Ambika started her career as a child artist and later on acted in more than 200 South Indian films. Her career as a heroine started with the Malayalam movie Seetha, which only released really late in her career. But with films like Neelathaamara (which was made again in 2009) and Lejjavathi, she became a busy actress in a couple of years not only in Malayalam, but also in Tamil and Kannada.
Ambika has acted with heroes in all languages. Her pairing with Ambarish was famous in Kannada. K. Bhagyaraj introduced Ambika in his movie Andha 7 Natkal. She acted with Rajinikanth in many movies and has appeared in glamorous roles in movies. Most of her films have been with actors such as Rajinikanth, Kamal Hassan, Mohanlal, Rajkumar, Mammootty, Ambarish and Vijayakanth.
Ambika had a very successful career in Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam movies throughout the 1980s. In Tamil and Malayalam, she took on a few bold roles that showcased her versatility and talent. In Kannada, however, she appeared in many roles and songs that were characteristic by being erotic yet understated. In Tamil, Ambika shot to fame with the movie Kakki Sattai. In the zenith of her career she was paired in the same movie with her sister Radha in Kadhal Parisu, where both actresses demonstrated their acting prowess by taking on roles of two young, beautiful sisters, who had strong, yet conflicting personalities.