Diana Mariam Kurien, popularly known by her stage name Nayanthara, is a South Indian actress, who has acted in many Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu movies. After several commercial successes such as Chandramukhi, Ghajini, Billa and Yaaradi Nee Mohini, Nayanthara has established herself as one of the most promising, sought-after actresses of South India.
Nayanthara was born into a Orthodox Syrian Christian family, in Tiruvalla, Pathanamthitta District, Kerala.
She did her schooling at various parts of India (Kerala and Tamil Nadu), as her father was an Air Force Official. She joined Balikamadom High School, Thiruvalla for +2, then joined Marthoma college in Thiruvalla for her Bachelor's degree (English Literature).
Nayan Tara who was Diana Mariyam Kurien then was chosen 1st runner up in Best model Kerala 2003 which was conducted by Thrissur Advertising Club. This gave her few opportunities in modelling for adverisements. While at college, she was spotted by director Satyan Anthikkad and cast opposite Jayaram in Mansinakkare.
Afterwards, she co-starred alongside Mohanlal in Naatturajaavu and in Fazil's Vismayathumbathu. She was also cast with Mammootty in Thaskaraveeran (Dubbed into Tamil as Yuvaraj) and Raapakal.
She has also starred in several Tamil and Telugu movies. She was cast opposite Sarath Kumar in Ayya and with Rajnikanth in Chandramukhi. Her later films are Vallavan (Tamil), Gajini (Tamil), Yogi (Telugu) etc. flopped except Ghajini. She regained her throne in Kollywood through Billa in 2007. Her next movie Yaaradi Nee Mohini was a stupendous success.
Nayantara is very generous person, who has contributed to several causes. While working with Rajini, who is known for giving away gifts such as chains to people on the sets to celebrate a movie's success or to reward his coworkers, she became intrigued by his kind gestures. Inspired by this, she also started to reward her co-workers in her other movies by giving away gifts such as bicycles.
She is a down to earth and a darling among technicians for the exemplary camaraderie she exhibits with them.
Nayanthara started dating actor-director Prabhu Deva in 2008. In 2010, Prabhu Deva's wife Latha filed a petition at the family court, seeking directions against Deva from living in a relationship with Nayanthara and requesting a reunion with him. Furthermore, she threatened to go on hunger strike if Prabhu Deva married Nayanthara, while several women's organisations conducted protests against Nayanthara for bringing disrepute to the Tamil culture, burning an effigy of her. In 2012, Nayanthara confirmed that she had ended her relationship with Deva.
Nayanthara was born and brought up as a Syrian Christian. On 7 August 2011, she converted to Hinduism at the Arya Samaj Temple in Chennai. She went through Shuddhi Karma, a procedure involving a Vedic purification and a Homam where Nayanthara chanted the hymns from Veda and Gayatri Mantra under the guidance of the priest. After the purification ceremony, a Certificate of Conversion to Hinduism was issued to her and her stage name, Nayanthara, became her official name. She also visited a number of holy places, including Haridwar and Rishikesh in May 2014.