Born: October 26, 1985 (1985-10-26) (age 24)
Kochi, Kerala, India
Years active: 2001 - present
Asin Thottumkal (born 26 October 1985), known mononymously as Asin is an Indian film actress from the state of Kerala.
Making her acting debut in Sathyan Anthikkad's Narendra Makan Jayakanthan Vaka (2001), Asin had her first commercial success with Amma Nanna O Tamila Ammayi in 2003, and won a Filmfare Award for the Best Telugu Actress for the film.
After a number of films, she received her second South Filmfare Award for Best Actress for her performance in her second Tamil film, Ghajini (2005). She played the lead female roles in hits, the thriller Ghajini (2005) and the action comedy Varalaru (2006). More recently, Asin made her début in Bollywood, with Ghajini, the remake of its Tamil namesake, subsequently winning the Filmfare Best Female Debut Award.
Early life and background
Asin was born into a Catholic family in Kochi, Kerala. Her father, Joseph Thottumkal originally from Thodupuzha, managed several businesses and was considered a prominent entrepreneur before he stopped managing his businesses and decided to manage his daughter's acting career instead. Furthermore Asin's father accompanies her to all her foreign shoots. Her mother, Seline Thottumkal, remains a surgeon despite moving settlements from Cochin to Chennai to Mumbai to live with her daughter. Asin has quoted that her name "means pure and without blemish". She claims that "the 'A' in her name is from Sanskrit meaning "without", and ‘Sin’ from English".
Early work, until 2004
Asin Thottumkal debuted in a supporting role in Sathyan Anthikkad's Malayalam film Narendran Makan Jayakanthan Vaka in 2001, at the age of 15. After taking a year out to pursue her education, Asin returned with her breakthrough film as an actress, Amma Nanna O Tamila Ammayi opposite Ravi Teja, portraying a Tamil girl in her first Telugu language film, which subsequently fetched her the Telugu Filmfare Award for Best Actress. In the same year she won the Santosham Best Actress Award for her performance alongside Nagarjuna in her second Telugu film, Shivamani. Her following two Telugu films, Lakshmi Narasimha and Gharshana, both portrayed Asin as the love interest for police officers, giving her two successful films, cementing her place as a leading actress in the Telugu film industry.
Asin's first Tamil language film was M. Kumaran son of Mahalakshmi, in which she co-starred with Jayam Ravi. Asin reprised her role from her film Amma Nanna O Tamila Ammayi for the remake, which saw her portraying a Malayali girl instead of the Tamil girl in the original. The movie subsequently went on to become one of the biggest hits in Tamil cinema during 2004, introducing Asin to Tamil film industry. After a brief return to Telugu films, to do Chakram, she appeared in Ullam Ketkumae. The film, initially launched in 2002, was originally meant to be the launch for Asin as a lead actress, along with then-debutants Arya and Pooja Umashankar. The college love story, directed by Jeeva, was long-delayed but eventually became a successful venture at the box-office, creating wider opportunities for her and the rest of the lead cast.
Breakthrough, 2005 - 2007
After the release of Ullam Ketkumae, Asin was cited as a leading heroine after signing films with prominent actors of the Tamil industry in Ghajini, Majaa, Sivakasi and Varalaru respectively. The film which provided the breakthrough for Asin was Ghajini. The film, co-starring Surya and Nayantara and directed by A. R. Murugadoss, earned her the Tamil Filmfare Award for Best Actress. Her role was that of a vivacious young model named Kalpana. Sify.com praised her portrayal as "magical", descriving her character as a "lovable chatterbox", played with "sheer ability in the romantic interludes, the poignant and heartfelt scenes when she rescues minor girls from villains and her gory end are touching". The following Diwali in 2005, Asin had two releases, Sivakasi and Majaa. Despite the latter becoming an average grosser, the former went on to be a successful venture at the box office, despite Asin's poorly etched out role.
The following year, her long-delayed venture, Varalaru opposite Ajith Kumar, became the biggest blockbuster of 2006 in Tamil cinema. The film's hero-centric plot retreated Asin to the sidelines, but her role was well acclaimed by critics. Asin appeared in Pawan Kalyan's Annavaram, another successful venture in which she had a poorly-etched out role. In January 2007, Asin appeared opposite Ajith Kumar and Vijay in two different films, Aalwar and Pokkiri, with the latter becoming a success, whilst Aalwar became a failure. Whilst Asin's role in Aalwar was criticized, her performance in Pokkiri was lauded by critics. Her final project of the year was opposite in Hari's Vel, which had a Diwali 2007 release, subsequently becoming her third successful film which released during the Diwali season in three years. Asin, who portrayed a TV anchor, was appreciated for her role in the film.
Success, 2008 - present
Asin appeared in her first dual role in K. S. Ravikumar's magnum opus Dasavathaaram opposite Kamal Haasan, who portrayed ten roles. The film, which was under production since September 2006, became Asin's largest film till date. Despite being overshadowed by Haasan's ten roles, Asin's portrayal's in the film were praised as her "best-to-date" with one of her roles being that of a Vaishnavite in the 12th century; whilst the other character was a Brahmin girl from Chidambaram. Dasavathaaram subsequently went on to become one of the biggest blockbusters in South Indian film history. Since establishing herself as the leading actress in South India, Asin opted to move into Bollywood, to get nationwide fame. Her first film, Ghajini opposite Aamir Khan was the remake of her breakthrough film of the same name. Upon release, the film garnered positive reactions from critics and masses alike, with Asin being singled out for her "fabulous" portray. Noted critic, Taran Adarsh describes her Hindi debut as "fabulous" and that "to share the screen space with an actor of the stature of Aamir Khan and yet remain in your memory even after the show has ended is no cakewalk. She looks fresh and photogenic and acts her part brilliantly", giving Asin's performance a positive outlook. Asin is committed to Vipul Shah's London Dreams alongside Salman Khan and Ajay Devgan, in which she plays a member of a five-troupe band.
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