Trisha Krishnan (born 4 May 1983), known mononymously as Trisha, is an Indian film actress and model, who primarily works in South Indian films, where she has established herself as a leading actress. She was noticed after winning several beauty pageants like the Miss Madras contest (1999), which marked her entry into filmdom.
After appearing in a supporting role in the 1999 Tamil film Jodi, she had her first lead role in the 2002 film Mounam Pesiyadhe. She later rose to fame starring in the successful films, Saamy (2003) and Ghilli (2004) in Tamil cinema and Varsham (2004) in Telugu cinema, for which she secured her first South Filmfare Best Actress Award. She went on to win the award two more times for Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana (2005) and Aadavari Matalaku Ardhalu Verule (2007). In 2010, she made her Bollywood début in Khatta Meetha. She was seen in her career best performances in Abhiyum Naanum (2008), Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa (2010) for which she won Vijay Award for Favourite Heroine and was nominated for Filmfare Best Tamil Actress Award.
Trisha was born to Krishnan and Uma in Chennai (then known as Madras) into a Tamil Brahmin (Palakkad Iyer) family in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. She completed schooling at the Sacred Heart Matriculation School in Church Park, Chennai, and later pursued a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) course at the Ethiraj College for Women (Chennai). She ventured into modelling and appeared in several print and television commercials. In 1999, she won the "Miss Salem" beauty pageant, and later the same year, the Miss Madras contest. She had also won the Miss India 2001 pageant's "Beautiful Smile" award.
Trisha had aspired to become a criminal psychologist initially, and resisted the thought of pursuing acting, as she wanted to complete her studies first. She also appeared in Falguni Pathak's music video Meri Chunar Udd Udd Jaye as Ayesha Takia's friend, which was directed by Radhika Rao and Vinay Sapru. She was later approached for an acting role in Tamil movie Lesa Lesa by Indian film director Priyadarshan, which marked the beginning of her professional career as an actress. During her college course, she had occupied herself with a tight shooting schedule, which made it difficult to continue with her education. However, she compensated by attending summer classes.
Early career 1999–2003
Soon after her pageant success, Trisha began her acting career in an uncredited role as Simran's friend in Jodi. The first project she accepted was the Priyadarshan-directed Lesa Lesa, with the promotional posters for the film, also creating an offer to star in the A R Rahman musical hit, Enakku 20 Unakku 18 (2003). However both the projects' releases were severely delayed, and her first release was Ameer's Mounam Pesiyadhe opposite Surya Sivakumar. The film became a moderate success at the box office and managed to gain credentials for Trisha, with critics claiming that she was "undoubtedly a refreshing new find, with sparkling eyes and appealing demeanour", also going onto praise the dubbing artiste, Savitha Reddy, who has since regularly dubbed for Trisha. Manasellam, her second project, saw her play a cancer patient; but the film went unnoticed despite positive reviews for the film and the actress.
Her subsequent release was the Hari-directed police film, Saamy with Vikram. She played a soft-spoken college-going Brahmin girl and received positive feedbacks for her performance, with Sify's reviewer citing that she was "appealingly sensual" and looked "glamorous", and another critic writing that she looked "very pretty" and suited the role. The masala flick became the biggest blockbuster of the year, grossing ₹ 16 crores, and landed Trisha new offers, including several high-budget productions. Lesa Lesa, which was supposed to be her début, released next. The romantic musical, based on the 1998 Malayalam film Summer in Bethlehem, fetched generally positive reviews. Following Lesa Lesa, she appeared in Alai which proved unsuccessful at the box office. Then released her Enakku 20 Unakku 18 which was unsuccessful commercially but was a well noticed film because of its music and visuals and helped her career
In 2004, she débuted in Telugu cinema with M S Raju's romance-action film Varsham, which turned her into an overnight sensation. Critics lauded her performance as Sailaja, a middle-class girl who becomes a film star on her father's insistence; Jeevi from Idlebrain claimed that she was "beautiful" and a "big plus to the film", labelling her performance as "natural", while Sify noted that she had "transformed herself into a fine actress with immense screen presence". A critic from fullhyderabad.com praised her, citing that she had shown why Tamil Nadu was "busy building her a temple", further adding that she looked "so fresh and fine, you feel like gifting her to the roses". While the film was highly commercially successful, running for over 175 days theatres, being declared a "sensational hit" and becoming one of the highest-grosser of the year, Trisha was given the Telugu Filmfare, as well as the Santosham Award for Best Actress. She was also offered the same role in its Tamil remake Mazhai, which she however declined. Later that year, she enacted the female lead opposite Vijay in the action comedy film Ghilli. She played the character of Dhanalakshmi, a helpless girl, whom a Kabaddi player tries to save from the clutches of an influential thug, who wants to marry her, with most critics agreeing that her performance was overshadowed by Vijay and Prakash Raj's in particular. The film eventually emerged the highest-grossing Tamil film of the year, celebrating a 175-days-run, too, and remains Trisha's biggest commercial success so far. She next appeared in a small role in Mani Ratnam's political drama Aayutha Ezhuthu, starring as part of an ensemble cast that included Siddharth, Madhavan and Surya. The film, despite favourable reviews, performed poorly at the box office, while she was again outshone by the three lead male actors.
In the following two years, Trisha had 12 releases overall, which all but one featured her as the female lead. She was part of two male-oriented action-masala flicks Thirupaachi and Aaru, directed by Perarasu and Hari, which both offered only limited roles for her, with the former becoming a major commercial success. In her second Telugu project, the sentimental drama Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana, she starred alongside Siddharth. The film, being Prabhu Deva's directorial début, opened to rave reviews, with Trisha receiving unanimous praise for her portrayal as the village girl Siri, which earned her three Best Actress prizes, including her second consecutive Filmfare Award and her first Nandi Award. Idlebrain noted that she was "just great. Her tender looks, innocent face and Telugu traditional costumes make her a treat to watch", further labelling her expressions and "naughty antics" as excellent, while Sify wrote of Trisha that she was "amazing as Siri [...] It is her career best performance and she has excelled throughout." The film eventually secured eight Southern Filmfare Awards, the most ever by any Telugu film, while also emerging highly successful at the box office. Trisha later went on to reprise the role in its Tamil remake as well. Her subsequent releases, N Lingusamy's Ji and Aathi, which saw her pairing with Ajith Kumar and Vijay, respectively, were both critical and economical failures, while Aaru was a moderate success and was received well by critics. The successes of Varsham and Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana led to Trisha being cast in the third consecutive M S Raju film, with the producer stating that she was "one of the most talented and beautiful actress I have ever worked with", going on to draw comparisons to the works of Savitri, Nargis and Sophia Loren. The film, Pournami, directed by Prabhu Deva again, featured her in the titular role alongside a star cast and bombed at the box office. Her sole Tamil release of 2006, Unakkum Enakkum, the remake of Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana, where she acted opposite Jayam Ravi, did very well at the box office. She starred in the Telugu film Stalin with Chiranjeevi, following which her Telugu film Sainikudu with Mahesh Babu was released.
Her next release was Aadavari Matalaku Ardhalu Verule where she was cast opposite Venkatesh. The film, Selvaraghavan's first Telugu venture, was a family entertainer and received good response especially from the family audience. Trisha's performance was critically acclaimed and won her accolades, eventually resulting in her third Filmfare win. In Kireedam with Ajith Kumar, Trisha tried comedy and received rave reviews. Kireedam opened with high expectations and received good reviews from media and was declared a success. Her 2008 Tamil films, Bheema and Kuruvi failed to succeed at the box-office. In Telugu Krishna with Ravi Teja, opened to rave reviews, and became a blockbuster. Her other release Bujjigadu starring Prabhas, directed by Puri Jagannadh was released during Summer and made a decent run. Trisha was praised for her performance in Radhamohan's Abhiyum Naanum. King starring Akkineni Nagarjuna directed by Sreenu Vaitla was a December release and it became a blockbuster.
Her 2009 films Sarvam with Arya and Sankham opposite Gopichand did not do well and became just average grosser. Trisha had a major role, starring as a Syrian Christian Malayali girl Jessie, in Gautham Menon's 2010 Tamil romantic drama film Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa, which was a big commercial success at the box office. The film centres around the complicated relationship between a Syrian Christian Malayali girl and a Tamil Hindu assistant director, who falls in love with her, only to be met by her indifference and reluctance as they belong to different religions and her strict conservative family will never consent to their marriage. Her performance was well received by critics, earning her the 2010 Vijay Award for Favourite Heroine. Pavithra Srinivasan of Rediff commented, "Trisha is a revelation. Shorn of her filmi make-up, she dazzles in Nalini Sriram's simple costumes." Sify remarked, "Trisha looks good and delivers her career best performance in a knock-out role."
Namo Venkatesa was her sole Telugu release in 2010. In the same year, she starred in Manmadhan Ambu with Kamal Haasan and R Madhavan and made her début in Bollywood with the Priyadarshan film Khatta Meetha. Upon release, the film received mixed reviews from critics and Box Office India declared it an average performer at the box office. She was part of two commercially successful ventures in 2011, Theenmaar in Telugu and Venkat Prabhu's Mankatha in Tamil. The latter was the highest-grossing Tamil film of the year and in Trisha's career.
She had two Telugu releases in 2012-Bodyguard, a remake of the same-titled Malayalam film, which saw her being paired with Daggubati Venkatesh for the third time, and Dammu opposite Jr NTR-and two Tamil releases in 2013-Samar starring Vishal, and the comedy drama Endrendrum Punnagai starring Jiiva. She signed on two "women-centric" bilingual projects featuring female lead casts, titled Rambha Urvasi Menaka and Kannaale Kannan. Although both films were commenced, they were stalled in 2013.
Her releases in 2015 included Yennai Arindhaal opposite Ajith Kumar, Thoongavanam with Kamal Haasan, Bhooloham with Jayam Ravi in Tamil. She also acted in the horror film Aranmanai 2.
In 2018, She acted in a Malayalam film Hey Jude with Nivin Pauly making her Malayalam debut. She played a leading role in a Tamil romantic drama 96 opposite Vijay Sethupathi and received praise from critics. Janani K of India Today praised her performance as career best.
She is currently shooting three films, Bhogi, Garjanai and Petta opposite Rajinikanth.
Other work and endorsements
An ardent animal lover, Trisha has been the Goodwill Ambassador of PETA. In 2010, Trisha collaborated with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in issuing a public appeal to domesticate stray dogs rather than craving for pedigreed foreign breeds. She was also the Goodwill Ambassador for the "Angel for Animals" campaign organised by PETA in 2010, encouraging people to adopt homeless dogs. PETA praised Trisha for her work, and sent her an appreciation letter highlighting her animal rescue work and efforts to encourage people to adopt Indian community dogs.
Trisha replaced Rani Mukherjee as the brand ambassador of Fanta India. She is the brand ambassador of Scooty Pep+, for which she has replaced Preity Zinta. She is also the brand ambassador for Vivel Di Wills, a product by ITC Limited. In 2011, she replaced Asin in Fairever fairness cream commercial.
Trisha resides in Chennai with her mother and grandmother. Trisha was born into a Tamil Iyer family, whose Tamil speaking ancestors hailed from the Palakkad region of Kerala. Trisha's father died in October 2012. Her mother tongue is Tamil, and she converses fluently in Hindi, French, and English.
Her mother Uma Krishnan, had been offered various roles by several Tamil film makers and actors including Kamal Hassan, but turned them down, as she wanted to concentrate on Trisha's career. She accompanies Trisha on film shoots, events, and functions, and they have appeared together only in a commercial advertisement. About her relationship with her mother, Trisha remarks, "She has been the pillar of my strength and has stood by me like a rock through thick and thin.[...] Everyone in the industry and my friends know how close I'm to my mom."
On 23 January 2015 Trisha became engaged to Varun Manian, a Chennai-based businessman. In May 2015, she confirmed that the couple had ended their engagement.