
|Theerpugal Thiruthapadalam||Daughter to Sivakumar||Tamil||Child artiste|
|Parvaiyin Marupakkam||Daughter to the Priest||Tamil||Child artiste|
|1983||Thandikkapatta Niyayangal||Playful child||Tamil||Child artiste|
|Sumangali||Doll-selling girl||Tamil||Child artiste|
|1984||Thiruppam||Baby Meena||Tamil||Child artiste|
|Illalu Priyuralu||Baby Meena||Telugu||Child artiste|
|Bava Maradallu||Baby Meena||Telugu||Child artiste|
|Anbulla Rajinikanth||Rosy||Tamil||Child artiste|
|Oru Kochukatha Aarum Parayatha Katha||Rajani||Malayalam||Child artiste|
|1985||Panneer Nadhigal||Tamil||Child artiste|
|Uyire Unakkaga||Nadhiya as a child||Tamil||Child artiste|
|Lakshmi Vanthachu||Playful child||Tamil||Child artiste|
|Ketti Melam||Baby Meena||Tamil||Child artiste|
|Rendu Rella Aaru||Baby Meena||Telugu||Child artiste|
|Khooni||Baby Meena||Telugu||Child artiste|
|1986||Sirivennela||Baby Meena||Telugu||Child artiste|
|1988||Vasanthi||Baby Meena||Tamil||Child artiste|
|1989||Prajala Manishi||Telugu||Child artiste|
|Paape Naa Pranam||Telugu||Child artiste|
|1990||Oru Pudhiya Kadhai||Lover to a writer||Tamil|
|Navayugam||Sumathi||Telugu||first debut as herione|
|Seetharamayya Gari Manavaralu||Seetha||Telugu||Nandi Award for Best Actress|
|1991||En Rasavin Manasile||Cholaiamma||Tamil|
|Idhaya Oonjal||Wife of a widower||Tamil|
|1992||Parda Hai Parda||Maya||Hindi|
|Allari Pilla||Funny girl||Telugu|
|Chanti||Nanchari||Telugu||Remake of Chinna Thambi|
|Sundarakanda||Nandini||Telugu||Remake of Sundara Kandam|
|President Gari Pellam||Wife||Telugu|
|Pellam Chepte Vinali||Geetha||Telugu|
|Moratodu Naa Mogudu||Telugu|
|1993||Yejaman||Vaitheeswari Vaanavaraayan||Tamil||Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress|
|Rajeshwari Kalyanam||Rajeshwari||Telugu||Nandi Award for Best Actress|
|1994||Sethupathi IPS||Chandramathi||Tamil||Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress|
|Punya Bhoomi Naa Desam||Swathi||Telugu|
|Oru Oorla Oru Rajakumari||Lakshmi Prabha||Tamil|
|Seral Irumboraiyin Tamil Kadhal||Tamil|
|Nadodi Mannan||Meenakshi, |
|Chilakapacha Kapuram||Telugu||remake of Tamil film Kizhakku Vasal|
|Putnanja||Rose||Kannada||remake of Tamil film Pattikada Pattanama|
|Cheluva||Kannada||remake of Telugu film Hello brother|
|Porkkaalam||Maragatham||Tamil||Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress|
|Bharathi Kannamma||Kannamma||Tamil||Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress |
Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Tamil
Cinema Express Award for Best Actress – Tamil
|Naam Iruvar Nammaku Iruvar||Indu||Tamil|
|1999||Unnaruge Naan Irundhal||Mahalakshimi (Maha)||Tamil|
|Manam Virumbuthe Unnai||Priya||Tamil|
|Olympiyan Anthony Adam||Angel||Malayalam|
|Sneham Kosam||Prabhavati 'Prabha' 'Guddiya'||Telugu|
|2000||Vanathai Pola||Gowri Muthu||Tamil|
|Thenali||Meena (Herself)||Tamil||Special Appearance|
|Pape Naa Pranam||Priya||Telugu|
|Palayathu Amman||Palayathu Amman||Tamil|
|Vetri Kodi Kattu||Valli Muthuraman||Tamil|
|Rhythm||Chitra||Tamil||Filmfare Special Jury Award |
Cinema Express Award for Best Actress – Tamil
|Sri Manjunatha||Goddess Parvathi||Telugu / Kannada|
|Namma Veetu Kalyanam||Tamil|
|Simhadriya Simha||Kannada||remake of Tamil film Nattamai|
|Ivan||Meena Kumari||Tamil||Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress|
|Padai Veetu Amman||Padai Veetu Amman, |
|Angala Parameswari||Angala Parameswari Amman||Tamil|
|Swathi Muthu||Lalitha||Kannada||Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Kannada|
|Game for Love||Kannada|
|Udayananu Tharam||Madhumathi Udayabhanu||Malayalam|
|Puttintiki Raa Chelli||Wife||Telugu|
|2007||Kadha Parayumbol||Sridevi Balan||Malayalam|
|Katha, Samvidhanam: Kunchacko||Ann Mary||Malayalam|
|2012||Sri Vasavi Vaibhavam||Telugu|
|2013||Sri Jagadguru Aadi Sankara||Gangadevi||Telugu|
|Drishyam||Rani George||Malayalam||Asianet Award for Best Character Actress |
JaiHind TV Movie Award for Best Actress
Vayalar Film Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Filmfare Awards South for Best Actress
Nominated – SIIMA Award for Best Actress
|Drushyam||Jyothi||Telugu||Remake of Malayalam Film Drishyam|
|2015||Mama Manchu Alludu Kanchu||Suryakantham||Telugu|
Awards and honours
- Sri Krishna Devaraya Award
- Kalai Selvam Award (South Indian Artiste Association)
- Asianet Film Awards
- Best Character Actress – Drishyam (2013)
- TSR TV9 awards 2010
- Special jury award – Tarikonda Venkamamba (2011)
- Ugadi Puraskar awards
- Best Telugu Actress – Tarikonda Venkamamba (2009)
- Tamil Nadu Government
- Kalaimamani Award (1998)
- Filmfare Awards South
- Best Tamil Actress – Bharathi Kannamma (1997)
- Filmfare Special Award - South – Rhythm (2000)
- Best Kannada Actress – Swathi Muthu (2003)
- Tamil Nadu State Film Awards
- Best Actress – Ejamaan (1993)
- Best Actress – Sethupathi IPS (1994)
- Best Actress – Porkkaalam (1997)
- Best Actress – Ivan (2002)
- Nandi Award for Best Actress
- Best Actress – Seetharamaiah Gari Manavaralu (1990)
- Best Actress – Rajeshwari Kalyanam (1992)
- Cinema Express Awards
- Best Actress – Nattamai 1994 (Tamil)
- Best Actress – Muthu 1995 (Tamil)
- Best Actress – Avvai Shanmugi 1996 (Tamil)
- Best Actress – Bharathi Kannamma 1997 (Tamil)
- Best Actress – Rhythm – (2000)
- Best Janaranja nadigai award
- Vanathai Pola – (2000)
- Rhythm – (2000)
- Dinakaran Award
- Best Actress – Avvai Shanmugi (1996)
- Film Fans Associations 45th Annual Award
- Best Actress – Putnanja (1995)
- Kala Sagar Award
- Best Actress – Chanti (1992)
Thumbs Up Awards
- Best Actress – Muthu (1995)
- Best Actress – Bharathi Kannamma (1997)
Lalitha Kalanjali Award
- Best Actress – Chanti (1992)