Soundarya (Kannada: ಸೌಂದರ್ಯ)(July 17, 1971 - April 17, 2004) was a popular film actress in Telugu, Kannada, Tamil and Malayalam films. She had a successful career of 12 years as heroine in films until her death in a plane crash near Bangalore. She acted in more than 100 films.
Soundarya acted in her first film while she was in high school. She was offered a role in the film Gandharva a Kannada movie (1992) by her father's friend, while she was studying in her first year of MBBS. She discontinued her studies after the film Ammoru became successful.
She moved onto Telugu films where she achieved immense popularity and success. She reigned over the Telugu silver screen almost until her death. The major chunk of her career was spent in Tollywood and Soundarya became a household name in Andhra Pradesh. She acted with almost all the major stars of Telugu cinema like Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, Venkatesh and Balakrishna among many others. Soundarya is considered to be one of the all time best actresses of Telugu cinema.
Soundarya has also acted in a Hindi film. She also produced and acted in a Kannada film Dweepa, with Girish Kasaravalli as director. The film won a host of National awards including Swarna Kamal (Golden Lotus) which is given for best film of the year. It also won Karnataka state awards for Best Actress, Best Film and Best Cinematography and was featured in five international film festivals. Her last film was the immensely successful Kannada film, Aaptamitra. Now 'Soundarya Memorial award' was kept and issued by Karnatandhra Lalitkala academy on memory of Soundarya for every ugadi.
Soundarya, daughter of senior film writer, industrialist K.S. Satyanarayan was born and brought up in Bangalore. She entered the glamour world through film Gandarva. She was the only heroine who acted with all super stars of South India namely Kamal Hassan, Rajinikanth, Mohanlal, Chiranjeevi, Balakrishna, Nagarjuna, Venkatesh, Ravichandran, Vishnuvardhan, and Amitabh Bachchan (Suryavamsh). Though hailed from Bangalore, she throb the hearts of many through Telugu films. She got many awards and accolades for her performance.She received 6 filmfare awards in a short span of 12 yrs for the following: Ammoru (1994), Anthapuram (1998), Raja (1999), Dweepa (2002)(2 awards as best actress and best producer), Aaptamitra (2004). Karnataka State Award in 1998-99 (Doni Saagali),dweepa for 2002. Nandi Award given by Andra Pradesh Government (Ammoru,Pavitra Bandhanam and Antahpuram). Not just as an actress but was also a producer for Dweepa directed by Girish Kasaravalli bagged the Swarna Kamal award. After the death of her father, her brother Amarnath looked after all her assignments Unfortunately both sister and brother died in this accident. Soundarya was married to a software professional G S Raghu an year back and many didn't know that she was an MBBS graduate! One more of her project 'Kamali' stopped because of her death.
Soundarya was born in the Ashtagrama villages and was a Smartha Brahmin. She married her maternal uncle and childhood friend, software engineer G. S. Raghu on 27,April, 2003. She had great dreams of promoting public welfare during her lifetime. At the time of her death, she was about to produce and act in a film titled 'Kamli', directed by K.N.T Sastry. Her wishes of funding welfare activities are being fulfilled by her husband and sister-in-law through the AMARA SOUNDARYA SOCIAL AND EDUCATIONAL TRUST [ASSET]. She has developed the entire village of Gangigunte [her native village], Mulabagal Taluk, in the Kolar district of Karnataka. Soundarya maintained an orphanage. Presently, it is being maintained by her relatives. In addition, the school, AMARA SOUNDARYA VIDYALAYA, is maintained by her trust and her own home is now being used as a school. There are many ideas and concepts that were dreamt and thought by Soundarya and her brother Amarnath for the welfare of the society, being fulfilled by Soundarya's husband and Soundarya's sister-in-law Nirmala using ASSET. She had adopted some educational institutions and given funding for so many educational institutions and their family is continuing funding for educational institutions.
Soundarya died on April 17, 2004 in an airplane crash near Bangalore when the four-seater plane Cessna 180 caught fire immediately after take off . She was on her way to Andhra Pradesh to campaign for Bharatiya Janata Party for the elections. Her brother, Amarnath, a producer of Kannada films, also died in the accident.