Vanisri, (born Rathna Kumari) is an Indian film actress known for her works predominately in Telugu and Tamil, and a few Kannada and Hindi films. In a film career spanning forty years, she has received three Filmfare Awards South, including the Nandi Awards and the Tamil Nadu State Film Award. She gained attention with a supporting role in a film penned by K.
Balachander titled Sukha Dukhalu, and Marapurani Kadha (1967). Vanisri has starred in super hits such as Krishnaveni, Prem Nagar, Dussehra Bullodu, Aradhana, Jeevitha Chakram, Rangula Ratnam, Sri Krishna Tulabharam, Bhakta Kannappa, Bobbili Raja, etc. If there was a star heroine in the Telugu film industry, who ruled on par with the heroes, it must be only Vanisri.
She was the only actress during that period who commanded a higher remuneration than her male co stars. She played dual roles in Iddaru Ammayilu (1972) (Telugu remake of 1969 release Kannada film Kappu Bilupu), Ganga Manga (1973 remake of the Hindi film Seeta Aur Geeta), Jeevana Jyothi (1975), and Chilipi Krishnudu (1978). She financed and starred in Shyam Benegal's only Telugu film Anugraham (1977), co-starring Smita Patil.
She acted with Sivaji Ganesan in a number of films such as Uyarntha Manithan (1968), Nirai Kudam (1969), Vasantha Maligai (1972), Sivakamiyin Selvan (1974), Vani Rani (Tamil remake of the Hindi film Seeta Aur Geeta) (1974) and Nallathoru Kudumbam (1979). In 2013, she received the state Raghupathi Venkaiah Award for her contribution to Telugu cinema.
In the late 1970s, Vanisri left films to get married and have a son and a daughter. Vanisri returned to film in the late 1980s acting in mother roles, such as her character in Athaku Yamudu Ammayiki Mogudu (1989). A practicing Shaivite Hindu, Vanisri is very religious. She was also in the 1999 Hindi film Main Tere Pyar Mein Pagal, directed by Telugu director K.