The loosu ponnu (transl. Crazy girl) is a stock character predominantly in Tamil cinema and frequently in Telugu cinema, a girl who is portrayed as attractive but naïve and unintelligent. It is regarded as the equivalent of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl and dumb blonde stereotypes in the United States. The loosu ponnu trope became increasingly popular in 1990s Tamil cinema when the masculinity of the hero became severely overblown. It has since received criticism for being misogynistic and regressive.
According to critic Baradwaj Rangan, the loosu ponnu trope emerged in an era where Tamil filmmakers "began to get North Indian heroines who didn’t speak a word of Tamil. They wouldn’t move their lips according to the lines they were supposed to be speaking (and to be filled in later by a dubbing artist). They’d end up gesticulating wildly to make a point. Their emotional reactions would be a bit 'off'. And all of this ended up making them look like mad people".
Loosu ponnus are typically depicted as being bubbly, naïve, childish, lacking professional ambition, having easily detachable ties with their families, and showing unquestioning devotion to heroic males once they fall in love with them. They are also depicted as angelic, in need of constant rescuing, and incapable of doing even simple things in life. Very often, their "cuteness" is directly proportional to how insane their actions may seem to viewers.
Known loosu ponnu characters in Tamil films are Anjali (Amala) from Agni Natchathiram (1988), Mythili (Jyothika) in Manmadhan (2004), Hema (Meera Jasmine) in Sandakozhi (2005), Haritha (Nayanthara) in Kalvanin Kadhali (2006), Hasini (Genelia D'Souza) in Santosh Subramaniam (2008), Anitha (Taapsee Pannu) in Arrambam (2013), Chitra Devipriya (Kajal Aggarwal) in All in All Azhagu Raja (2013), Yazhini (Hansika Motwani) in Maan Karate (2014), Shakila (Samantha) in 10 Endrathukulla (2015), Sowmya (Aggarwal) in Paayum Puli (2015), Priya (Motwani) in Uyire Uyire (2016), Priya (Rakul Preet Singh) in Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru (2017), Aarathu Aanandhi (Sai Pallavi) in Maari 2 (2018), Vandhana (Sayyeshaa) in Ghajinikanth (2018), and Padmini (Priyanka Arul Mohan) in Doctor (2021). Keerthy Suresh has played such characters in films like Remo (2016) and Thodari (2016).
Besides Tamil films, loosu ponnu characters were also noted in Telugu films (known as 'pichi pilla') with Shalini (Rakul Preet Singh) in Spyder (2017), Sukumari (Keerthy Suresh) and Suryakantham (Anu Emmanuel) in Agnyaathavaasi (2018), and Samskruthi (Rashmika Mandanna) in Sarileru Neekevvaru (2020). Genelia D' Souza has played such characters in films like Bommarillu (2006) and Orange (2010).
The loosu ponnu trope has received wide criticism for being misogynistic and regressive. Actress Madonna Sebastian has expressed her dislike for it, saying, "I think it is disrespectful and when people endorse it, even heroines, it becomes a dangerous trend." Aishwarya Rajesh has consciously avoided playing such roles, citing her preference for "sensible" roles.