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.
Shoba was born to K. P. Menon and Prema Menon. Her mother was one of the leading actresses in Malayalam Cinema in the 1950s.
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. Though the film was highly acclaimed but it did not fare well at box office. 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-starer 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 big hit and made Shoba as a recognised child actor in South Indian cinema.
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's is loosely based on her life and death.