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Top South Indian actress: From Samantha Ruth Prabhu to Sai Pallavi and Rashmika Mandanna

From Trisha, Nayanthara to Rashmika Mandanna, the South film industry has given rise to some of the most exceptionally talented actresses of all time. Here’s a list of the top South Indian actresses

Top South Indian actress: From Samantha Ruth Prabhu to Sai Pallavi and Rashmika Mandanna
Top South Indian Actresses

Last Updated: 09.56 AM, Apr 12, 2024

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South Indian cinema has some of the most talented and captivating actresses of all time. Not only have they charmed us through their breathtaking looks, but also stunned us with their exceptional performances. From Lady Superstar Nayanthara to versatile actress Anushka Shetty, south Indian cinema has been blessed with some of the finest female stars of all time. Not only have these actresses amazed us with their remarkable performances, but they are also standing on par with the Bollywood divas, making them pan-Indian stars! Their stunning looks and impeccable talents has definitely contributed to the growth of south film industries.

From their fashion choices to the wide range of roles that they have portrayed, these South Indian actresses have not only conquered the hearts of Indians but have also garnered a massive fan following in the global space. Their passion and dedication towards the craft have made them the leading stars of today. Here’s a list of the popular south Indian actresses. Have a look..

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Top actresses from South Indian film industries – Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam

Samantha Ruth Prabhu

Samantha Ruth Prabhu
Samantha Ruth Prabhu

Date of birth: April 28, 1987

Debut film: Ye Maaya Chesave (2010)

Languages worked in: Tamil, Telugu and Hindi

When we think of South beauties, doesn't Samantha's name pop into our minds? The popular actress was born to Telugu and Malayali parents and began her career as a model. She made her acting debut in Gautham Vasudev Menon’s romantic drama Ye Maaya Chesave, which earned her critical success. She went on to star in several films across languages, including Neethaane En Ponvasantham, Eega, Theri, Majili, and so on. Her performance as the antagonist in the Amazon Prime series The Family Man earned her critical acclaim, with critics noting the actress for delivering her career-best performance. Samantha's latest series, Citadel, is all set to hit the OTT space soon. Her charm and passion for cinema make her one of the best actresses in tinseltown.

Nayanthara

Nayanthara
Nayanthara

Date of birth: November 18, 1984

Debut film: Manassinakkare (2003)

Languages worked in: Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi

The Lady Superstar of Kollywood and one of the most popular actresses of all time, Nayanthara's grace and talent know no bounds! The South Indian diva, who began her career in Malayalam cinema through Sathyan Anthikkad's directorial Manassinakkare, entered Tamil cinema and conquered the hearts of many. From Kalvanin Kadhali and Billa to Yaaradi Nee Mohini and Tulasi, Nayanthara mesmerized audiences with her stellar performances in her two-decade-long career. The actress's women-centric films, such as Maaya, Puthiya Niyamam, and Kolamaavu Kokila, won her the title of being one of the most successful actresses in the country. Her latest outing, Jawan, which also marked her Bollywood debut, became a blockbuster hit. With exciting films in the lineup, the actress continues to outshine her contemporaries.

Rashmika Mandanna

Rashmika Mandanna
Rashmika Mandanna

Date of birth: April 5, 1996

Debut film: Kirik Party (2016)

Languages worked in: Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi

The rising star of Indian cinema and the National crush, as everyone refers to her, Rashmika Mandanna is certainly at the peak of her career. The young talent, who hails from Karnataka, made her debut with the Kannada film Kirik Party. She grabbed the audience's attention with her mesmerizing performance in the Telugu film Geetha Govindam, opposite her rumored beau Vijay Deverakonda. The film turned out to be a huge success, paving the way for more hit roles in the actress's career. She gained wider attention for playing a female lead in the 2022 blockbuster film Pushpa: The Rise. The South diva expanded into Hindi cinema with Goodbye (2022) and Animal (2023). The vibrant actress is currently a social media sensation and the most followed South Indian actress.

Keerthy Suresh

Keerthy Suresh
Keerthy Suresh

Date of birth: October 17, 1992

Debut film: Pilots (2000)

Languages worked in: Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu

Keerthy Suresh, the daughter of actress Menaka G. Suresh and film producer G. Suresh Kumar, began her career as a child artist before portraying the lead role in the 2013 Malayalam horror film Geethaanjali alongside superstar Mohanlal. The young talent later ventured into Tamil cinema and won the hearts of many through her impeccable performances in films such as Remo, Thodari, and Sarkar, to name a few. However, her portrayal of the veteran actress Savitri in her biographical film Mahanati earned her critical acclaim, with the actress bagging her first National Award. The South star is currently gearing up to make her Bollywood debut in the film Baby John opposite Varun Dhawan.

Parvathy Thiruvothu

Parvathy Thiruvothu
Parvathy Thiruvothu

Date of birth: April 7, 1988

Debut film: Out Of Syllabus (2006)

Languages worked in: Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and Hindi

Parvathy Thiruvothu doesn’t need an introduction, as her stellar acting career speaks for itself! The talented Malayalam actress, who hails from Kozhikode, Kerala, debuted in the 2006 Malayalam film Out Of Syllabus. She received her major break in the 2006 Rosshan Andrrews directorial teen drama Notebook. The Malayalam actress then went on to do movies in several other languages, and most of her films have attained critical acclaim, with critics praising the actress’s impressive performance. From playing Maari in the Srikanth-starrer Poo to receiving the National Film Award – Special Mention for her performance in Take Off, Parvathy Thiruvothu still stands tall as one of the best actresses in the country.

Trisha Krishnan

Trisha Krishnan
Trisha Krishnan

Date of birth: May 4, 1983

Debut film: Jodi (1999)

Languages worked in: Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and Hindi

Trisha, who has been reigning over Tamil cinema for over 25 years, continues to be one of the most successful actresses in South India. The South diva, who was born in Chennai, ventured into modeling in her earlier years. After doing a few supporting roles, the Tamil actress made her leading role debut in the 2002 film Mounam Pesiyadhe, starring Suriya. She went on to do several successful films across languages and earned praise from critics who hailed her charming presence on screen. From playing a soft-spoken college girl in the Vikram-starrer Saamy to winning widespread acclaim for her role in her Telugu debut Varsham, Trisha’s on-screen charm and choice of roles have always set her apart from her contemporaries. Her notable performance as Jaanu in 96, opposite Vijay Sethupathi, is regarded as her career-best role.

Nithya Menen

Nithya Menen
Nithya Menen

Date of birth: April 8, 1988

Debut film: 7 O' Clock (2006)

Languages worked in: Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and Hindi

Be it Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, or Kannada, you name it, Nithya Menen has never failed to leave a mark in all four South Indian film industries. The young actress began her career as a child artist in the French-Indian English film Hanuman and went on to appear in child roles in the Hindi soap opera Choti Maa – Ek Anokha Bandhan. The actress got her first break as the leading lady in the 2008 Malayalam film Aakasha Gopuram, alongside Mohanlal. In 2015, she won critical acclaim for playing Tara in Mani Ratnam’s romantic drama OK Kanmani. Her realistic performance in the film, along with her undeniable chemistry with her co-star Dulquer Salmaan, resulted in the film’s massive success. She also made her Bollywood debut in the commercially successful film Mission Mangal (2019). With solo performances in web series like 'Kumari Srimathi' and films such as Praana, the actress has been lauded for slipping into characters with ease. With many more exciting projects in the lineup, this South Indian actress continues to deliver path-breaking performances.

Sai Pallavi

Sai Pallavi
Sai Pallavi

Date of birth: May 9, 1992

Debut film: Premam (2015)

Languages worked in: Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu

Malar from Premam simply cannot be forgotten. Sai Pallavi’s portrayal as Nivin Pauly’s love interest won the hearts of many. However, the young talent began her journey into showbiz in the dance reality show Ungalil Yaar Adutha Prabhu Deva (2008). She did few uncredited roles in Tamil films such as Kasthuri Maan and Dhaam Dhoom until she was cast as Malar in Alphonse Puthren’s romantic drama Premam. She won several best debut roles for the film, and went on to star in a series of films across other languages including Maari, Love story, Fidaa and so on. The south Indian actress is adored for her down-to-earth persona and natural looks, which has set a huge fan base across the country and overseas. With several films such as Thandel and Amaran in her kitty, this talented actress is one of the favourite artists among many. 

Tamannah Bhatia

Tamannah Bhatia
Tamannah Bhatia

Date of birth: December 21, 1989

Debut film: Chand Sa Roshan Chehra (2005)

Languages worked in: Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi

From playing next-door roles in Paiyaa to essaying the role of warrior princess in Baahubali, Tamannah is one of the most successful south Indian actresses. The actress who originally hails from Mumbai, forayed into acting with her Hindi film debut in Chand Sa Roshan Chehra. She later found her foothold in the south cinema world, with her entry into Telugu and Tamil cinema. Her notable films include Ayan, Paiyaa, Happy Days, 100% Love, Oosaravelli, and so on. She later went back to Bollywood and did films such as Himmatwala, Humshakals, Khamoshi. She also forayed into the OTT space with web series such as 11th Hour, November Story, Jee Karda and Aakhri Sach which has broadened her horizons. 

Anushka Shetty

Anushka Shetty
Anushka Shetty

Date of birth: November 7, 1981

Debut film: Super (2005)

Languages worked in: Tamil and Telugu

This Telugu actress is nothing short of a powerhouse of talent. Debuting in Nagarjuna starrer Super, south Indian actress Anushka Shetty is known for essaying unconventional roles effortlessly. From playing critically acclaimed roles in films such as Arundati and Rudhramadevi to playing a prostitute in the acclaimed drama Vedam and Devasena in the Baahubali series, Anushka Shetty has one of the most impressive filmographies among her contemporaries. The south Indian actress has won several accolades including one Tamil Nadu State Film Award and the prestigious Kalaimamani in 2011. The actress who is gearing up for her Malayalam debut in period fantasy thriller Kathanar – The Wild Sorcerer, doesn't cease to amaze her fans through her exceptional performances. 

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