Anjali is an Indian film actress and model, who predominantly appears in Tamil films. Following a stint in modelling, she was cast in starring roles in two low-profile Telugu productions, before gaining attention with her critically acclaimed performance as Anandhi in Kattradhu Thamizh (2007). She is mostly noted for mostly playing "performance-oriented roles".
She began modeling in Chennai, which paved the way for her entry into the film industry. During one of her modeling assignments, she was spotted by director Siva Nageswara Rao, who offered her a starring role in his Telugu thriller film Photo (2006). Anjali remarked that her parents had aspirations to become actors and that they were "realizing their dreams" through her. Anjali portrayed a ghost haunting her murderers in Photo, which co-starred two more newcomers, Anand and Bhanu.
She played the female lead in another Telugu venture, the romance film Premalekha Raasa (2007), directed by lyricist Kulasekhar, opposite a debutant again; both films garnered negative response, and performed poorly at the box office, failing to propel her career in Telugu cinema. She made her Tamil film debut later that year in Kattradhu Thamizh, directed by Ram, which released to strong critical acclaim. Anjali won critical praise for her portrayal of Anandhi, the childhood friend and love interest of a young teacher-turned-psychopath (enacted by Jeeva).
She appeared in two films in 2008; Honganasu, her first Kannada project and Aayudham Seivom in Tamil. The latter, featured her as the female lead opposite Sundar C., was panned by critics and she was criticized for accepting that role.
She next played Kani, a fiery, independent sales girl in a textile showroom in Angadi Theru (2010) that released two years after her last venture. The Vasanthabalan-directed tragedy drama focussed on the lives of young employees who work in retail department stores. The film was shot in real location at the Ranganathan Street in T. Nagar, Chennai with hidden cameras, with Anjali disclosing that they wore the uniform of a particular textile company, passing off as real salepeople and selling goods. Angadi Theru opened to rave reviews, whilst also fetching Anjali critical acclaim for her performance, who went on to bag several accolades.
She subsequently appeared in two family drama films; S Pictures' Rettaisuzhi, in which she shared screen with veteran directors Bharathiraja and K. Balachandar, and Magizhchi, co-starring and directed by Gowthaman. The latter released to favorable reviews, and Anjali received positive feedback on her performance, being labelled as "impressive", and "almost perfect as the young, a bit mischievous, village girl"; however both films failed to succeed at the box office.
In 2011, she first appeared in Payyans alongside Jayasurya, which marked her debut in Malayalam cinema, followed by a lead female role in the Cloud Nine Movies-production Thoonga Nagaram, in which she starred as an anchor in local television, and a cameo appearance in a song in Ko that also featured other lead actors from Tamil cinema.
While starring in Thoonga Nagaram, she was offered a minor supporting role in another project of the production studio, Mankatha. The Ajith Kumar-starrer, directed by Venkat Prabhu, was Anjali's first high-budget project and featured her as part of an ensemble cast. The film emerged a financial success and Anjali's highest-grossing film in her career; however her role in the film was small and not well received generally. Meanwhile, she was casted by director A. R. Murugadoss to perform a lead role in his maiden production Engeyum Eppodhum alongside Jai, Sharvanand and Ananya, directed by his assistant M. Saravanan. Anjali essayed the role of a bold and dominating nurse.
Thambi Vettothi Sundaram