Soundarya (Kannada:ಸೌಂದರ್ಯ)(July 17, 1971 - April 17, 2004) was a film actress in Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam films. She had a successful career of 12 years as heroine in films until her death in a plane crash near Bangalore. She acted in more than 100 films.
Soundarya acted in her first film while she was in high school. She was offered a role in the film Gandharva a Kannada movie (1992) by her father's friend, while she was studying in her first year of MBBS. She discontinued her studies after the film Ammoru became successful.
She moved onto Telugu films where she achieved popularity and success. She has also acted in Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam and one Hindi film Sooryavansham opposite Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan. After Telugu, Kannada movies was her favourite who also acted before a couple of years of her accidental death.
She also produced and acted in a Kannada film Dweepa, with Girish Kasaravalli as director. The film won a host of National awards including Swarna Kamal (Golden Lotus) given for best film of the year and the Best Actress award for Soundarya. It also won Karnataka state awards for Best Actress, Best Film and Best Cinematography and was featured in five international film festivals. Soundarya died on April 17, 2004 when the four-seater plane Cessna 180 caught fire immediately after take off. She was on her way to Andhra Pradesh to campaign for Bharatiya Janata Party for the elections. Her brother, Amarnath, a producer of Kannada films, also died in the accident. Her last film was the immensely successful Kannada film, Aaptamitra. Now 'Soundarya Memorial award' was kept and issuing by Karnatandhra Lalitkala academy on memory of Soundarya for every ugadi.
Soundarya was born in the Ashtagrama villages and was a Smartha Brahmin. She married her maternal uncle and childhood friend, software engineer G. S. Raghu on 27,April, 2003. She had great dreams of promoting public welfare during her lifetime. At the time of her death, she was about to produce and act in a film titled 'Kamli', directed by K.N.T Sastry. Her wishes of funding welfare activities are being fulfilled by her husband and sister-in-law through the AMARA SOUNDARYA SOCIAL AND EDUCATIONAL TRUST [ASSET]. She has developed the entire village of Gangigunte [her native village], Mulabagal Taluk, in the Kolar district of Karnataka. Soundarya maintained an orphanage. Presently, it is being maintained by her relatives. In addition, the school, AMARA SOUNDARYA VIDYALAYA, is maintained by her trust and her own home is now being used as a school. There are many ideas and concepts that were dreamt and thought by Soundarya and her brother Amarnath for the welfare of the society, being fulfilled by Soundarya's husband and Soundarya's sister-in-law Nirmala using ASSET. She had adopted some educational institutions and given funding for so many educational institutions and their family is continuing funding for educational institutions.