23 September 1962
|Died||1 May 1980
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
|Other names||Shoba Mahendra, Urvashi Shoba, Baby Mahalakshmi, Baby Shoba|
|Years active||1966–1971, 1977–1980|
|Spouse(s)||Balu Mahendra (1978–1980) her death|
|Parent(s)||K. P. Menon (Father)
Shobha (23 September 1962 – 1 May 1980) was a South Indian film actress. She started her career as a child artist in the Tamil film Thattungal Thirakkappadum. Her first film as a heroine was Utrada Raatri. Shobha's real name was Mahalakshmi. She won the National Film Award for Best Actress for her role in the Tamil film Pasi at the age of 17.
In 1966, Shoba made her screen debut in Tamil Thriller film Thattungal Thirakkappadum directed by actor J. P. Chandrababu. In the film she was credited as Baby Mahalakshmi where she played the role of Lakshmi opposite actress Savitri, K. R. Vijaya, R. S. Manohar and Chandrababu himself. The following year she made her debut in Malayalam cinema through Udhyogastha by P. Venu where she was named as Baby Shoba. Touted as the first "multi-starrer", with five top actors, in Malayalam cinema, the film had Sathyan, Prem Nazir, K. P. Ummer, Padmini, Sharada, Sheela and Rajasree in the lead along with Shobha. The film was a big hit and gained Shoba recognition as a child actor in South Indian cinema.
In 1978 she was cast as a heroine in Uthradarathri, a film directed by Balachandra Menon. She received the Kerala government's Best Actress award for the 1978 films Bandhanam and Ente Neelakasam. The same year she earned the Best Actress award by Filmfare for the Kannada-language film Aparichita. In 1979 she was recipient of the National Award for Best Actress for the Tamil film Pasi, which was produced by Lalitha, the eldest of the Travancore sisters. She also received the Filmfare Best Actress award for Pasi and received the Second Best Actress award from the Kerala government in 1977 for the film Ormakal Marikkumo.
Shobha committed suicide at the age of 17. She was married to Balu Mahendra. In an interview to Anu Haasan in Koffee with Anu, Balu Mahendra has said that the tragedy of how Shoba was suddenly snatched away from his life by destiny, as quickly as she came, formed the plot for his next movie Moondram Pirai. The 1983 Malayalam film Lekhayude Maranam Oru Flashback directed by K. G. George is loosely based on her life and death.