Actress-turned-politician Divya Spandana, popularly known as Ramya, turns 34.
Divya Spandana, better known by her stage name Ramya, was born in Bengaluru. Though she works predominantly in Kannada films, she is a popular face in Tamil and Telugu cinema.
Her mother, Ranjitha, is a senior member of the Congress party in Karnataka. Her foster-father, R T Narayan, was an industrialist.
Divya made her acting debut in the Kannada film, Abhi, opposite Puneet Rajkumar in 2003. It was a huge blockbuster and ran for over 100 days, bringing her instant recognition.
This was followed by the romantic drama, Excuse Me, directed by Prem, which also turned out to be one of the biggest musical hits of the year.
Divya also made her debut in Telugu cinema with the film, Abhimanyu, the remake of her Kannada debut, Abhi.
Divya starred in her first Tamil film, Kuthu, in 2004 opposite Silambarasan. The film was a failure as was her next, Giri, directed by Sundar C, where she was cast opposite Arjun.
The following year saw a change in Divya's fortunes. Three of her Kannada films -- Aakash, Gowramma and Amrithadhare -- became major critical and commercial successes, establishing her as one of the leading actresses in Kannada cinema.
Divya won her first Filmfare for her remarkable performance in director Kavitha Lankesh's Tananam Tananam. A romantic musical drama, the film was an average grosser at the box office but won Divya critical acclaim.
After a hiatus of three years, she returned to Tamil cinema in director Vetrimaaran's debut film, Polladhavan, opposite Dhanush. It was a major critical and commercial success.
The 2008 Kannada film, Mussanjemaatu, with Sudeep, remains one of the major hits of her career. In the same year, Divya played the lead in director Gautham Menon's critically acclaimed Tamil film, Vaaranam Aayiram, alongside Suriya, Simran and Sameera Reddy.
Director Nagashekar’s 2011 Kannada film, Sanju Weds Geetha, won Divya much applause. Her brilliant performance in this tragic romance, where she was cast opposite Srinagar Kitty, won her the Karnataka State Film Award for Best Actress and the Filmfare award.
Another film that brought her huge success and critical acclaim was the 3D Kannada romantic fantasy, Katari Veera Surasundarangi, opposite Upendra in 2012. Directed by Suresh Krishna, the film turned out to be one of the biggest grossers of the year.
In August 2013, Divya announced that she was considering quitting acting to pursue a career in politics; she had joined the Indian Youth Congress in 2012.
Divya became the Indian National Congress's Member of Parliament from Mandya in Karnataka by winning the by-election in 2013. In the 2014 general election, she contested from Mandya again but was defeated.
Divya’s much-hyped comeback film, Nagarahavu, which released last month, turned out to be a disaster at the box office. Directed by Kodi Ramakrishna, the film saw Divya play the lead along with a digitally resurrected Vishnuvardhan, the legendary Kannada actor, who passed away in 2009.
The pretty actress-turned-politician was in the news recently when a lawyer in Karnataka filed a case of sedition against her for her remarks supporting Pakistan. Divya’s comment came in response to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's statement that "going to Pakistan is like going to hell".
To which the outspoken actress had remarked, “I respectfully disagree, Pakistan is not hell, people there are just like us.” She refused to apologise for her comment.