Ramya- made her acting debut in the 2003 Kannada-language film Abhi, opposite Puneet Rajkumar. She subsequently starred in several Kannada films alongside lead actors and, following successive commercial successes, established herself as one of the most sought-after actresses in the Kannada film industry, becoming referred to as the Golden Girl of Kannada cinema andSandalwood Queen. Based on an online poll conducted by The Times of India, Ramya won the Best Actor Female award for Sanju Weds Geetha. She won Filmfare Best Actress Award twice for her roles in Tananam Tananam (2006) and Sanju Weds Geetha(2011) films. She also won Karnataka State Film Award for Best Actress for Sanju Weds Geetha (2011).
She made her acting debut in the 2003 Kannada-language film Abhi, alongside Puneet Rajkumar. The same year, she had another release in Kannada with Excuse Me, which also did well at the box office, and also stepped into Telugu filmdom with the film Abhimanyu.
In 2004, Spandana debuted in the Tamil film industry, also under the name Ramya, with the film Kuththu alongside Silambarasan Rajendar, which managed only a mediocre run at the box office as did her next Tamil film Giri. Her debut film, however, gave her the name ‘Kuthu’ Ramya, by which she was then popularly known in Tamil Nadu. She had two releases in Kannada as well, Ranga S. S. L. C. and Kanti, out of which the latter, a love story set against the backdrop of borders and language issues, was declared a major success. In 2005 she had four releases, all being Kannada films, with the latter three films Aakash, Gowramma and Amrithadhare becoming major box-office successes, whilst also garnering critical acclaim for Ramya’s performance and establishing her as a leading actress in Karnataka.
In 2006 she starred in Julie, a remake of the same-titled 1975 Hindi-language film. She played the role of a single, unwed mother in the film, which failed to attract audiences.After her following release, Datta did average business at the box office, her next Kannada release, Jothe Jotheyali was a successful venture, in spite of largely unfavorable reviews by critics. Her final 2006 release, Kavitha Lankesh‘s Tananam Tananam, an average grosser that released to mixed reviews, fetched Ramya her firstFilmfare Award for Best Actress. She had described her role in the film as “little complex” and “challenging.” In 2007, Ramya starred in three feature films; the first releasing,Arasu, co-starring Puneet Rajkumar and Meera Jasmine, was a huge hit. She then appeared as a sex worker , which was made to create awareness about AIDS and was part of Mira Nair‘s AIDS Jaago project. Her fourth 2007 release was Polladhavan, where she acted against Dhanush. The film, released during the 2007 Deepavali period, was considered a dark horse success and made possible Ramya’s breakthrough in Tamil. Rajinikanth was all praises for the entire crew of Polladhavan
Ramya joined the Indian Youth Congress in 2012. Ramya became the Indian National Congress’ Member of Parliament from Mandya constituency in Karnataka by winning the by-election in 2013. In the 2014 Indian General Election, she again contested from Mandya but was defeated by C. S. Puttaraju by a margin of 5500 votes.