Shobana Chandrakumar (Malayalam: ശോഭന; born March 21, 1970) is an exponent of the Bharatanatyam dance and a leading actress of South Indian motion pictures. She was born into a Malayalam speaking family from Kerala, India. Shobana is the niece of the Travancore sisters Lalitha, Padmini and Ragini, all of whom were renowned for their skill in classical Indian dance. She is also a cousin of actor Vineeth and a relative to the actress Sukumari.She has acted in over 200 movies in 5 languages.
Shobana acted for the first time in a leading role in the Malayalam motion picture "April 18" in 1984, directed by Balachandra Menon. She also acted alongside the Malayalam actor Mammootty in the film Kanamarayathu (1984).
Shobana won her first National Film Award for Best Actress from the government of India in 1994 for her performance in Fazil's movie Manichitrathazhu, which was a Mohanlal starrer. She bagged a second National award for best actress in the year 2001 for her role in an English language film Mitr, My Friend, directed by Revathi. Revathi is her very close friend, philosopher and guide.
Shobhana is an accomplished dancer of Bharatanatyam. She did her dance training at the Chidambaram academy in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Her guru is the legendary Bharatanatyam dancerChitra Visweswaran Shobhana is famed for her Abhinaya, a pivotal element in Bharatanatyam. She performed in Kuala Lumpur before the King and Queen of Malaysia.
Shobhana's skilled execution of dance movements and her extraordinary beauty has led many people to consider her as the most beautiful South Indian actress from the 1980s through the 1990s.
She is often equaled to the curvaceous beauty of Indian sculptures. Shobhana has founded a school for classical Bharatanatyam dance in Chennai- kalarpana. She was also a part of Mani Ratnam's stage show, Netru, Indru, Naalai. In 1994, Shobana founded Kalarpana. The aim of Kalarpana is to organize annual festivals throughout India.
Shobana is well recognized by her performance in the movie Rudra Veena(Telugu movie, 1988) with Chiranjeevi as a great dancer and Social reformer. This will include performances of nationally and globally known artistes to help raise funds that will be ploughed back into training talented artistes who are financially insecure. Under its umbrella, Kalarpana extend its support to the handicapped and the environmental movement.
In 2006 January, the Indian government honored Shobana with Padma Shri title for her significant contributions to cinema and Bharatanatyam.
Shobana is the daughter of a doctor, Anandam and the late Mr Chandrakumar- She is single and is involved in her school as well her creative pursuits full time.