Meet the divas of Southern cinema

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In showbiz, add the rare combination of look, glamour and sex appeal, and you get a star. Those rules work bigtime in Tamil and Telugu film industries, when it comes to being a desirable actress. From Nayanthara to Pooja Hedge, IANS takes a look at South Indian cinema’s ruling divas of the moment.

NAYANTHARA
Top picks: “Raja Rani”; “Kolamavu Kokila”
Coming soon: “Aannatthe”; “Mookuthi Amman”

Believe it or not, the numero uno actress of the South Indian film industry is actually an filmstar by accident. She initially began her career as a model and a veejay, and was spotted by director Sathyan Anthikkad, who offered her “Manassinakkare” (2003). Although she rejected the offer first, she went on to sign the film on condition that this would be her only film. But we all know how it turned out for her. From starring opposite A-list actors to becoming the ‘Shero’ of her films, Nayanthara has come a long way. She is also the only South Indian actress to feature on 2018 Forbes India Celebrity 100. She is currently dating director Vignesh Shivan.

SAMANTHA AKKINENI
Top picks: “U-Turn”; “Super Deluxe”
Coming soon: “Kaathuvaakula Rendu Kaadhal”; “NTR 30”

Who says married actresses can’t be successful? Samantha has put a rest to the myth while climbing her way to the top. From her nuanced performance in “Super Deluxe” to owning the screen with her charm in “Jaanu”, this pretty and incredibly talented actress is acing it. While she began her career as a model, it was director Gautham Menon’s Telugu film “Ye Maaya Chesave” that had everyone take notice of her. From then on, there was no looking back. It was during the shoot that she met her husband Naga Chaitanya. A look at her Instagram handle will tell you that she is quite the fashionista.

TRISHA
Top picks: “Kodi”; “’96”
Coming soon: “Ponniyin Selvan”, “Raangi”

After winning the Miss Madras beauty pageant in 1999, Trisha ditched her aspiration to become a criminal psychologist and pursued a career in films. It is needless to say that the decision is paying off! Although she has won everyone with her million dollar smile and flawless looks, Trisha seemed to have won new fans with her subtle yet striking performance in “96”. With Mani Ratnam’s ambitious film “Ponniyin Selvan”, a film opposite Chiranjeevi and Mohanlal in her kitty, it is safe to say that Trisha has been impressing the audience for over a decade.

POOJA HEGDE
Top picks: “Oka Laila Kosam”; “Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava”
Coming soon: “Most Eligible Bachelor”; “Jaan”

Her Bollywood debut, “Mohenjo Daro” opposite superstar Hrithik Roshan was a disaster after she appeared on the big screen for the first time in the Tamil film “Mugamoodi”. However, this former I AM She-Miss India Universe found a sweet spot in the Telugu film industry. Be it her sweet charm in “Mukunda” or her spunky look in “Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo”, Pooja Hedge is earning praise in Tollywood. After starring in superhit films opposite Allu Arjun, Pooja is now once again all set for bigtime Bollywood, opposite Salman Khan in the upcoming “Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali”.

ADITI RAO
Top picks: “Kaatru Veliyidai”; “Sammohanam”
Coming soon: “Ponniyin Selvan”; “Thughlak Durbar”

She is the great granddaughter of Sir Akbar Hydari, former Prime Minister of the Nizam, and J. Rameshwar Rao, Raja of Wanaparthy. Her lineage probably explains the tinge of regal poise about her attitude and looks. It is no wonder that she has appeared as a princess in films like “Paadmaavat”, “Khoobsurat” and the upcoming film “Ponniyin Selvan”. Although she made her debut in the Malayalam film “Prajapathi” way back in 2006, the South Indian film industry only took notice of her in Mani Ratnam’s “Kaatru Veliyidai”. She eventually went on to win everyone with her sensuality in “Sammohanam”, “Chekka Chivantha Vaanam” and “Psycho”.

KAJAL AGGARWAL
Top picks: “Magadheera”; “Vivegam”
Coming soon: “Indian 2”; “Mumbai Saga”

She is the first South Indian actress to have a wax statue at Madame Tussauds Singapore. One of Telugu and Tamil cinema’s most stylish and bankable stars of today, Kajal Aggarwal’s is a popular face in A-list projects. She is also a face of several brands. While her film debut in both Tamil and Telugu received lukewarm reception, Kajal eventually found success in several big-budget films.

RAKUL PREET
Top picks: “Manmadhudu 2”; “NGK”
Coming soon: “Ayalaaan”; “Indian 2”

Sexy and how! Rakul Preet is swooning everyone by setting new fitness goal and displaying oomph in every film she appears in. Having won titles of Miss Talented and Miss Beautiful Smile at beauty contests, Rakul Preet debuted in the Kannada film industry to earn extra pocket money. It was only later that she realised how big South Indian films are, and she began taking her work seriously. Fast-forward to today, this stunner is scorching the screens with her looks!

RASHMIKA MANDANNA
Top picks: “Geetha Govindam”; “Chalo”
Coming soon: “Pogaru”; “Sultan”

Apart from making jaws drop with her emotive performance in “Geetha Govindam” and “Bheeshma”, this Kannada-born Telugu actress is soon to charm the Tamil film audience as well. She is learning how to speak in Tamil for her debut opposite Karthi. After starring in back-to-back hits, she is one of the most sought-after actors of today.

TAMANNAAH

Top picks: “Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy”; “F2: Fun And Frustration”
Coming soon: “Seetimaarr”; “That is Mahalakshmi”

If there is one actress who switches between glam and de-glam with ease, it is Tamannaah. Given her flawless look and incredible dance moves, she remains a popular choice among mainstream filmmakers. Ever since her debut at the age of 15, Tamannaah has starred in a slew of hit films. She is one of the highest-paid actress of South Indian cinema.

ANUSHKA
top picks: “Baahubali”; “Rudhramadevi”
Coming soon: “Nishabdham”

Queen Rudhramadevi, Queen Devesena and the Queen in Tamil and Telugu films, this list is incomplete without a mention of the actress. With her impressive height and acting abilities, this diva can singlehandedly take on bad guys in her films and draw crowds to theatres.

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