Nayantara (born Diana Mariam Kurien on November 18, 1984), is an Indian actress who has acted in Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu movies. After several commercial successes such as Chandramukhi, Ghajini, Billa and Yaaradi Nee Mohini, she has become one of the leading actresses in Tamil cinema.
She was educated in various parts of India (Kerala and Tamil Nadu), as her father was an Air Force Official. She is an orthodox Syrian Christian by birth. She attended Balikamadom High School, Thiruvalla for +2, then attended Marthoma college in Thiruvalla for her Bachelor's degree in English Literature. She is a native of Tiruvalla, Pathanamthitta District,Kerala.
Nayantara, who was Diana Mariyam Kurien at the time, was chosen 1st runner up in the Best Model competition for Kerala 2003, which was conducted by Thrissur Advertising Club. This gave her a few opportunities in modeling for advertisements. While at college, she was spotted by director Satyan Anthikkad and cast opposite Jayaram in Manassinakkare. Afterwards, she co-starred alongside Mohanlal in Natturajavu and in Fazil's Vismayathumbathu. She was also cast with Mammootty in Thaskaraveeran (Dubbed into Tamil as Yuvaraj) and Raapakal.
She has also starred in several Tamil and Telugu movies. She was cast opposite Sarath Kumar in Ayya and with Rajnikanth in Chandramukhi. Her later films Vallavan (Tamil) and Yogi (Telugu) flopped except for Tamil film Ghajini. She regained her throne in Kollywood acting opposite Ajith Kumar in the stylish and elegant Billa 2007 and Aegan, Joseph Vijay in Villu and Vishal in Sathyam and thus becoming one of the highest paid actresses in South India. Yaaradi Nee Mohini released in 2008 also was a huge hit and received seven nominations at the 56th Filmfare awards South; it was one of the highest grossing Tamil films of the year. She is currently doing Aadhavan with Surya Sivakumar.
Nayantara has contributed to several causes. While working with Rajini, who is known for giving away gifts such as chains to people on the sets to celebrate a movie's success or to reward his coworkers, she became intrigued by his kind gestures. Inspired by this, she also started to reward her co-workers in her other movies by giving away gifts such as cars and bicycles.
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