Shobana Chandrakumar popularly known by her stage-name Shobana (born 21 March 1966), is an acclaimed Indian actress and an exponent of Bharatanatyam dance. She has won the National Film Award for Best Actress twice and mainly acts in Malayalam cinema.
In January 2006, the Indian government honored Shobana with the Padma Shri award for her contributions to cinema and Bharatanatyam.
Shobana acted for the first time in a leading role in the Malayalam motion picture April 18 in 1984, directed by Balachandra Menon. She also acted alongside the Malayalam actor Mammootty in the film Kanamarayathu (1984). Shobhana became a leading heroine simultaneously in Telugu film industry. She has to her credit to be the first heroine opposite Nagarjuna Akkineni, when he was introduced to the industry through a hit film "vikram" and Shobana won her first National Film Award for Best Actress from the government of India in 1994 for her brilliant performance in Fazil's Manichitrathazhu. She received her second National award for best actress in the year 2001 for her role in an English language film Mitr, My Friend, directed by Revathi. Shobhana is an accomplished dancer of Bharatanatyam. She did her dance training at the Chidambaram academy in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Her guru is the legendary Bharatanatyam dancer Chitra Visweswaran Shobhana is famed for her Abhinaya, a pivotal element in Bharatanatyam. She performed in Kuala Lumpur before the King and Queen of Malaysia. Shobhana's skilled execution of dance movements and her extraordinary beauty has led many people to consider her as the most beautiful South Indian actress from the 1980s through the 1990s. She is often equaled to the curvaceous beauty of Indian sculptures. Shobhana has founded a school for classical Bharatanatyam dance in Chennai- kalarpana. She was also a part of Mani Ratnam's stage show, Netru, Indru, Naalai. In 1994, Shobana founded Kalarpana. The aim of Kalarpana is to organize annual festivals throughout India. Shobana is well recognized by her performance in the movie Rudra Veena (Telugu movie, 1988) with Chiranjeevi as a great dancer and Social reformer. This will include performances of nationally and globally known artistes to help raise funds that will be ploughed back into training talented artistes who are financially insecure. Under its umbrella, Kalarpana extend its support to the handicapped and the environmental movement.
Shobhana was born to Anandam and Chandrakumar, in Kerala. Shobana is the niece of the Travancore sisters Lalitha, Padmini and Ragini, all of whom were renowned for their skill in classical Indian dance. The veteran actress Ms Sukumari is an aunt from the paternal side. She is single and is involved in her dance school as well her creative pursuits full time. Her very close friends from the industry are Revathy, Suhasini & Rohini. Famous actor and renowned dancer Vineeth is related to her. She has a penchant for make up & hairdressing and often tries her hand at hairstyling with Kushboo, her co-artist whenever they acted together. Recently, she adopted a six month old baby girl and named her Anantha Narayani.