Meena is an Indian actress who has starred as a lead heroine in the South Indian film industry. Meena debuted as a child artist in Tamil film Nenjangal in 1982 and has later starred in films produced by various regional industries.
She has acted in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and several Hindi films. She is among the few actresses who have been successful in all the South Indian languages. She is one of the most established actresses in the South Indian film industry.
She made her debut in Telugu beside Akkineni Nageswara Rao in Seetharamaiah Gari Manavaralu, where Meena played his granddaughter Seeta. The film was showcased among the Indian panorama section, at the 1991 International Film Festival of India. The film was made under the banner VMC Productions. She won Nandi Award for Best Actress from the Government of Andhra Pradesh for Seetharamaiah Gari Manavaralu.
While she made her debut as a leading lady in Tamil film Oru Pudhiya Kadhai and played heroine roles in more than three dozen films, and also starred in Malayalam and Kannada films, her first role in Malayalam that gained attention was in Santhwanam directed by Sibi Malayil in 1991. She played Suresh Gopi's daughter in the film. Its success made her famous, which led to roles with senior Malayalam heroes. Meena has expressed a wish to do more films in Malayalam.She says of her transition from being a child star to being a heroine that "Memories as a child are really fabulous and I still cherish them. And it is still more special as that phase is over. Now, I am enjoying my stint as a heroine."
She has played the role of the leading heroines in Telugu and Tamil films since the early 1990s, often playing characters with unidimensional personality with no negativity or gray shades. She has generally avoided glamorous roles though she has acted in a few like Maaman Magal in Tamil opposite Sathyaraj and some movies with Ravichandran in Kannada. In the Kannada remake of Autograph as My Autograph, were directed, produced and enacted by Sudeep. In this film, Meena starred Sneha's role of Divya.
Meena has the unique distinction of starring opposite legendary actors of different generations across various languages. She has acted with Rajinikanth, Dr. Kamal Haasan, Chiranjeevi, Dr. Vishnuvardhan, Krishna, Dr. Mammootty, Dr. Mohanlal, Balakrishna, Ravichandran and other stars like Vijayakanth, Akkineni Nagarjuna, Venkatesh, Ajith Kumar, Prabhu Deva, Sarathkumar, K. Bhagyaraj, Jayaram, Suresh Gopi, Prashanth, Kichcha Sudeep, Raviteja. She had hits with the films Nattamai film directed by K. S. Ravikumar. It starred Sarath Kumar, Meena and Kushboo in the lead roles. The film became a blockbuster and completed a 175-day run at the box office (1994). She just grabs the continuous offer and the opportunity to act in films like Avvai Shanmughi (1996) with Kamal Haasan, Porkkaalam with Murali (1997), Bharathi Kannamma (1997) with Parthiban and so on. Telugu audience remember her for a variety of roles that called for mature acting that seemed tailor-made for her. The peppy girl who wins over her unrelenting grandfather with her endearing ways in Seetharamaiah Gari Manavaralu, the protected sister in Chanti the innocent housewife in Sundarakanda, the renowned poet and devotee ‘Tarigonda Vengamamba’ are but just few of the many characters she played with relative ease and subtle charm. Another excellent performance in the movie Rhythm (2000). This movie makes the most impact in multiple viewings. Meena was exceptionally brilliant performance in each scene. Strangely enough, she looks the best in this movie in terms of makeup and this movie had her in her best performance to date. While she picked up Best Actress at the Cinema Express Awards.
Meena has acted both as a child and as an adult opposite Rajinikanth. Her first hit with Rajinikanth was Yejaman, where she plays the role of Vaitheeswari, a simple village girl who marries the Superstar Rajinikanth. She always played the quiet, serious woman. In her follow-up movie with Rajini, Veera, Meena again dazzled. Romantic-comedy film. Rajinikanth, Meena and Roja (actress) in lead role. This film was controversial for its climax but went on to become one of the highest-grossing films in 1994. But the film that brought her true recognition and fame was Muthu, one of Rajini’s biggest hits. The movie was a blockbuster all across Japan. Ranganayaki as the talkative, cheeky street theatre actress won the hearts of audience. The film was directed by K. S. Ravikumar and produced by K. Balachander, and became the first Tamil film to be dubbed into Japanese, as Mutu: Odoru Maharaja. The film grossed a record $1.6 million in Japan in 1998 and was responsible for creating a large Japanese fan-base for Rajinikanth and Meena. Following the release of Muthu in Japan and its commercial success, Meena's popularity rose in Japan.