Meena Durairaj, mononymously known as Meena, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, is a South Indian film and television actress. Meena debuted as a child artist in Tamil films and has later starred in films produced by various regional industries. She is one of the most established actresses in the southern Indian film industry. In addition to acting, Meena is also a model, singer, TV host and occasional dubbing artiste.
Meena started her career in 1982 as a child artist in the film Nenjangal, featuring Dr Sivaji Ganesan in the lead role, after Ganesan saw her at a birthday party. She says of Ganesan that "I feel extremely proud to have been discovered by the legend." Since, she has appeared in over 45 films as a child artiste.
She made her debut in Tamil in Oru Pudiya Kadhai, and also stars in Telugu and Kannada films. Her first role in Malayalam that gained attention was in Santhwanam. Meena has expressed a wish to do more films in Malayalam. She says of her transition from being a child star to being a heroine that "Memories as a child are really fabulous and I still cherish them. And it is still more special as that phase is over. Now, I am enjoying my stint as a heroine."
She has played the role of leading heroines in Tamil and Telagu films since the early 90s, often playing characters without negativity or grey shades. She has generally avoided glamorous roles though she has acted in a few like Maaman Magal in Tamil opposite Sathyarajand some movies with Ravichandran in Kannada. In the Kannada remake of Autograph, she reprised Sneha's role of Divya.
She has acted with Vishnuvardan, Rajinikanth, Balakrishna, Ravichandran, Kamal Haasan, Mohanlal, Vijayakanth, Ajith Kumar, Prabhu Deva, Sarathkumar, Mammootty, Jayaram, Suresh Gopi, Prashanth, Sudeep, Chiranjeevi, Venkatesh, Nagarjuna, Raviteja, eventually herself becoming a star. She had hits with films like Muthu, Ejaman, Veera, Avvai Shanmughi and Mutamestri. She also acted opposite Vijay in Shajahan and played a role along with Surya in Periyanna. She acted opposite Vikram in Kadhaleesham. Meena has acted both as a child and as an adult opposite Rajnikanth. She has acted with almost all the superstars in South India.
Following the release of Muthu in Japan and its commercial success, Meena's popularity rose in Japan. A role in Kadha Parayumbol and in its Tamil and Telugu remakes, Kuselan and Kathanayakudu respectively, were well received by audiences. Meena has expressed regret about Kuselan, after her part was overshadowed. She has gained two substantial roles in Malayalam opposite Mammootty and Mohanlal. Her acting in Mariyadhai alongside Vijayakanth has been well received.
Meena has said that her own favorite roles were in Bharathi Kannamma and Shock in Tamil, Seetha Ramayya Gaari Manavaralu in Telugu, Santhwanam in Malayalam and Swathi Muthu in Kannada, "though every film of mine is close to my heart."
Meena's releases in 2009 are Mariyadhai with Vijayakanth and Katha, Samvidhanam: Kunchako with Sreenivasan. She was reported to be taking the lead actress role in the Malayalam film Sagar alias jackie, but she was replaced by Bhavana.In Malayalam, Meena paired with Mohanlal the most and almost all their movies were successful.They are considered as "lucky pair" in Mollywood.
She is now acting in a Malayalam movie titled Pattunool unjal opposite Manoj.K.Jayan, and is due to play the Telugu Saint Vengamamba in Tarigonda Vengamamba, directed by Uday Bhaskar.
After marriage she is going to pair with Ramesh Aravind. They both are the lead hero & heroine in this film. The film is a remake of Varavu Ettana Selavu Pathana which was acted by Nassar, Radhika, Goundamani, Senthil, Vadivelu and Kovai Sarala which was 12 years ago and a super hit film directed by V Sekar. It is also told that She is taking an elder sister role of Narain in the movie named Thambikottai, in this movie Poonam Bajwa is the pair for Narain. Others acting in this movie is Prabhu and Vadivelu and this movie is directed by Ammu Ramesh. Meena is also doing as the lead heroine in the film Vidathey Pidi in which she pairs with Prabhu.
There is a news told that Meena and Prasanna had dubbed for Cheran movie Pokkisham. Prasanna has dubbed for Aryan Rajesh, who has played Cheran's son in the film, while Meena has rendered voice for Padmapriya.
Meena was born in Chennai as the daughter to a Tamil father Durairaj and a Malayali mother Raj Mallika. She was enrolled in Vidyodhya schools in Chennai. Because of her busy acting schedule she had to discontinue schooling in the 8th standard, later taking up private coaching and completing the 10th standard. She went on to get her MA in History from the University of Madras through the open university system in 2006. Meena is a trained Bharathanatyam dancer and speaks six languages : Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada and English.
Her mother has played a pivotal role in shaping her career and acted as her guide and advisor. Meena has always credited her mother for standing behind her as pillar of strength. When Meena's make-up artist failed to turn up at a remote village in Kakinada during the shooting of Bobbili Simham in 1994, her co-star Roja Selvamani did her hairstyling, beginning their friendship. She has acted as Roja's younger sister in several Telugu films. Other Best friends are actress Sanghavi, Sridevi Vijaykumar,Maheswari and Devayani.
Meena married Vidyasagar, a software engineer from Bengaluru, at Tirupathi on 12 July 2009. Their reception was held on 14 July 2009. Meena says she will continue with her acting career.