Last updated

Sheela in 2017
Born (1945-03-22) 22 March 1945 (age 78)
  • Actress
  • writer
  • film director
  • novelist
  • painter
  • television host
Years active
  • 1962–1981
  • 2003–present
  • Xavier
    (div. 1970)
Children George Vishnu

Sheela Ravichandran (born 22 March 1945 [1] ) is an Indian actress and director who appears predominantly in Malayalam cinema. Paired with Prem Nazir, they hold the Guinness World Record for acting in the largest number of films (130) together as heroine and hero. [2] [3] Sheela is a four-time winner of Kerala State Film Award. She came back to acting in 2003 through Manassinakkare after a long period of 22 years. In 2005, she won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the Malayalam film Akale . In 2019, Sheela was honoured with the J C Daniel Award, the Kerala government's highest honour for outstanding contribution to Malayalam cinema. She was also one of the highest paid actresses, reportedly paid more than her male counterparts, of her time. [4]


Early life and family

Sheela was born in a Syrian Christian family to Railway officer Kanimangalam Antony and Gracy at Thrissur, Kingdom of Cochin (now Kerala). She was brought up in Ooty. [5] Her early name was Celine. Since her father was working with the railways, she was brought up in different places before finally settling down at Chennai. As a result, she had her primary education at various places, including Trivandrum, Thrissur, Ooty, Tiruchirappalli, Salem, Edappally and St. Francis Anglo-Indian Girls School, Coimbatore. [1]

She was initially married to Xavier, a reporter, which ended in a divorce. [6]

Film career

Sheela was introduced to theatre at the age of 13 by Tamil actor S. S. Rajendran, he offered her a job in S.S.R Nataka Mandram. She was introduced into the film industry at the age of 17 by MGR in the Tamil film Paasam (1962). M. G. Ramachandran, the hero of the film, added the suffix "Devi" to her name, thus he renamed her "Sheela Devi". She would continue to act in Tamil films with that name. Later, she reverted her name to Sheela, her original name. [7] The same year, she made her Malayalam debut through Bhagyajathakam . The next two decades saw her act in more than 475 films in various languages such as Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi, and Urdu. Her popular films are Chemmeen , Kallichellamma , Velutha Kathreena Akale, Oru Penninte Kadha, Sarsaiya, Yakshaganam, Kutti Kuppayam, Sthanarthy Saramma, Kadathunattu Makkan, Kannapan Unni, Jwala, Vazhve Mayam , etc. In Kannapanunni, she plays the role of a powerful yet humane princess forced to marry a poor woodcutter. In Kadathanattu Makkam, she plays the role of a princess who is cheated by her sisters-in-law and false allegations of being in love with a boatman are leveled against her. She and the boatman are both given the death sentence.[ citation needed ]

In the 1970s and 1980s, she directed two films Yakshaganom and Shikarangal. She wrote the story and screenplay for Shikharangaland Yakshagaanam, which was also remade in Tamil. Sheela wrote the story and screenplay for Mammooty starrer Onnu Chiriku. Besides films, she has directed a tele-film titled Ninaivukale Neengividu, co-starring Jayabharathi. Her other films include Vishnu Vijayam and Eeta . She retired from the film industry in the 1983 and settled at Ootacamund, Tamil Nadu. [8] After a long sabbatical, she returned to acting, playing a role in Sathyan Anthikkad's Manassinakkare (2003). The same year, she acted in the Tamil film Chandramukhi .[ citation needed ]

Sheela, along with Prem Nazir, holds the Guinness World Record for acting in the largest number of films (130) together. In 2005, she won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress and Kerala State Film Award for Second Best Actress for her role in the Malayalam film Akale . She received the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress thrice in her film career in 1969, 1971, and 1976. She has won awards such as Kerala State Film Awards, the Lux award, and the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement award. Sheela made an exhibition of her paintings at hotel Le- Meridian in Ernakulam and 93 paintings were sold, most of which were bought by Snehatheeram Baby Mathew and Ravi Pillai. The amount collected from these paintings was donated as a flood relief fund for the people in Chennai.[ citation needed ]


National Film Awards
Kerala State Film Awards[ citation needed ]
Filmfare Awards South[ citation needed ]

South Indian International Movie Awards

Asianet Film Awards[ citation needed ]
Other Awards[ citation needed ]






Story, screenplay, and direction



Shows as host
As judge
Other shows as guest


Other Programmes


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  10. "Gautham Vasudev Menon's Malayalam Film Anuragam To Be Released On This Date". News18. 26 April 2023. Retrieved 30 April 2023.
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