For a popular star like Tamannaah Bhatia, she had quite an ironic start to her career; her debut film Chand Sa Roshan Chehra in 2005 failed at the box office. In the same year, the actress made her debut in a Telugu film Sri directed by Dasarath. The following year, she appeared in her first Tamil film Kedi alongside Ravi Krishna, Ileana D’cruz, Ramesh Khanna and Suman Shetty. Although, both her films failed commercially, the actress received unanimous praises from the critics for her brilliant performance in Kedi.
Tamannaah started 2007 with the Tamil movie Viyabari, which was directed by Shakti Chidambaram. In the film, she played the role of a journalist who wants to write an article about a successful entrepreneur. Although the movie flopped at the box office, Tamannaah was appreciated for her performance. The actress got her major breakthrough with Sekhar Kammula’s Happy Days and Balaji Sakthivel’s Kalloori. She appeared as a college student in both of these films and won critical acclaim for her performances. The films established her as a noted actress in both Telugu and Tamil film industries. Her performance in Kalloori earned her a nomination at the 56th Filmfare Awards South in the Best Tamil Actress category. In 2008, she worked in the Telugu film Kalidasu directed by debutant G. Ravicharan Reddy. In the movie, she starred alongside debutant Sushanth, the grandson of actor Akkineni Nageswara Rao. The movie opened to moderate reviews and was an average grosser at the box office.
Her 2009 release Padikkadavan directed by Suraj and co-starring Dhanush was a commercial success with the actress gaining appreciation even for a limited role. She next appeared in a Telugu film Konchem Ishtam Konchem Kashtam directed by Kishore Kumar Pardasany opposite Siddharth. The film got positive reviews from the critics and Tamannaah received critical acclaim for her performance, earning her a nomination at the 57th Filmfare Awards South in the Best Telugu Actress category. She was next seen in K. V. Anand’s Ayan, where she was paired with Suriya Sivakumar. Tamannaah next appeared in the 2009 Tamil romantic comedy Kanden Kadhalai alongside Bharath. This movie, which was a remake of the blockbuster Bollywood movie Jab We Met had Tamannaah reprising the role of Kareena Kapoor. Her brilliant performance was much appreciated by the critics and she earned a nomination at the 57th Filmfare Awards for Best Actress – Tamil, making her the only actress to earn two nominations in two different languages at that event. She also won the South Scope award for the same.
In the following year, Tamannaah’s first release was a Tamil movie titled Paiyaa directed by N. Linguswamy. The film co-starring Karthik Sivakumar was a commercial success and Tamannaah earned a nomination each at the 58th Filmfare Awards South and 5th Vijay Awards in the Best Tamil Actress category. Her other releases of the year were S. P. Rajkumar’s Sura alongside Vijay and M. Raja’s Thillalangadi opposite Jayam Ravi, both the films despite the much hype bombed at the box office. Siruthai, co-starring Karthi, was Tamannaah’s next release. Her character was received poorly by critics but the film was a commercial success. Post this she did a cameo in the song Aga Naga from K. V. Anand directed film Ko.
Sukumar’s drama film titled 100% Love was Tamannaah’s first release in 2011. The film co-starring Naga Chaitanya had the actress playing the role of a demure village girl who visits her cousin’s house in Hyderabad to pursue higher education. She earned a nomination each at the 59th Filmfare Awards South and 1st South Indian International Movie Awards in the Best Telugu Actress category. She also won the Best Actor Female awards at CineMAA Awards 2012 and The Hyderabad Times Film Awards 2011. Tamannaah then appeared in V. V. Vinayak’s Badrinath co-starring Allu Arjun. Her role wasn’t received well by the critics and she was criticized for unnecessary skin show. However, the film was a notable success at the box office and she earned a nomination at the CineMAA Awards 2012 in the Best Actor Female category.
In 2012, Tamannaah starred in four Telugu films, first of which was Sampath Nandi’s Racha co-starring Ram Charan. The film where she played the role of a rich girl was appreciated by the critics. The film also emerged to be a major commercial success and Tamannaah earned a nomination each at 60th Filmfare Awards South and CineMAA Awards 2013 in the Best Actor Female category. Her second release in the year was A. Karunakaran’s Endukante… Premanta! co-starring Ram, which was a commercial failure but she won praises from both critics and the audiences for her performance in the film. Her third release was Raghava Lawrence’s Rebel alongside Prabhas, in which she was seen as a hip hop dance teacher, but the film was a commercial failure. Tamannaah’s last release of the year was Puri Jagannadh’s Cameraman Gangatho Rambabu where she was paired with Pawan Kalyan. In the movie, she played the role of a tomboyish media cameraman and the film emerged to be one of the biggest commercial successful Telugu movies of the year.
Tamannaah’s first release of 2013 was Sajid Khan’s Himmatwala alongside Ajay Devgan. The film, which was a remake of the 1983 Hindi film with the same name had Tamannaah reprising the role of Sridevi from the original. Despite the huge pre-release hype around the movie, it failed to live up to people’s expectations and failed at the box office. Another release in the year was Kishore Kumar Pardasany’s Tadakha co-starring Naga Chaitanya, Sunil, and Andrea Jeremiah. The movie, which was the official Telugu remake of N. Lingusamy’s Vettai had Tamannaah playing the role of Amala Paul from the original. She earned a nomination at the 3rd South Indian International Movie Awards in the Best Actor Female category.
After a sabbatical of three years from Tamil cinema, Tamannaah made her comeback to the Tamil industry in 2014 with Siva’s Veeram co-starring Ajith Kumar. Veeram received positive reviews from critics and became one of the highest grossing Tamil films of 2014. Her next was the Hindi film Humshakals for which she collaborated with Sajid Khan. She starred as one of the female leads alongside Saif Ali Khan, Ram Kapoor, Riteish Deshmukh, Bipasha Basu and Esha Gupta. The film received poor reviews from critics and flopped at the box office. Tamannaah performed her first item number in V. V. Vinayak’s Alludu Seenu titled “Labbar Bomma,” which was well received by the audience. The film Entertainment directed by Sajid-Farhad was her next release co-starring Akshay Kumar. In the movie, she essayed the character of a television actress and for her performance, she received a nomination at the 7th Golden Kela Awards in the worst actress category. She ended the year with Srinu Vaitla’s Aagadu co-starring Mahesh Babu in which Tamannaah was seen as a village belle owning a chain of sweet shops.
She later made a cameo appearance as herself in Jagadish’s Nannbenda starring Udhayanidhi Stalin and Nayantara. She also dubbed her own voice for the same. In 2015 came S. S. Rajamouli’s multilingual fictional epic film Baahubali, in which Tamannaah appeared alongside Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, and Anushka Shetty. Tamannaah played the role of Avanthika, a warrior princess of an unspecified era. Not only was the movie a huge blockbuster hit, but Tamannaah was praised for her performance. This followed with the Tamil release Vasuvum Saravananum Onna Padichavanga directed by M. Rajesh co-starring Arya and N. Santhanam. Then, she made a cameo appearance in the bilingual film Size Zero with Arya and Anushka Shetty in the lead roles. Later in the year, she was seen in Sampath Nandi’s Bengal Tiger co-starring Ravi Teja for the first time. The movie was a commercial success and Tamannaah was praised for her looks.
Tamannaah’s second item number “Bachelor Babu” was in 2016 with Bhimaneni Srinivasa Rao’s Speedunnodu featuring Bellamkonda Sreenivas and Sonarika Bhadoria in the lead roles. She then worked in Vamsi’s Oopiri, a remake of The Intouchables (2011), co-starring Akkineni Nagarjuna and Karthi. The bilingual comedy-drama filmed in Telugu(Oopiri) and Tamil(Thozha) simultaneously.
Tamannaah’s 2016 release was the Tamil drama Dharma Durai opposite Vijay Sethupathi. Her 2016 projects include a female oriented trilingual titled Abhinetri in Telugu, Tutak Tutak Tutiya in Hindi, and Devi in Tamil, co-starring Prabhu Deva and Sonu Sood. She also starred in the 2016 Tamil film Kaththi Sandai paired opposite Vishal, and had a special appearance in a song in the Telugu-Kannada bilingual film Jaguar. Her 2017 projects include Baahubali: The Conclusion and the Tamil film Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan opposite Silambarasan for the first time.