Nayanthara was born as Diana Mariam Kurian in Bangalore to Kurian Kodiyattu and Omana Kurian. Due to her father’s occupation as an Indian Air Force official, Nayanthara frequently moved and studied at various places in India. She studied at Balikamadom Girls Higher Secondary School and then attained her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature at Marthoma College, Thiruvalla. In 2003, she debuted as an actor in the Malayalam film Manassinakkare, followed by her debut in Tamil cinema with Ayya (2005) and Telugu with Lakshmi (2006).
After the commercial success of her Tamil and Telugu debut films, Nayanthara became the prominent face of Telugu and Tamil cinema with films like Chandramukhi (2005), Dubai Seenu (2007), Tulasi (2007), Billa (2007), Yaaradi Nee Mohini (2008), Aadhavan (2009), Adhurs (2010), Simha (2010), Boss Engira Bhaskaran (2010), Sri Rama Rajyam (2011), Raja Rani (2013), Arrambam (2013), Thani Oruvan (2015), Maya (2015), Naanum Rowdy Dhaan (2015), Babu Bangaram (2016) and Iru Mugan (2016). She has been bestowed with several accolades, amongst which she has won 1 IIFA Utsavam Award, 1 Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, 5 Filmfare Awards South, 1 Nandi Award, 1 CineMAA Award, 1 TSR-TV9 Film Award, 1 Santosham Film Award, 7 South Indian International Movie Award; all under the category of Best Actress. Moreover, she also won 6 Vijay Awards under the categories of Favourite Heroine and Best Actress.
Some of her notable films include:
- Sri Rama Rajyam
- Super (Kannada)
- Babu Bangaram
Nayanthara is the only female actress to have appeared in the Forbes India Celebrity 100 2018 list from South India for her earnings. She was born and brought up as a Syrian Christian. Her stage name Nayanthara, became her official name, on 7 August 2011, when she got herself converted to Hinduism through Hindu rituals at the Arya Samaj Temple in Chennai. She was romantically involved with Tamil film Vallavan’s director and co-actor Silambarasan Rajendar, but they broke up in 2006. She was then in a living relationship with Prabhu Deva, however, in 2010, Prabhu Deva’s wife Latha threatened to go on a strike if Prabhu Deva tied the knot with Nayanthara. Latha was supported by many women’s organizations, who protested against Nayanthara for bringing disgrace to the Tamil culture. Nayanthara ended her relationship with Prabhu Deva in 2012.