South Indian actor Meena Durairaj is celebrating her 44th birthday on Wednesday. Meena started her career as a child artist in the early '80s and went on to become one of the most popular women actors in the '90s. Meena has acted in several Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi movies too.
She shot to fame with several films where she had substantial roles to play. In fact, she acted in many Telugu films where the title of the film was named after her character. Some of these include Rajeswari Kalyanam, Seetharayamayya gari Manavaralu, President gari Pellam, Allari Pilla, Pellam Chepithe Vinali, and Bhale Pellam. She was one of the most sought after actors for girl-next-door performances too. Venkatesh and Meena, in particular, were a popular pair in Telugu cinema.
Here's a look at some of Meena's memorable roles in Telugu cinema:
Seetharamayya Gari Manavaralu: This movie was released in 1991. Meena plays the role of Seeta, a smart young woman who bears all her pain in her heart and faces everyone with a smile. The plot revolves around the family of a landlord, and Seeta is his granddaughter. The family becomes estranged when the landlord's son marries a woman of his choice. Meena's character arrives from abroad after her parents' death, 20 years later. However, she does not reveal the truth about their parents' demise, thinking about her grandparents' health. She tries to make them happy with her presence. Meena won the prestigious Nandi Award for Best Actress for her role in this movie.
Chanti: In this 1992 movie, Meena plays the role of an only daughter, Nandini, who is born in a landlordâ€™s family. An astrologer predicts that Nandini will marry a person of her choice, and to prevent this from happening, her three brothers confine her to their home. However, Nandini still manages to see the world through Chanti, an innocent played by Venkatesh, and eventually falls in love with him. The Nandini character is a vibrant and charming one, allowing Meena a lot of scope for performance. The songs from the film were also a big hit and were composed by Ilaiyaraaja. This is the Telugu remake of the Tamil film Chinna Thambi, where Khushbu and Prabhu played the lead roles.
Abbayi Garu: In this 1993 movie, Meena plays Sudha, a smart and intelligent young woman. In an unexpected turn of events, she gets married to Dorababu, played by Venkatesh. While Dorababu adores his stepmother, the latter has ulterior motives and is planning to cheat him of his property. Sudha, who enters the family, is quick to find out the truth and puts her best efforts in protecting Dorababu and his property.
Suryavamsam: In this 1997 movie, Meena played the role of Swapna, an educated young woman. She is married to Bhanu, played by Venkatesh. Bhanu is looked down upon by their family since he is not educated. Swapna later teaches Bhanu how to read and write and helps him in securing greater financial heights.She enters the Civil Services because of her hard work, and all this happens after they move out to live on their own. Swapnaâ€™s was a well balanced role and she won the hearts of the Telugu audience.
Sneham Kosam: In this 1999 movie, Meena played the role of Prabhavathy. Prabhavathy is the daughter of a rich man and she returns to India after completing her education. She was a pampered and stubborn child, thanks to her father. Prabhavathy develops a grudge with Chinnayya, played by Chiranjeevi, whose father is accused of murdering Prabhavathy's mother. Though Meenaâ€™s character is one of the lead roles, there's also a negative shade to it in the first half due to misunderstandings. Meena portrayed the different shades to Prabhavathy very well in this film.