Soundarya was born to K. S. Satyanarayana and Manjula Sathyanarayana. She discontinued her M.B.B.S. first year in Bangalore to pursue acting career. In 1992, she acted in Telugu movie Raithu Bharatham. In a span of 12 years, she acted in more than 120 movies, predominantly in Telugu.
Soundarya gave her first hit in 1993 with the film Rajendrudu Gajendrudu. She got major acclaim for her role Ammoru. She continued her success with films like Pelli Chesukundam, Pavitra Bandam, Amma Donga, Maa Aayana Bangaram, Osi Na Maradala and Aaro Pranam. She embraced stardom with commercially successful films such as Annayya, Jayam Manadera, Deviputrudu, Eduruleni Manishi, Sri Manjunatha, Narasimha, Pelli peetalu, Dongata and Nagadevatha. Besides Telugu, she also acted in few Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi films in lead roles. She was the recipient of many accolades, amongst which, she had won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film as producer for the Kannada film Dweepa (2002). She won two Karnataka State Film Awards for Best Actress, numerous Filmfare Awards South and the Nandi Awards for her performances in films such as Ammoru (1994), Anthapuram (1998), Raja (1999), Dweepa (2002) and Aaptamitra (2004).
Some of her notable films include:
- Number One
- Jayam Manade Raa
Soundarya married her childhood friend and a Software Engineer G. S. Raghu. She was given the title “Savitri of modern Telugu cinema”. In 2004, Soundarya joined in Bharatiya Janata Party. On 17 April, 2004, while on her way to Karimnagar to campaign for the Bharatiya Janata Party and Telugu Desam Party candidate, she died in an aircraft crash near Bangalore. She was accompanied by her brother Amarnath, who also died in the crash. She was 5 months pregnant when she passed away. Soundarya founded 3 schools before her death for orphan children in Bangalore. The school is named after her father. After Soundarya’s death, her mother founded schools, institutions and orphanages named as Amarsoundarya Vidalaya’s in Bangalore, Karnataka, India.