Nithya Menen, Jyothika, Nazriya: 12 women actors who donned the cap of producer

Be it a passion for films or a need to make good movies, many women actors in the south Indian film industries are exploring the production side of filmmaking.
Nitya Menen, Jyothika and Nazriya actors in a collage image from left to right
Nitya Menen, Jyothika and Nazriya actors in a collage image from left to right
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Actor Nithya Menen recently turned producer with her upcoming sci-fi movie Skylab. At the event to launch the trailer, she confessed that the urge to ‘protect’ the film made her turn to production. For Niharika Konidela, niece of veteran Telugu actor Chiranjeevi, a love for cinema pushed her towards becoming a producer. In an interview, she had said that it didn’t matter to her whether she was acting or producing as long as she was a part of the film industry.  

Be it a passion for films or a need to make good movies, many women actors in the south Indian film industries are exploring the production side of filmmaking. And this is not a new phenomenon. Not wanting to limit themselves, the late veteran actors Vijaya Nirmala and Bhanumathi Ramakrishna also produced films and even directed. 

From the stories they pick to produce to working with an eclectic group of talent and technicians, these actors turned producers are experimenting and putting out great content in the form of films, television shows, and web series. Here is a list of 12 women actors, from Radikaa Sarathkumar and Vijaya Nirmala to Jyothika and Nithya Menen, who turned producers.

Nithya Menen: The actor is known for her versatile movie roles. From horror movies to romantic comedies, she has done them all. And she seems to have continued the trend to experiment when it comes to production. This is evident from her first production venture, Skylab, which is set to release in the first week of December. The Telugu movie, which deals with a space station falling and crashing near a small village, sees Nithya Menon playing one of the leads as well. The actor who has been active in the industry since 2011 said that she will continue to produce films under her banner Nithya Menen Company, as long as she gets interesting stories like Skylab.  

Amala Paul: The south Indian actor turned producer with her latest film, the forensic thriller Cadaver. The first look for the film was recently released and presented Amala Paul, who also stars in the movie, in a different look. The actor took to social media and said, “I've now grown wings to venture into a new line of work. I'm starting my very own production house Amala Paul Productions.” She also has Aadai and Adho Andha Paravai Pola, among other movies, in the pipeline. Amala was last seen in the Netflix anthology series, Pitta Kathalu, where she played the role of Meera.

Niharika Konidela: The actor has always made it clear that she loves cinema. It's been six years since she ventured into production with her banner Pink Elephant Pictures. She started by producing the web series Mudda Pappu Avakai, while simultaneously working as an actor. Recently, she released another web series, Oka Chinna Family Story (OKFC) that aired on Zee5 and has received a decent response. Niharika began her career as a television presenter and went on to become an actor, but did not get any solid hits in the film industry. However, she is proving her talent when it comes to the web series, both as a producer and by acting in a few episodes.

Nayanthara: The Lady Superstar has acted in more than 70 films in various genres and languages, in a career spanning nearly two decades. And recently she turned co-producer with Rowdy Pictures Private Limited. The production house is jointly owned by Nayanthara and her fiance, the filmmaker Vignesh Shivan. The Tamil film Kaathu Vaakula Rendu Kadhal that is being produced by Rowdy Pictures also sees Nayanthara starring in it along with Vijay Sethupathi and Samantha Ruth Prabhu. 

Nazriya Nazim: The Malayalam actor launched her own company Nazriya Nazim Productions. She has produced around three movies including the much acclaimed Kumbalangi Nights. Nazriya continues to act and is set to make her Telugu debut in Ante Sundaraniki with Nani as the other lead. The multitalented Nazriya is best known for her roles in movies such as Bangalore days and  Raja Rani, among others

Rima Kallingal: The 2019 Malayalam movie, Virus, saw actor Rima Kallingal don the cap of producer. The film was helmed by her husband, Aashiq Abu. Previously, Rima had been an associate producer for a few movies and eventually became co-producer as part of Opium Dream Mill production house. Rima Kallingal has been a part of the film industry since 2009 and continues to impress with the varied acting roles she takes on.

Charmee Kaur: The actor, who began her career in 2002, has gone through many ups and downs in her professional life. In 2015, she turned towards production with her friend, the director Puri Jagannadh. Charmee is a co-producer at Puri Connects. Despite some misses, Puri Connects has bounced back at the box office with the mass hit, Ishmart Shankar and is producing the pan-India project, Liger with Vijay Devarakonda and Ananya Pandey in the lead. The movie will also see boxer Mike Tyson play a key role. Charmee has produced more than seven films under this banner. 

Jyothika: The award-winning actor has been active in the film industry since 1998. While she took a break in between, Jyothika came back to acting in 2015 with the Tamil film 36 Vayadhinile in which her performance garnered much praise. Now, she has ventured into production as well. Jyothika is co-producing movies under 2D Entertainments, which was founded by her husband, the actor Suriya in 2013. The recent legal drama Jai Bhim was produced under this banner.

Taapsee Pannu: The renowned Bollywood and south Indian actor has also turned producer with her own banner Outsiders Films. Her first production feature film is Blurr. She will also be starring in the thriller movie. Taapsee Pannu, who has been acting since 2010 has won acclaim for many of her performances. The actor has a string of films coming up, including the Telugu movie Mishan Impossible. She was recently seen in Haseen Dillruba.

Radikaa Sarathkumar: The veteran actor has turned producer with her home banner, Raadan Media Works under which she has produced television serials and movies. Radikaa has been active in the film industry since the late 70s and acted in numerous movies and donned various roles. From playing the female lead she went on to essay character roles. She also starred in the hugely popular television soap opera Chithi 2.

Vijaya Nirmala: The late Telugu actor was famous for movies like Saakshi, Meena, and Thatha Manavadu, where she played the lead actor. But she was also a director and ace producer, who had produced movies under the banner, Vijaya Krishna movies. The wife of the late actor Krishna and mother of Telugu star Mahesh Babu, she reportedly produced around 15 films. Vijaya Nirmala was active in the film industry from the 1950s to the 1980s as an actor, and in her later years turned towards direction and production.

Bhanumathi Ramakrishna:  The veteran actor who passed away in 2005 was known for the strong roles she essayed in Telugu and Tamil movies. She was also a noted producer and director, as well as a writer. She produced the 1954 Telugu film Chakrapani, in which she starred along with Akkineni Nageswara Rao. The actor was active in the industry from the 1930s to the 1990s, playing various roles from wife to grandmother. She was best known for her roles in the movies Bamma Maata Bangaru Baata, and Mangamma Gaari Manavardu, among others. 

Watch Nithya Menen's Skylab trailer here :

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