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Top Tamil actresses: From Nayanthara, Trisha Krishnan to Samantha and Tamannaah Bhatia

From Nayanthara, Trisha to Samantha and Tamannaah, Tamil film industry is blessed with immense talent contributed by actresses who work across languages. Here’s a list of top Tamil famous actresses

Top Tamil actresses: From Nayanthara, Trisha Krishnan to Samantha and Tamannaah Bhatia
Tamil actresses

Last Updated: 09.57 AM, Apr 12, 2024

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Even before pan-India became a phenomenon, actresses, especially from the south have been ruling the industries and have been part of projects from various languages. This holds a special regard to the female leads who hail from the south. Even as legends like Sridevi, Rekha, and Hemamalini had their humble yet glorious start from the south and moved up north, actresses of today’s times have shifted gears and have not only upheld what the South is capable of but also been able to headline projects.

Likes of Nayanthara, Keerthy Suresh, and Rashmika Mandanna, have worked in multiple projects and languages, acing the art of multi-tasking. The Tamil film industry also holds a special place in being home to many actresses who were able to prove their acting prowess. On that note, OTTplay compiles the list of top and famous Tamil actresses.

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Top Tamil actresses - From Trisha Krishnan to Tamannaah Bhatia, Samantha to Nayanthara

Nayanthara
Nayanthara

Nayanthara

Date of birth: 18 November 1984

Debut film: Manassinakkare (2003)

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

Nayanthara, who is christened as the Lady Superstar, is inarguably the most celebrated Tamil actress in the south, especially in the Tamil film industry. Hailing from Kerala, Nayanthara, who was born Diana Kurien, made her debut in Malayalam and ventured into Tamil films and went on to pair up with noted actors like Rajinikanth and Vijay. Having worked in about 75 films so far, Nayanthara has worked in various film industries, and also made her debut in Hindi alongside Shah Rukh Khan in Jawan. The actress might have had a few hardships and personal lows, but has emerged gloriously, stamping a mark for herself with self-confidence and talent. Nayanthara also runs a make-up brand 9 Skin and co-produces films with her husband and filmmaker Vignesh Shivan under Rowdy Pictures banner.

Nayanthara movies to watch:

  • Kolamavu Kokila
  • Naanum Rowdy Dhaan
  • Aramm
  • Raja Rani
  • Mookuthi Amman
Trisha
Trisha

Trisha Krishnan

Date of birth: 4 May 1983

Debut film: Jodi (1999)

Languages worked in: Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi

Trisha is a testament to the statement that age is just a number and has shattered the age-old belief that women have a shelf life in the film industry. Often referred to as The South Queen, Trisha won five Filmfare Awards South, a Nandi Award, and one Tamil Nadu State Film Award, among the plethora of recognitions. Trisha was brought up in Chennai and began her career as a model. The actor, first made her debut as a supporting role with minor screen space in Jodi, before she appeared in Mounam Pesiyadhe. Over her career spanning over three decades, Trisha has worked with nearly all top stars of the South industries, while at the time being part of several blockbusters.

Trisha movies to watch:

  • Ghilli
  • Abhiyum Naanum
  • Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa
  • 96
  • Ponniyin Selvan
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Samantha Ruth Prabhu

Date of birth: 28 April 1987

Debut film: Ye Maaya Chesave (2010)

Languages worked in: Tamil, and Telugu

An outsider to the film industry, Samantha has been a symbol of excellence and strength in the areas of acting, modelling and entrepreneurship. Having been introduced by Gautham Vasudev Menon through Ye Maaya Chesave, Samantha gave some notable performances in films like Super Deluxe, Majili, The Family Man, and Oh! Baby. Known for her penchant for fitness and travel, Samantha revealed that she has been diagnosed with dermatomyositis, following which she initiated a health podcast focusing on lifestyle and health. Samantha also founded the women's apparel brand Saaki.

Samantha Ruth Prabhu to watch:

  • Ye Maaya Chesave
  • Neethaane En Ponvasantham
  • Oh Baby
  • Super Deluxe 
  • Majili
Tamannaah Bhatia/Instagram
Tamannaah Bhatia/Instagram

Tamannaah Bhatia

Date of birth: 21 December 1989

Debut film: Chand Sa Roshan Chehra (2005)

Languages worked in: Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam

Tamannaah Bhatia hails from Punjab but predominantly works in Tamil and Telugu industries. Even as she made her debut with Hindi film Chand Sa Roshan Chehra, Tamannaah moved to the south and acted in a variety of roles in films like Kedi, Kalloori, and Happy Days to name a few. Quickly, the actor was able to get a grasp of the language as she ventured into Telugu industry and soon captured the hearts of many. Having appeared in over 80 films, Tamannaah has been part of some of the hit projects like Baahubali, Paiyaa, Ayan, and also made a special appearance in Rajinikanth-starrer Jailer.

Tamannaah Bhatia to watch: 

  • Kalloori
  • Ayan
  • Paiyaa
  • Baahubali
  • Babli Bouncer
Kajal Aggarwal
Kajal Aggarwal

Kajal Aggarwal

Date of birth: 19 June 1985

Debut film: Kyun! Ho Gaya Na... (2004)

Languages worked in: Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi

Kajal Aggarwal has predominantly worked in Tamil and Telugu films and has been a part of some of the blockbusters. Even as she made her debut in Hindi with Kyun! Ho Gaya Na... in 2004, Kajal moved to the South to predominantly work there. She shot to fame with the SS Rajamouli-directorial Maghadeera opposite Ram Charan. Subsequently, she also appeared in Tamil films and acted with top stars like Vijay and Suriya. A wax statue of Kajal Aggarwal was installed for display at Madame Tussauds Singapore.

Kajal Aggarwal movies to watch:

  • Thuppakki
  • Maghadheera
  • Darling
  • Brindavanam
  • Naan Mahaan Alla
Sai Pallavi
Sai Pallavi

Sai Pallavi

Date of birth: 9 May 1992

Debut film: Premam (2015)

Languages worked in: Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil

Known for her dancing prowess, Sai Pallavi made her way into the hearts of people through her charming portrayal as Malar teacher in the Malayalam film Premam. While the film gave her the much-needed kickstart to her career, Sai Pallavi began to mould herself into a better actor. Through her empathetic performance in Gargi, and being a show stealer in Love Story, Sai Pallavi won acclaim for her talent and sealed herself as a bonafide performer.

Sai Pallavi movies to watch:

  • Premam
  • Gargi
  • Love Story
  • Virata Parvam
  • Shyam Singha Roy
Keerthy Suresh. (Courtesy: Instagram/ Keerthy Suresh)
Keerthy Suresh. (Courtesy: Instagram/ Keerthy Suresh)

Keerthy Suresh

Date of birth: 17 October 1992

Debut film: Pilots (2000)

Languages worked in: Malayalam, Telugu, and Tamil

Keerthy Suresh may have begun her career as a child artist, and then pursued fashion design, but as she realised acting to be her true calling, made her leading role debut with Geethaanjali in Malayalam. A household name in Tamil and Telugu as well, Keerthy's best-known performance till date is in Mahanati, a biopic of late actor Savithri. Keerthy even bagged the National Film Award for Best Actress for her authentic portrayal of the veteran actress onscreen. A recipient of many awards, Keerthy Suresh has perfected the art of balancing commercial cinema like Remo, Sarkaru Vaari Paata and performative roles like in Saani Kaayidham.

Keerthy Suresh movies to watch:

  • Mahanati
  • Saani Kaayidham
  • Dasara
  • Maamannan
  • Remo
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Jyotika

Date of birth: 18 October 1978

Debut film: Doli Saja Ke Rakhna (1997)

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

Even as Jyotika made her debut in the Hindi film Doli Saja Ke Rakhna, the actress has grown to be a household name in Tamil cinema. A multi-faceted artist, Jyotika broke the body stereotype that women had onscreen. While promoting positive body imagery, Jyotika also gradually rounded her craft and experimented with different genres in her career. Even though Jyotika took a sabbatical from acting during the peak of her career when she got married to fellow artist and actor Suriya, she made a comeback with 36 Vayadhinile and bagged the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress for her performance. Jyotika, who is known for her chirpy onscreen presence, also proved her versatility by giving some profound performances in Mozhi, Chandramukhi, and the latest Kaathal-The Core.

Jyotika movies to watch:

  • Kushi
  • Mozhi
  • Kaathal The Core
  • Chandramukhi
  • 36 Vayadhinile
Shruti Haasan
Shruti Haasan

Shruti Haasan

Date of birth: 28 January 1986

Debut film: Hey Ram (2000)

Languages worked in: Tamil, Hindi and Telugu

Daughter of veteran and multi-faceted actor Kamal Haasan, it was no surprise that Shruti too followed her father's path in cinema. After debuting as a child actor in Hey Ram, Shruti eventually took up her passion for music and became a musician. She has sung for composers like Ilaiyaraaja, AR Rahman, Harris Jayaraj, and GV Prakash Kumar. She also scored the music for Kamal Haasan-starrer Unnaipol Oruvan. At the same time, she also built an acting career and is mostly known for her performances in Tamil and Telugu films. Known for her fondness for Goth, Shruti has appeared in various commercial blockbusters like 7aum Arivu, Salaar, and Vedalam, to name a few.

Shruti Haasan movies to watch: 

  • 3
  • 7aum Arivu
  • Salaar
  • Vedalam
  • Gabbar Singh
Amala Paul
Amala Paul

Amala Paul

Date of birth: 26 October 1991

Debut film: Neelathamara (2009)

Languages worked in: Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu

After making her debut in Malayalam, Amala Paul eventually gained much recognition in Tamil for her role in the 2010 film Mynaa. The actress also won the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress for her role. Gradually, Amala began to have a steadfast career in the South, especially Tamil and appeared in films like Deiva Thirumagal, Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi, and Thalaivaa, to name a few. Amala Paul also appeared in Telugu films and briefly worked in the Kannada industry as well. Even though Amala Paul took a sabbatical from work, and concentrated on personal well-being, the actress signed some interesting projects and is back onscreen.

Amala Paul films to watch:

  • Mynaa 
  • Ratsasan
  • Amma Kanakku
  • Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi
  • Deiva Thirumagal
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