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Born Clara Abraham
(1945-03-22) 22 March 1945 (age 72)[1]
Kanimangalam, Kingdom of Cochin
Residence Ootacamund, Tamil Nadu
Nationality  India
Spouse(s) Xavier
Ravichandran (divorced)
Children George

Clara Abraham known by her stage name Sheela (born 24 March 1945) is an Indian film actress who works predominantly in Malayalam cinema. Alongside Prem Nazir, she holds the Guinness World Record for acting in the largest number of films (107) together as heroine and hero.[2][3] In 2005 she won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the Malayalam film Akale.

Early life and family[edit]

Sheela was born in a Syrian Christian family to Railway officer Kanimangalam Antony and Gracy on 22 March 1949 at Thrissur, Kingdom of Cochin (now Kerala). She was brought up in Ooty.[1][4] Since her father was working with the railways, she was brought up in different places before finally settling down at Coimbatore. As a result, she had her primary education at various places including Thrissur, Tiruchirappalli, Salem, Edappally and St. Francis Anglo-Indian Girls School, Coimbatore.[5]

Sheela was married twice; she was first married to Tamil actor Ravichandran and has a son George, who has worked in a few Tamil and Telugu films apart from television. He is married and has two daughters. Through her second married to Xavier, whom she divorced later. Sheela has authored a Malayalam novel named Pathamathe Cheque and has also written a book titled Kuilinte Koodu apart from many short stories. In addition, she is also a painter and an interior designer.

Film career[edit]

Sheela was introduced to theatre at the age of 13 by Tamil actor S. S. Rajendran. While being a theater artist, she acted in many dramas. She was introduced into the film industry at the age of 17 by director T. R. Ramanna in the Tamil film Paasam (1962). M. G. Ramachandran, the hero of the film, added suffixed "Devi" to her name, thus renamed her "Sheela Devi". She would continue to act in Tamil films with the name. Later she reverted her name to Sheela, her original name.[6] The same year she made her Malayalam debut through Bhagyajathakam. The next two decades saw her act in more than 475 films totally in various languages such as Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi, and Urdu. Her popular films are Chemmeen, Kallichellamma, Velutha Kathreena, and Vazhve Mayam.[7] 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 charged with the death sentence.

In the 70s and 80s, she directed two films, Yakshaganom and Shikarangal. She wrote the story and screenplay for Shikharangaland Yakshagaanam, which was also remade in Tamil. 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 film industry in early 1980s and settled at Ootacamund, Tamil Nadu.[8] After a long sabbatical, she returned to acting playing a prominent role in Sathyan Anthikkad's Manassinakkare (2003). The same year, she acted in the Tamil film Chandramukhi.

Sheela along with Prem Nazir, hold the Guinness World Record for acting in the largest number of films (107) 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 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 has a fans association called "Sheela fans association" operating mainly from Trivandrum focusing fully on social welfare activities. This fans association gets the credit for the first fans association for a female star in Kerala.


National Film Awards
Kerala State Film Awards
Filmfare Awards South
Asianet Film Awards
Other Awards
  • 2007 Lux Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2006 Amrita TV Lifetime Achievement Award






  • Nenena Managadu
  • Vichithra Kutumbam
  • Bale Mastru
  • Gowrawam
  • Simhasanam
  • Yugandhar

Story, screenplay, and direction[edit]



Shows as host
  • Jeevitham Sakshi (Kairali TV)[10] as presenter
  • Sthree (Asianet News) as presenter
  • Valutha Kathreena (Kairali TV)
As judge
  • Malayali Veetamma(Flowers TV)
  • Ugram Ujjwalam (Mazhavil Manorama)
Other shows
  • Ningalkkum Aakaam Kodeeshwaran
  • JB Junction
  • Onnum Onnum Moonnu
  • Laughing Villa
  • Close Encounter
  • Nammude Swantham Karuthammayude Onam
  • Badayi Bunglavu
  • Comedy Super Nite
  • Nere Chovve
  • Ithihasa Nayikakkoppam
  • Thara Raja Thara Rani
  • Star Chat


  • Neenivayukale Neengi Vidu (Story, Screenplay, Direction; Doordarshan)


External links[edit]