Shamna Kasim alias Poorna – Popular South Indian actress of ‘Avanu’ fame

Shamna Kasim, also known by the screen name Poorna is a south Indian film actress, who predominantly works in Malayalam film industry. She marked her screen debut with 2004 Malayalam film Manju Poloru Penkutty, and later made her Telugu and Tamil debut through Sri Mahalakshmi and Muniyandi Vilangial Moonramandu respectively. Josh (2009) marked her Kannada debut. Despite appearing in different language films and doing lead roles, her career failed to kick off. Now she plays noted supporting roles and special appearances in movies. As of now she has appeared in more than 50 movies, and has appeared as a celebrity judge for a few dance reality shows on television.

She started her film journey with supporting roles in Malayalam cinema

Shamna Kasim was born in Thayyil, Kannur in 1989 as the youngest of 5 kids in a Muslim family. She is now settled in Kochi. She is a trained classical dancer and is regular with her stage shows and performances too. Kamal’s directorial venture, Manju Poloru Penkutty was her debut flick, where she played a supporting role of Dhanya. It was followed by supporting roles in Hridayathil Sookshikkan, Junior Senior, December, Pacha Kuthira, Bhargavacharitham Moonam Khandam, Ennittum, Oruvan etc. All these movies were box office flops.

Telugu cinema gave her the first ever lead role

After struggling with less noted supporting roles in Malayalam cinema, she got her first major break through Tollywood cinema. She reprised Bhavana’s role of the victim in the Telugu remake of 2006 Malayalam film Chinthamani Kolacase. Her role got noticed and more Telugu offers came pouring in. She worked in Mohanlal starrer College Kumaran, Ali Bhai etc and accepted other language projects as well. Her Kannada debut film, Josh (2009) opposite Rakesh Adiga ran 100 days in theatre. Her Telugu debut film, Seema Tapakai opposite Allari Naresh (2011) was also a commercial hit. Initially she mostly played romantic roles on screen.

She earned fame as a ‘ghost’ in Telugu horror series – Avanu

Among Malayali audiences, she came to spotlight after accepting the lead role in Chattakaari in 2012. The movie was the remake of the bold movie Chattakaari, with Lakshmi playing the female lead. Same year her Telugu movie, ‘Avanu’ was also a commercial hit. She shared screen space with Harshvardhan Rane for this horror flick, and following its success, the lead pair reprised their roles in its sequel as well. The movie titled Avunu 2 was also a commercial hit. She appeared in one of the stories of Malayalam anthology movie, Aaru Sundarimaarude Katha. Though she worked in many movies later, she achieved limited success only, and moved to supporting roles.

Nilave Nilave from Chattakari – One of the popular romantic songs filmed on Shamna Kasim

She came to limelight after she played lead role in Tamil black comedy drama, Savarakathi, for which she won MGR-Sivaji Academy Awards for Best actress. She played a pregnant and talkative lady with humorous shades. She appeared in Malayalam movies – Oru Kuttanadan Blog, Aanakkallan, Marconi Mathai, Mili, Madhura Raja etc in supporting roles. Kaappaan, Evanukku Engeyo Matcham Irukku (where she played a cop), Adanga Maru etc are among her Tamil releases.

Apart from acting roles, she has also done item songs. Now she is regular in all south Indian language films, though appearing in supporting roles. Yet she got opportunity to play some meaty roles in the recent times. 100 movie, Lock Up, Vritham and Thalaivi are among her upcoming releases. She portrays Sasikala in Jayalalithaa’s biopic, Thalaivi. The movie is being released in different languages including Hindi. At the age of 30, she wants to do memorable roles on screen, and is dreaming about a husband who supports her professional career of acting even after marriage.

Shamna Kasim – Some interesting and less-known facts

1. Her full name is Shamna Kurikkal Kudiyil.

2. She belongs to a conservative family. Yet her mother desired to see her succeed as an artist. She also faced criticism when she chose film field.

3. When she performed on stage at temples and churches she has been criticized for not using hijab.

4. She is a religious person, who completely transforms to a spiritual world, during fasting season.

5. She has once told in an interview that Mohanlal is like her godfather in movie industry and helped her in the early phase of professional career in movies.

6. With mid-2010s she portrayed ghost in different Telugu films, which earned her the tag, “the ghost queen of Telugu films”, given by an English daily.

7. She met with an accident at the age of three or four when she tried to view a cat and its new born kittens at terrace. She fell from the terrace between a well and floor tiles, and got admitted in hospital. It was only luck which she got saved.

8. She has one broken relationship. Her ex-lover is acquainted to her family and close friends circle. Her mother dreamt of her marriage with permission from family and relatives. As she felt less chance for an approval, they mutually separated with an understanding.


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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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