Amala Pauls next release, the romantic drama film Mynaa (2010) by Prabhu Solomon, made her a recognised actress in the industry. The film had garnered much anticipation prior to release, with noted distributors Udhayanidhi Stalin and Kalpathi S. Aghoram purchasing the rights of the film after being impressed with it. Amala played the village belle Mynaa, attaining unanimous praise from critics for her portrayal; a critic labelled her work as "outstanding" and that she put in a "riveting performance", while other reviews claimed she had "immense talent" and scores in "every instance" in the title role. The film, which also saw her gain recognition from noted actors Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth, subsequently became a large commercial success at the box-office. Amala Paul gained recognition from several award committees and notably secured the Vijay Award for Best Debut Actress, while also gaining nominations in the Best Actress category at the Filmfare Awards and the Vijay Awards.
Following the success of Mynaa, Amala became touted as the "new star of 2011" as she subsequently signed on to several prominent projects. Her first release of 2011 was in a supporting role in the Malayalam drama film, Ithu Nammude Katha, a remake of the successful Tamil film Naadodigal and the second was meant to be her launch in Tamil films, the coming-to-age tale of five friends Vikadakavi with the film opening to limited screens. Both films opened to limited screens due to the moderate budget of the projects, with her performance in the latter being described as "full of potential". She went on to sign three big budget films with established production houses, with the drama Deiva Thirumagal directed by Vijay, featuring her opposite Vikram and alongside Anushka, becoming her next release. Her portrayal of school correspondent Shwetha Rajendran won critical acclaim with a reviewer citing that her "expressive eyes help her leave a mark in a small but important role" whilst another critic claimed she "acquits herself well". Her final release of 2011 was Ram Gopal Varma's Bejawada which marked her début in Telugu language films. The film saw her portray college girl, Geetanjali, and featured her opposite Naga Chaitanya, but the film opened to negative reviews and became a surprise box office failure.
Amala Paul's first release of 2012 was in Linguswamy's multi-starring action entertainer, Vettai, alongside Arya, Madhavan and Sameera Reddy. The film opened to critical and commercial acclaim with The New York Times claiming the film "entertains without breaking any new ground, though it can also surprise". Amala Paul won mixed feedback for her performance; while the critic from Sify mentioned she "is lovely to look at and her feisty performance proves that a star is born", Pavithra Srinivasan of Rediff cited she "struts, pouts and hams to the hilt". The actress had three films released on the Valentine's Day weekend of 2012, with Balaji Mohan's bilingual Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi and Love Failure becoming critical and commercial successes. The film, made in Tamil and Telugu, featured her alongside Siddharth and portrayed as her college girl, Parvathi, showing her romantic encounter. About the Tamil version, a reviewer from The Hindu wrote: "Amala Paul, after coming across as convincing in her last few movies, looks finally set as a leading lady", while another critc labelled that she "comes across as natural" and "it is a pleasure to see her in a role and costumes that suit her age as compared to her recent movies". Rediff.com called the Telugu version of the film "refreshing", highlighting that the lead pair's on-screen chemistry "sparkles". The romantic thriller Muppozhudhum Un Karpanaigal opposite Adharvaa, also released on the same day in which she played Charulatha, a modern girl based in Bangalore. The film won mixed reviews, though the lead pair's on-screen chemistry was praised by critics, while another reviewer noted that "Amala renders an effortless act". She played a notable role in renowned director Dr. Biju's Aakashathinte Niram, which was her first art-house film. The film was screened at the competition section for the Golden Goblet Award in the 15th Shanghai International Film Festival. She paired with veteran Malayalam actor Mohanlal in the film Run Babby Run in which she played the role of a senior news channel editor. The film was a big commercial success and her performance as well as her chemistry with Mohanlal were highly appreciated.
Personal lifeAmala was born on October 26, 1991 in Ernakulam, Kerala to Christian Malayali parents, Paul Varghese and Annice Paul. After completing her Plus Two examinations at Government Girls 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 BA degree in English and is currently in her third year. Her father had been strictly against Amala pursuing an acting career, but was forced to accept her decision with her older brother, Abijith, strongly backing her ambition. She later claimed she had performing arts in her DNA, 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.
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