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Shobana performing Bharata Natyam dance
|Born||Shobana Chandrakumar Pillai
|Occupation||Actress, dancer, choreographer, Mridangam player and stage performer|
Shobana (born Shobana Chandrakumar Pillai) is an Indian film actress and Bharata Natyam dancer from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. She has acted in more than 400 films in several languages including Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Kannada and English.
Shobana was a lead actress in a number of southern Indian films during the 1980s and 1990s. She has worked with directors such as Adoor Gopalakrishnan, G. Aravindan, K. Balachander, AM Fazil, Mani Ratnam, Bharathan and Priyadarsan. She won the National Film Award for Best Actress twice, for her performances in the films Manichitrathazhu (1993) and Mitr, My Friend (2001). Consequent to the 1993 National Award, Shobana turned extremely selective about her films.
Shobana was trained under the Bharata Natyam dancers, Chitra Visweswaran and Padma Subrahmanyam. She emerged as an independent performer and choreographer in her twenties and currently runs a dance school, Kalarpana, in Chennai.
Shobana did her schooling in Chennai at Sishya school, Adyar. She adopted a girl child and named her Narayani.
She is the niece of the Travancore sisters – Lalitha, Padmini and Ragini, all of whom were classical Indian dancers and actresses. The actress Sukumari is her paternal aunt. Malayalam actress Ambika Sukumaran is her relative. Malayalam actors Vineeth is her cousin and Krishna is her nephew.
She started her career as a child artist at the age of 9 in the 1980 Tamil movie Mangala Nayagi directed by Krishnan-Panju. She made friends with Rohini in her second movie Bhakta Dhruva Markandeya in 1982. Shobana made her adult debut in the 1984 Malayalam film April 18 directed by Balachandra Menon. Her realistic portrayal of a simple girl-next-door appealed to audiences instantly and she went on to work in numerous films. "Debut as heroine I was all of 13 and a half but I didn’t look that young. I was 5’8” and people around me thought I should act as an 18-year-old off the sets. It put me in a shell initially because I was straight out of school," she later explained. In the same year she entered the Tamil film industry and acted in Enakkul Oruvan directed by SP Muthuraman. "Acting with Kamal Haasan I was 14, if you ask me now I would say I was nervous. But then he was a star and I was stunned.", Shobhana remembered acting along with Kamal Haasan in her early career. Enakkul Oruvan didn’t do well at the box office and Shobhana's commercial landing was stalled and she went back into Malayalam films. She did come back to act in occasional Tamil films opposite Satyaraj (Mallu Vetti Minor, Vaathiyar Veetu Pillai), Bhagyaraj (Ithu Namma Aalu) and Vijayakanth (Ponmana Selvan, En Kitta Mothathey) in the early 90s - these roles were generally glamorous in which Shobana generally acted as the beautiful, posh and haughty City girl who is eventually charmed by the village boy 
Her other major films include Kanamarayathu, Ithiri Poove Chuvanna Poove (1984), Yathra, Rangam (1985), Anantaram, Vrutham (1987), Idhu Namma Aalu (1988), Siva (1989), Innale (1990), Thalapathi (1991), Manichitrathazhu (1993), Thenmavin Kombath (1994),Minnaram(1994), Dance like a Man (2003), Mampazhakkalam (2004) and Makalkku (2005). From Aviduthe Pole Ivideyum to Upaharam, Shobana did sixteen movies in a single year, 1985. Shobana also stars in the Tamil period film Kochadaiiyaan.
Shobana won her first National Film Award for Best Actress in 1994 for her performance in AM Fazil's Manichitrathazhu. Her portrayal of Ganga Nakulan and alter-ego Nagavalli in the film was described by critics as "spell binding". She received her second National award for best actress in 2001 for her role in the Indian English language film Mitr, My Friend, directed by Revathi. Consequent to the 1993 National Award, Shobana turned extremely selective about her films. "In films I think I did everything possible in dance. There were many people who were weaving scripts around me for my dancing acumen. In one of the films, I play a handicapped girl and yet there was a sequence in which I break into a dance. Probably, they had their reasons. That was when I got bored." says Shobhana, explaining the reason for a long sabbaticals in her career.
Shobhana is an accomplished Bharata Natyam dancer. She did her dance training at the Chidambaram academy in Chennai, Tamil Nadu under Chitra Visweswaran. Shobhana danced Abhinaya, a pivotal element in Bharata Natyam.She was one among the judges in Jodi No.1,a reality show for dance aired in Vijay TV.
She has worked on collaborative ventures with the likes of tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, Vikku Vinayakram and Mandolin Srinivas. Her recitals abroad include those at the World Malayalee convention, in the United States in 1985 and 1995, in Kuala Lumpur before the King and Queen of Malaysia, numerous cities in the United States, Europe, South East Asia and Australia. Shobhana started performing in prestigious Soorya Music & Dance festival organised by Soorya Krishnamoorthy from the year 1994. In 1999, Shobhana along with Prabhu Deva and AR Rahman performed with a Tamil film dancing troupe at the "Michael Jackson and Friends" concert in Munich, Germany. She was also a part of Mani Ratnam's stage show, Netru, Indru, Naalai in 2000.
In 1994, Shobana founded a school for classical dance Bharata Natyam in Chennai – Kalarpana.
|1984||Ithiri Poove Chuvanna Poove||Subhadra|
|1985||Thozhil Allengil Jail|
|1985||Ee Thanalil Ithiri Nerum||Soudamini|
|1985||Ee Shabdam Innathe Shabdam||Sharada|
|1985||Oru Naal Innorunaal||Rajani|
|1986||T. P. Balagopalan M.A.||Anitha|
|1986||Ente Entethu Mathrem||Ambili|
|1986||Kshamichu Ennoru Vakku||Indu|
|1986||Ee Kaikalil||Viji Balakrishnan|
|1987||Kalam Mari Katha Mari||Ummu Kolzu|
|1990||Iyer the Great||Amala|
|1992||Oru Kochu Bhoomikulukkam||Indu|
|1992||Pappayude Swantham Appoos||Bhama|
|1995||Mazhayethum Munpe||Uma Maheshwari|
|1996||Aramana Veedum Anjoorekkarum||Alli|
|1999||Agni Sakshi||Devaki Manampalli|
|2009||Sagar alias Jacky Reloaded||Indu|
|2013||Thira||Dr. Rohini Pranab|
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