Shriya Saran (Tamil: ஷ்ரேயா சரன்) is an Indian film actor. She began her career acting in music videos, while also attending an acting studio to follow her dream to act. After her debut in 2001 with Ishtam, she gained Telugu cinema's attention in 2002 by playing the role of Bhanu in Santhosham, her first major hit.
Following the film she appeared in several Telugu films with prominent actors, whilst, also making in-roads in Bollywood as well as the Tamil film industry. In 2007, Saran became a national figure after her performance alongside Rajinikanth in Sivaji: The Boss, after which she has signed several Bollywood, Kollywood and also a Hollywood film.
Saran performs predominantly in leading heroine roles in high-budget and major studio films, ranging from romantic comedies and drama to science fiction and action thrillers. Her most popular released films include Santhosham (2002), Tagore (2003), Sivaji: The Boss (2007) and Azhagiya Tamil Magan (2007).
Shriya's first opportunity to appear in front of the camera came whilst she studied her second year at the LSR College in Delhi, which she quit to participate for the shoot. Saran's first screen appearance was in the music video of Tirakthi Kyon Hawa by Reenu Nathan, which she was given to chance to perform in by her dance teacher who had recommended her.
The video shot at Banaras gave her fame, prompting Ramoji Films to offer her the lead role of Neha in their film Ishtam starring and directed by newcomers. Saran despite wanting to only try one film eventually catapulted to fame. Before the release of Ishtam, Saran signed three mega-budget films; Santosham, Nuvve Nuvve and Tagore with the industry's top heroes, Nagarjuna, Tarun and Chiranjeevi respectively.
Shriya started her movie acting career with the Telugu film Ishtam (2001), produced by Usha Kiran Movies. This first film didn't fare too well at the box office, but she was noticed by many Telugu producers and directors.
She signed for Nagarjuna's Santosham (2002), which was a major hit and she didn't have to turn back since then. She was very lucky to get the most coveted chance to act opposite none other than Chiranjeevi at a very early point in her career.
After the huge success of Tagore she became one of the top actresses of the south Indian film industry. Her later movies, such as Nuvve Nuvve and Bhageeratha, earned her many accolades. She had one of the biggest hits in her career with Chatrapati opposite Prabhas.
Shriya is also endorses for large brands like LUX and Head&Shoulders.
She made her Tamil movie debut in Enakku 20 Unakku 18 (2003), cast along with Telugu actor Tarun, Trisha Krishnan. The film was an average hit at box-office, but it was more importantly a musical hit due to music composed by A. R. Rahman. She had plenty of glamorous roles lined up for her in Tamil, but instead continued with Tollywood for a year.
She has made her comeback in Kollywood through the film Mazhai with Jayam Ravi. The movie did well at the box-office. She beat other top actresses for the much coveted role with Rajinikanth in Shankar's Sivaji: The Boss which is the by far the costliest Indian film till date after Dasavatharam. Most recently she appeared opposite Vijay in Azhagiya Tamil Magan and she is currently filming with Vikram in Kanthaswamy.
Saran was born in Haridwar and spent most of her life in a small colony at the foothills of the Shivalik range. Her father, Pushpendra Saran work for the state-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited while her mother, Neeraja Saran was a chemistry teacher at the Delhi Public School, which Saran had attended. Her elder brother, Abhiroop Saran is four years older than her and currently works with an advertising firm, FCB Ulka, in Mumbai. He is married to Aarti, who Saran describes her relationship with her "like a house on fire".
As a kid, Saran claims to have "pooled her pocket money that she was given over a period of time and give it to a blind school". When Shriya was 17, her family moved to Delhi because she was passionate to learn kathak from eminent guru, Shovana Narayan.
In January 2008, a Hindu organisation based in Chennai lodged a police complaint against Saran, objecting to the outfit worn by her during the 175th day celebration of her film, Sivaji. In a complaint, the Hindu Makkal Katchi (HMK) alleged that Shriya's outfit had 'offended Hindu culture,'.
The complaint was officially taken in by the police and is currently under investigation. Shriya is the fourth actor, after Kushboo, Shilpa Shetty and Reema Sen to face the fire of political parties and organisations in recent times. Shriya then tendered an unconditional apology for “wearing inappropriate skimpy attire”.