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Malayalam Film and Television Chamber of Commerce

Malayalam Film and Television Chamber of Commerce


Sheela, a legendary Indian actress and director, has made an indelible mark in the world of cinema. Known for her exceptional talent and versatility, she hold the prestigious Guinness World Record for acting in the largest number of films (130) alongside the iconic actor Prem Nazir. Sheela’s contributions to Malayalam cinema have earned her numerous accolades, including four Kerala State Film Awards and a National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Early life and family
Sheela was born on 22 March 1945 in Thrissur, into a Syrian Christian family. Her father, Kanimangalam Antony, served in the railways, which led her to grow up in various places like Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Ooty, Tiruchirappalli, Salem and Coimbatore. She completed her primary education at St. Francis Anglo-Indian Girls School in Coimbatore. Sheela was initially named Celine and later adopted the name Sheela after entering the film industry.

Film career
Sheela was introduced to the theatre at the age of 13 by Tamil actor S.S. Rajendran. He offered her a job in S.S.R Nataka Mandram.
At the age of 17 Sheela started her debut in the Malayalam film “Bhagyajathakam” directed by P. Bhaskaran. Simultaneously she started acting in the Tamil Film “Paasam” alongside M.G. Ramachandran. But “Paasam” released on 31 August 1962 whereas her debut Malayalam film “Bhagyajathakam” released on 16th November1962 and hence “Paasam” is considered her debut film.

Renamed as “Sheela Devi” by MGR, she continued to act in Tamil films using this name for some time before reverting back to her original name, Sheela. Over the next two decades, Sheela appeared in more than 475films across various languages, including Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi and Urdu.

Sheela gained immense popularity and critical acclaim for her roles in the films like “Chemmeen.” “Kallichellamma.” “Velutha Kathreena.” “Oru Penninte Kadha,” “Akale.” She portrayed diverse characters with finesse and brought them to life with her exceptional acting skills. She explored different genres, showcasing her versatility and captivating audiences with her performances.

Apart from her acting prowess, Sheela ventured into directing as well. She directed two films, namely “Yakshaganam” and “Shikarangal”, both of which showcased her talent behind the camera. She also wrote the story and screenplay for “Shikarangal” and Mamooty-starrer “Onnu Chirikku”. Her contribution to the film industry extended beyond acting, making her a multifaceted personality.

Recognition and Awards
Sheela’s talent and contributions have garnered widespread recognition and numerous awards. In 2005, she received the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the Malayalam film “Akale”, She has been honoured with the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress three times, in 1969m 1971 and 1976, for her exceptional performances in films like “Kallichellamma,” “Oru Penninte Kadha,” “Sarasayya,” and “Anubhavam”. She has also received other prestigious awards, including the Lux Lifetime Achievement Award, Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South and Amrita TV Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2019, Sheela was bestowed with the J.C. Daniel Award, the highest honour given by the Kerala government for outstanding contributions to Malayalam cinema. The same year, she received the Jayan Ragamalika Award and the Malayalam Puraskaram.

The Malayalam Film and Television Chamber of Commerce is really privileged to have the legendary Sheela as the Advisory Board Member.