Amala Paul (Malayalam:അമല പോൾ) (born 26 October 1991) is an Indian film actress, who works in the South Indian Film Industry. After appearing in supporting roles in the Malayalam film Neelathamara and Veerasekaran in Tamil, she received critical acclaim for the portrayal of a controversial character in the film, Sindhu Samaveli. Despite the failure of that film, Amala became noted after playing the title role in Mynaa, receiving critical acclaim for her work.
Amala, after finishing her higher secondary education, took a year out before joining college. She later joined St Teresa’s college, to pursue a B.A. degree in communicative English. At the time, her modelling portfolio was spotted by noted Malayalam director Lal Jose who offered her a supporting role in his remake, Neelathamara (2009). Despite emerging a success, the film failed to attract any further offers, as she had anticipated.
She pursued roles in Tamil films and went on to sign the low-budget comedy film Vikadakavi which was delayed and ultimately became her sixth release, while also signing on to play the lead role in another small budget film Veerasekaran (2010). The film, which became her maiden Tamil release, was panned by critics and went completely unnoticed, while Amala’s role was being labelled as ‘minimal’, and she later cited that she regretted doing the film and many of her scenes were edited out.
Amala then went on to work in Samy’s controversial Sindhu Samaveli (2010), portraying the role of Sundari, who has an illicit relationship with her father-in-law. The director of the film had previously drawn criticism for his depictions of illicit romances as well as for assaulting his previous lead actress in a film, but Amala played down the issue citing that she had no problem with the director.
She was approached after the major portions of her next release, Mynaa were ready and signed on before listening to the entirety of the story, claiming that she was shocked but not upset with the controversial scenes which she heard later. Upon release, the film met with contrasting reviews, whilst some critics refused to give the film a rating, declaring their disgust at the film’s plot. Amala’s performance won her critical acclaim.
However her success was marred with extreme reactions from the public, with Amala claiming she received death threats from anonymous callers and was publicly scolded by women at a cinema hall in Chennai. Amala was born in a Christian family[ at Ernakulam, Kerala to Paul Varghese and Annice Paul. Her brother Abijith Paul, also appeared in films following Amala’s entry into the film industry.
After completing her schooling from Nirmala Higher Secondary School Aluva. She took a sabbatical to begin a career in films, but has since joined St. Teresa’s College in Kochi, to pursue a B.A. degree in English. Her father had been strictly against Amala pursuing an acting career, but was forced to accept her decision with her brother, Abijith Paul, strongly backing her ambition. She later claimed she had performing arts in her, revealing that her mother was a singer and her dad was into theatre in college.
Amala had changed her on-screen name to Anakha, on director Samy’s insistence, who cited that another actress, Amala had already made her name popular. However, after the failure of Sindhu Samaveli, she reverted to her birth name since she felt that the replacement had brought her bad luck. As early as 2011, when Amala was working on Deiva Thirumagal, she was romantically linked to director A. L. Vijay but denied that the pair were dating. The pair subsequently fell in love and announced in early 2014, that they were set to get married by mid 2014. On 7 June 2014 she got engaged to Vijay at Aluva in Kochi. The couple got married on 12 June 2014 at Mayor Ramanathan Chettiar Hall, Chennai. In 2016, Amala and Vijay filed for a divorce.