In Kannapanunni, she plays the role of a powerful yet humane princess forced to marry a poor woodcutter.
As a result, she had her primary education at various places, including Thrissur, Ooty Tiruchirappalli, Salem, Edappally and St. She was initially married to Xavier, a reporter which ended in a divorce. Sheela has authored a Malayalam novel named Pathamathe Cheque and has also written a book titled Kuilinte Koodu, apart from many short stories. Sheela was introduced to theatre at the age of 13 by Tamil actor S. Later, she reverted her name to Sheela, her original name.
Later she married actor Ravichandran who co-starred with her in many films and has a son George in this marriage who has worked in a few Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu films, apart from television. The same year, she made her Malayalam debut through Bhagyajathakam.
She was one of the most popular and highest paid actress, reportedly paid more than her male counterparts, of her time. Ramachandran, the hero of the film, added the suffix "Devi" to her name, thus he renamed her "Sheela Devi".
Since her father was working with the railways, she was brought up in different places before finally settling down at Chennai. She was introduced into the film industry at the age of 13 by MGR in the Tamil film Paasam (1963). She would continue to act in Tamil films with that name.
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, 19.She and the boatman are both given the death sentence.In the 70s and 80s, she directed two films Yakshaganom and Shikarangal.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 was bought by Snehatheeram Baby Mathew and Mr. The amount collected from these paintings were donated as flood relief fund for the people in Chennai.The next two decades saw her act in more than 475 films in various languages such as Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi and Urdu.