Sheela was born in a Syrian Christian family in Trissur, Kerala. She was married to Tamil actor Ravichandran. She has a son George (alias Vishnu), who acts in Tamil serials and few Malayalam movies.
Sheela made her debut in Paasam opposite MGR. Her first film in Malayalam was Bhagyajathakom, with Sathyan. The next two decades saw her essay roles in more than 475 films totally in various languages such as Tamil, Telugu and Kannada and Malayalam. Very Famous Films such as Chemmeen, Kallichellama, Velutha Kathreena, and Vazhve Mayam were a few among them. She has won many awards such as Kerala State Film Awards, the Lux award and the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement award.
Sheela’s name, along with Prem Nazir’s name figures in the Guinness Book of World Records, for acting together consecutively in 107 films. In the 70s and 80s, Sheela’s tried her hand at directing as well. She directed two films, Yakshaganom and Shikarangal. She wrote the story, script, and screenplay for Shikharangaland Yakshagaanam, which was also remade in Tamil. Besides films, she has directed a tele-film Ninaivukale neengividu in which Jayabharathi acted. She acted with Kamal Hassan in films like Vishnu Vijayam and Eeta as heroine. She acted as Akhilandeswary in the 2005 blockbuster Chandramukhi alongside Rajinikanth. She has also authored a book, titled Kuilinte Kooduand many short stories. She is a very good painter and her oil paintings and portraits were commendable.
Sheela returned to acting, playing main role in Sathyan Anthikkad’s Manassinakkare. The film was a huge hit, and her performance was critically acclaimed. Sheela bagged the Kerala State Film Award for best supporting actress in the film Akale.