Kanika (Indian actress)

"Kaniha" redirects here. For the village in Assam, see Kaniha, Kamrup. For other meanings, see Kanika.
Born Divya Venkatasubramaniam
July 3, 1982 (age 34)
Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Other names Kaniha
Occupation Actress, voice actor, playback singer, TV anchor
Years active 2002–present
Spouse(s) Shyam Radhakrishnan (2008–present)

Divya Venkatasubramaniam, also known by her stage name Kanika or Kaniha,[1][2] is an Indian film actress.

Kanika made her debut in the 2002 Tamil film Five Star, she went on to work in other South Indian film industries, including Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada, as well. She is perhaps best known for her performances as Eashwari in her debut film Five Star, Gayathri in Varalaru - History of Godfather and Thenmozhi in Autograph. She has had a successful run in the Malayalam film industry with back to back hits Bhagyadevatha and Pazhassi Raja.


Kaniha was Born: July 3, 1982 (age 34), Madurai, India in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India as the second daughter to Mr. and Mrs. Venkat Subramanian, both engineers. She studied at TVS Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Madurai and also won accolades including the Tamil Nadu State Award for Educational Excellence in 1999.[3] She then got admitted on merit to BITS ("Birla Institute of Technology and Science"), in Pilani, Rajasthan, from where she graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree.[3]

Having developed her singing talents from her childhood, by participating in pop music and light music shows, Divya was interested in singing and related performing arts. While she was still studying, she gave stage performances as a pop singer from time to time. When she was supposed to perform at the Miss Chennai event, a beauty pageant contest, in 2001, she got to participate at the contest, after a model had backed out at the last moment.[4] Despite lack of experience, she emerged victorious at that contest,[5] which would later pave her the way for a film career.


Susi Ganesan spotted her on a magazine cover page and insisted on her performing the lead female role in his second feature film. Divya eventually entered the Film industry, accepting the offer, while her name was changed to Kanika. Her debut film was the Mani Ratnam-produced Five Star (2002) with Prasanna, who made his acting debut as well, in which Kaniha portrayed a traditional village girl. She completed the entire film during her summer holidays, since she was a student.[6]

Kanika turned down all projects that were subsequently offered to her, including films by S. Shankar and P. C. Sreeram,[6] and went on to complete her graduation. Even before she finished her graduation, she completed her Telugu debut film Ottessi Chepputunna during her winter vacations, acting under another stage name Sravanthi.[7] In regard to her performance, Idlebrain wrote: "Sravanthy looks homely in the film and suited the character. She performed well. She is good at dances as well".[8]

After completing her studies, Kanika decided to give herself a go at the Tinsel towns. She starred in the Kannada film Annavaru (2004), a remake of Mani Ratnam's Thalapathi (1991), stepping into Kannada filmdom, too. She followed the movie with a neat, cameo role in Cheran's Autograph, earning critical acclaim. Kanika next appeared in a comedy oriented role in a commercial film by K. S. Ravikumar, Aethiree along with Madhavan, Sada, in which she portrayed as a "naughty Brahmin girl".[6] Sify labelled her performance in the film as "outstanding".[9] She went on to play the female lead in Dancer opposite physically disabled Kutty,[10] following which she returned to Telugu cinema, accepting to reprise her role in the Telugu remake of Autograph, Naa Autograph, playing the same role as in the original version.[7] She proved to be an actress to reckon with in the Kannada film Sye, a remake of Tamil film Dhill. She finally ventured into Malayalam cinema as the heroine for the campus-based film Ennitum.

Later in 2006, she appeared in her biggest project till then, Varalaru, directed again by K. S. Ravikumar, in which she shared screen space with Ajith Kumar and Asin. She won plaudits for her role as a mentally disorded girl. After a two-years gap, her most recent Kannada film Rajakumari opposite Ravichandran got released, in which she again got to play the female lead role.

After her marriage, when she was supposed to have bid adieu to the film industry, Kaniha returned to the Malayalam cinema in 2009, with the films Bhagyadevatha, directed by veteran Sathyan Anthikkad and starring Jayaram and Narain as well, and Pazhassi Raja, directed by reputed director Hariharan and starring Mammootty, Sarath Kumar and Padmapriya among others. While the former one, in which she played the role of a homely Christian girl, was highly successful at the box office, the latter one, a biographical historical film, in which she played the role of a queen opposite Mammootty. Pazhassi Raja is being considered the highest-grosser in the Malayalam film industry. Her performance in Bhagyadevatha led to her winning several awards.[11] Her rising adulation in the Malayalam industry saw her eventually sign laudable roles in the films My Big Father and Christian Brothers before she took a maternity break.

Other work

Besides acting, Kanika has ventured into other fields as well, working as a dubbing artiste, playback singer and TV host, proving to be a versatile and talented person.


Even at the prime of her career, Kanika moved to "small screen", hosting a couple of TV shows, which she believed were a "refreshing change from movies". She had first hosted the second season of the popular comedy show Kalakka Povathu Yaaru on STAR Vijay in 2006, following which she had hosted the popular family based game show Mega Thanga Vettai, the annual Chutti Vikatan Children's Quiz Show both on Sun TV. Besides, she also played a lead role in the television serial Thiruvilayadal on Sun TV. She has judged poupular reality shows like SUNDARI NEEYUM SUNDARAN NJAANUM, STAR SINGER both on Asianet. In 2015 she judged Uggram Ujjwalam a Malayalam reality show on Mazhavil Manorama

Dubbing and singing

Kanika has ventured into playback singing and dubbing as well. Having a vast experience and being a professional singer before turning actress, Kanika got the offer to sing the theme song of her debut film Five Star. She then turned dubbing artiste, dubbing for actresses Genelia D'Souza in Sachein, Sadha in Anniyan and Shriya Saran in Sivaji: The Boss.[12]


Kanika has also featured in print and TV ads of some reputed corporates. Some of them are listed below.

Personal life

Kanika married Shyam Radhakrishnan on 15 June 2008 who works as a US-based software engineer.[13] They have a son Sai Rishi born in November 2010. Initially she had decided to leave the film industry, finishing her career as an actress, and to settle down in the US, stating that she, however, would complete her hitherto signed films.[14] In January 2009 then, Kanika, unexpectedly, announced her comeback with the Sathyan Anthikkad-directed Malayalam film Bhagyadevatha.[15][16][17][18]



As actress

Year Film Role Language Notes
2002 Five Star Eashwari Tamil
2003 Ottesi Chepputunna Divya Telugu
Annavaru Subbulakshmi Kannada
2004 Aethiree Gayathri Natarajan Tamil
Autograph Thenmozhi Senthil Tamil Cameo
2005 Dancer Divya Tamil
2006 Naa Autograph Sandhya Telugu
Sye Renu Kannada
Ennittum Sneha Malayalam
Varalaru Gayathri Tamil
2009 Bhagyadevatha Daisy Benny Malayalam Nominated, Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Malayalam
Rajakumari Rajakumari Kannada
Pazhassi Raja Kaitheri Maakam Malayalam
My Big Father Ancy Malayalam
2010 Drona 2010 Tulasimani Malayalam
2011 Christian Brothers Stella Malayalam
2012 Cobra Annie Malayalam
Spirit Meera Malayalam
Bavuttiyude Namathil Mariam Malayalam Vanitha Film Award For Best Supporting Actress
2013 Orissa Chandrabhaga Malayalam
2014 To Noora with Love Sainaba Malayalam [22]
How Old Are You Susan David Malayalam
Mylanchi Monchulla Veedu Waheeda Malayalam
2015 Rudra Simhasanam Mohini Malayalam
O Kadhal Kanmani Pregnant women Tamil Cameo
2016 10 KalpanakalSara Malayalam
TBAPeranbu Malayalam/Tamil Filming
E. M. S-um Penkuttiyum MalayalamFilming
e Diary MalayalamDelayed

As dubbing artiste

Year Film For Language Notes
2005 Sachein Genelia Tamil
2005 Anniyan Sadha Tamil
2007 Sivaji: The Boss Shriya Saran Tamil

As playback singer

Year Title Film Language Composer Notes
2002 "Engalukku" Five Star Tamil Parasuram-Radha

See also


  1. "Kaniha turns hot in Mollywood". Sify.
  2. "Kaniha to play female lead in Mammooty starrer Cobra". Deccanchronicle. Archived from the original on 11 December 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  3. 1 2 "BITSIAN WOMEN – YOU GO GIRL!". bitsaa.org. Retrieved 7 June 2009.
  4. "The voice behind Shriya in Sivaji". Rediff. Retrieved 7 June 2009.
  5. "Miss Chennai 2001". vibamisschennai.com. Archived from the original on 4 February 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2009.
  6. 1 2 3 The voice behind Shriya in Sivaji. Rediff.com (31 December 2004). Retrieved on 27 February 2012.
  7. 1 2 Telugu cinema Review – Naa Autograph – Sweet Memories – Ravi Teja, Bhumika Chawla, Gopika. Idlebrain.com (11 August 2004). Retrieved on 27 February 2012.
  8. Telugu Cinema – Review – Ottesi Cheputunna – Srikanth, Sivaji – E Sathi Babu – Vidya Sagar – Anil. Idlebrain.com (11 April 2003). Retrieved on 27 February 2012.
  9. Movie Review:Aethiree. Sify.com. Retrieved on 27 February 2012.
  10. Dancer Tamil Movie Review. IndiaGlitz (14 January 2005). Retrieved on 27 February 2012.
  11. Dailynews – 8 Best Actor awards in one year for Kanika!. Cinesouth.com (31 January 2010). Retrieved on 27 February 2012. Archived 5 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. "The voice behind Shriya in Sivaji". Rediff. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  13. "Kanika enters wedlock". Oneindia. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  14. "Kanika Wedding Reception". IndiaGlitz. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  15. "Kanika makes her comeback". kollywoodtoday.com. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  16. "Gopika and Kanika scouting for roles". Behindwoods. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  17. "Kanika, the next big thing in Malayalam cinema". Rediff. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  18. "The hottest summer release in Malayalam". Rediff. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
  19. Kerala / Thiruvananthapuram News : ‘Pazhassi Raja’ selected as best film. The Hindu (4 January 2010). Retrieved on 27 February 2012.
  20. Lal, Kanika and Pazhassi -the best – Malayalam Movie News. IndiaGlitz. Retrieved on 27 February 2012.
  21. Kerala / Thiruvananthapuram News : Two films share critics award. The Hindu (30 January 2010). Retrieved on 27 February 2012.
  22. http://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-columns/on-location-to-noora-with-love-all-about-noora/article5809735.ece

External links

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