17 years ago, a young woman won the Beautiful Smile Award at the Miss India pageant. The next year she acted in her first Tamil film.
That woman is Trisha Krishnan, who has charmed audiences in film after film, faced challenges and controversies, and continues to win people over with her smile.
Hailing from Chennai, Trisha completed her schooling at the famous Sacred Heart Matriculation School in Church Park. Interestingly, she aspired to become a criminal psychologist and studied for a BBA at Ethiraj College in Chennai. At the age of sixteen, Trisha won the Miss Madras title and participated in several beauty pageants contests. In fact, she made it all the way to the finals of the Miss India competition. However, Trisha did not win the title.
Trisha, who is now seen as an elegant rural woman in the poster of Karthik Subbaraj’s Petta, starring Rajinikanth in the lead, began her career in an uncredited role as Simran’s friend in Jodi (1999), directed by Praveen Gandhi. She then accepted her first project for the lead role in Priyadarshan’s Lesa Lesa, featuring Shyam and Madhavan. However the project faced delays due to various reasons and thus her first appearance in a lead role was in Ameer’s directorial debut Mounam Pesiyadhe in 2002.
The romantic drama was a commercial success, with her soft character a great contrast to and foil for Suriya, who played a harsh, slightly misogynistic man in the film. The film’s title Mounam Pesiyadhe was supposed to be a reference to Suriya’s role but it spoke volumes of Trisha’s silent entry to the film industry.
Since then she has been the queen of box office in the South Indian film industry.
She then appeared as a terminally ill woman in Manasellam, directed by Santosh which was a commercial failure and later gained limelight with Hari’s action drama Saamy. Till date, even her haters can never forget her role Bhuvana (milaga podi), a kind of naughty Brahmin girl. Her dialogues in the film on what a college going girl needs became a famous trend after the release.
Her movies Enakku 20 Unnaku 18 and Lesa Lesa released after this blockbuster hit, although they were began earlier. She also made her debut in Telugu industry with the film Enakku 20 Unnaku 18, which was bilingual titled Nee Manasu Naaku Telusu in Telugu. She was acclaimed for he performance in Varsham (2004) and won Filmfare Award for Best Actress in Telugu.
Trisha then starred in movies such as Ghilli opposite Vijay, Mani Ratnam’s Ayutha Ezhuthu opposite Siddharth, Something Something, Unnakum Ennakum in 2006, and other big films. Despite playing many roles, she was again recognized for her role only in Ghilli in 2004. Her role ‘Dhanalakshmi’ is yet again a memorable role after ‘Bhuvana’ and the name gained popularity when Prakash Raj calls it on screen along with the word Chellam.
She was fond of playing innocent, quite and dependent girl until Ghilli, after which she performed roles that portryaed young women with independent thinking and positive attitude.
Like Meera of Ayutha Ezhuthu, a fun loving city girl who is quite not bothered about anything. It was a break for her from her usual half saree or salwar.
Later ‘Maha’ in Aaru and ‘Anjali’ in Aadhi portrayed a different version of Trisha in the Tamil cinema industry. She was seen as ambitious, strong, bold and stubborn.
She again faced a set back and and a few flops in her acting career. Her appearance in Vijay starrer Kuruvi will show her growth in the industry over years. From ‘Dhanalakshmi’ to ‘Subha’ to ‘Anjali’ to ‘Devi’. However she managed to revive her image and fan base by playing the lead character ‘Jessie’ in Gautam Menon’s Vinnaithandi Vaaruvaya. It was again a breakthrough role for her as the character was nothing like what she had portrayed before. Trisha played the role of Jessie as a woman who knew what she wanted, knew where to push back and where to give up and arrive at a compromise.
Trisha was signed on as the leading lady and made her debut in Bollywood in Khatta Meetha directed by Priyadharshan after her phenomenal growth in the Southern film industry. She was paired opposite superstar Akshay Kumar in the comedy film, which was panned by critics and subsequently bombed at the box-office. Trisha’s performance, however, was lauded by audience which won her the nomination for Best Debut Actress.
Trisha also made her debut in Malayalam with Hey Jude, directed by Shyamaprasad. She played a role that touched upon the stigma of mental illness. Although a slow paced film, it was a feel-good film. She also proved herself to the Malayalam industry by not underplaying her role in the film. She owned each scene even though it was her first in the language and effortlessly played a lead character with so many layers to her.
Undeterred again by the failure of her film Mohini, Trisha was in high spirits when 96 released. And boy did she impress all her haters! The romantic drama, which itself is poem, Trisha came in as an additive poetic element in the film. Playing Jaanu aka Janaki Devi, Trisha gave an earnest performance with many calling it her most memorable film. With simple yellow kurta, light blue jeans and a blue silk stole with hair tied into a low ponytail and a tiny bindi on the forehead Trisha impressed even her haters with her simple yet classy look. This has become a look once again that everybody on social media has been raving about. In fact, clothing showrooms in the city have already started selling the ‘Jaanu’ look!
Now after so many flops and failures, controversies in real life, many awkward questions and comments Trisha maintained her image and fan base. Truly a leading lady who has acted with almost all the top heroes in the industry. From Ji to Yennai Arindhal with Ajith Kumar, Ghilli to Kuruvi with Vijay, Manmadhan Ambu and Thoongavanam with Kamal Haasan, Mounam Pesiyadhe to Aaru with Suriya, Saamy to Bheema with Vikram, Sarvam with Arya, Kodi with Dhanush, Samar with Vishal Krishna, Endrendrum Punnagai with Jiiva and finally Petta with Rajinikanth.
Trisha has also been equally successful in Telugu industry and has worked with stars like Chiranjeevi, Mahesh Babu, Prabhas, Siddharth and Venkatesh.
She has completed 16 years in the industry and will be seen playing Saro in Petta. Speaking at the film’s audio launch, she thanked everyone for their blessings. “My dream has come true by sharing the screen with Superstar. He is humble and his dedication towards his profession in spite of tall achievements taught us a lot. By watching Rajinikanth we can learn a lot of things.”
While it is common to have a quote from a fan of Trisha, here is what a non-fan wants to say about her. Arjun, a young entrepreneur says, “It is not so easy for an actress to survive in the industry after facing so many controversies in her personal life. It is not that simple to perform with the same spirit from Mounam Pesiyadhey till 96. To be honest we could feel the same Trisha even after 16 years. They are yet to find a replacement for the kind of film revenue she has generated over the years!”
Apart from Petta, Trisha has Garjanai by Sundar Balu, Sathuranga Vettai 2 by Nirmal Kumar, 1818 by Rithun Sagar and Paramapadham Vilayattu by Thirugnanam.
Over the years, while she starred in some hits and many flops, she has been reigning the Tamil and Telugu industry for well over a decade!