Baby Shalini is a former Indian actress and child artist, who predominantly worked in Malayalam and Tamil film industries. She was a prominent child artist in the Malayalam film industry during the 80s. In 1997, when she was 17, she started starring in Malayalam and Tamil films as a lead heroine. She retired from films after her marrying the popular Tamil actor Ajith Kumar in 2000.
Baby Shalini was born on Tuesday, 20 November 1979 (age 43 years; as of 2023) in Thiruvalla, Kerala, India. Her zodiac sign is Scorpio.
Her father, who hailed from Kollam, migrated to Madras (now Chennai) with his wife and children dreaming of becoming an actor. Later, he fulfilled the dream through his children. Shalini was three-and-a-half years old when she ventured into the entertainment industry as a child artist in the Malayalam film Ente Mamattikkuttiyammakku (1983). She did her primary schooling, till class 8, at Fatima Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Chennai. Thereafter, she attended Adarsh Vidyalaya, Chennai, where she studied till Class 10. She pursued her Class 11 and 12 in a school in Church Park, Chennai. Then, she enrolled in Annamalai University. She was studying Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) while acting in the Tamil film Kadhalukku Mariyadhai (1997). Rediff
Height (approx.): 5′ 4″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Balck
Figure Measurements (approx.): 32-28-34
Family & Ethnicity
Parents & Siblings
Her father’s name is Babu, and her mother’s name is Alice.
Shalini is the middle child. Her elder brother, Richard Rishi, is an actor, who is known for starring in the Telugu film A Film by Aravind (2005) and Tamil films Draupathi (2020) and Rudra Thandavam (2021). Her younger sister, Shamlee (also known as Baby Shamili), is also an actress and former child artist who won the National Film Award for Best Child Artist for playing the titular role of a mentally challenged girl in the 1990 Tamil film Anjali.
Husband & Children
On 24 April 2000, she got married to the popular Tamil actor Ajith Kumar in Chennai. Since Ajith and Shalini were from different religious backgrounds, Shalini being a Protestant Christian and Ajith being a Hindu Brahmin, they got married as per both religious customs. The two first made acquaintance during the shoot of the Tamil film Amarkalam (1999), and soon, they fell in love. Thereafter, their parents intervened and arranged the marriage.
Shalini quit acting after marriage. Later, Ajith set up his own distribution company AK International and Shalini started looking after it. The couple has two children, a son, Aadvik (born in 2015), and a daughter, Anoushka (born in 2008).
As a child artist, she did more than 75 films in all South Indian languages, and, as an actress, she did 13 films. Altogether, she has appeared in more than 90 films.
She made her Malayalam debut as a child artist with the family drama film Ente Mamattukkuttiyammakku (1983) in which she played the role of Mamattikuttiyama / Tintumol. Immensely appreciated, the role earned her the Kerala State Film Award for Best Child Artist.
Other Malayalam films in which she appeared as a child artist include Sandarbham (1984), Chakkarayumma (1984), Vannu Kandu Keezhadakki (1985), Oru Nokku Kanan (1985), Muhurtham Pathnonnu Muppathinu (1985), and Ente Entethu Mathrem (1986).
After taking a brief hiatus from child acting, she made her debut as an actress with the film Aniyathipraavu (1997), starring Kunchacko Boban, in which she played the role of Mini.
Thereafter, she appeared in various Malayalam films like Kaliyoonjal (1997), Sundarakilladi (1998), and Prem Poojari (1999). One of her hit Malayalam films was Niram (1999) in which she played the role of Sona.
In 1983, she made her Tamil debut as a child artist with the film Aanandha Kummi.
Other Tamil films in which she appeared as a child artist include Bandham (1985), Pillai Nila (1985), Shankar Guru (1987), Michael Raj (1987), and Raja Chinna Roja (1989).
In 1997, she made her debut as an actress with Kadhalukku Mariyadhai, the Tamil remake of the Malayalam Aniyathipraavu (1997). The film starred Vijay (as Jeeva) and Shalini (as Mini) in the lead roles. Like the Malayalam version, Kadhalukku Mariyadhai was also a blockbuster and Shalini’s performance was immensely praised.
She appeared in the film Amarkalam (1999) as Mohana, alongside Ajith Kumar, who later became her husband.
In 2000, she played the role of Hema Rajashekar in the romantic thriller film Kannukkul Nilavu, sharing the screen with Vijay.
In 2000, she appeared in the romantic drama film Alai Payuthey, the Tamil debut of R. Madhavan, in which she played the female lead, Dr Shakthi. She won the Tamil Nadu State Film Award Special Prize for her role in the film.
Her last film Piriyadha Varam Vendum (2001) was released after her marriage.
The blockbuster hit was Shalini’s last big screen appearance after which she quit films and decided to confine herself to family life. While announcing her decision to quit films in an interview, she said,
Definitely, I won’t act after wedding. I, who have given up acting now, won’t even dream of returning back to acting. Marriage is an important stage in a woman’s life. When I will get married to Ajithkumar as per my heart’s liking, I would turn to be the female family head. There’s no change in this decision. “
In 1986, she made her Kannada as a child artist with the romantic drama film Ee Jeeva Ninagagi in which she played the role of Latha. This was her only Kannada film to date.
In 1986, she made her Telugu debut as a child artist with the film Jailu Pakshi.
Other Telugu films in which she appeared as a child artist include Chinnari Devatha (1987), Brahma Puthrudu (1988), and Jagadeka Veerudu Atiloka Sundari (1990).
In 1988, she starred in Brahma Puthrudu, a Telugu remake of the Tamil film Michael Raj (1987).
In 1989, she made her debut in Bollywood as a child artist in the film Rakhwala, starring Anil Kapoor as Vikram Bose, in which she played the role of Mini.
In the late 1980s, she played the lead character in the TV serial Amloo telecast on Doordarshan.
- Kerala State Film Award for Best Child Artist – Ente Mamattukkuttiyammakku (1983)
- Tamil Nadu State Film Award Special Prize for Best Actress – Alaipayuthey (2000)
- Food: Chicken
- Musician: Michael Jackson
- She is also referred to as Shalini Ajith. Hindustan Times Ajith Kumar has given Shalini a secret code name, Sona AK47. The Times of India
- As she rose to prominence, her iconic hairstyle, a short bob with a front fringe, popularly came to be known as the “Baby Shalini haircut.”
- She was on a break after starring in Kadhalukku Mariyaadhai (1997) when Ajith contacted her to cast in Amarkalam (1999). Initially, she refused to act in the film because she wanted to focus on her exams. However, she agreed to act in Amarkalam after watching the preview of the film Kaadhal Mannan (1998), starring Ajith.
- She postponed her marriage to shoot the film Piriyadha Varam Vendum (2001), the Tamil remake of the Malayalam film Niram (1999). Apparently, she had promised the director Kamal that she would star in the Tamil version if Malayalam one turned out to be a blockbuster.
- In an interview, R. Madhavan recalled that Shalini had laid down some conditions before the shoot of the Alai Payuthey (2000). She had particularly asked Madhavan to keep a distance from her while shooting the romantic scenes, citing that she was about to get hitched to Ajith Kumar, who was also a leading actor in the industry at that time.
- Apart from being an actor, she is a skilled badminton player and has played in a few state-level tournaments. She started to play badminton as a hobby with her husband after marriage. Later, she pursued professional coaching in the sport. Her state-level coach’s name is Maran.
- In an interview, she talked about having different religious background than her husband and said,
Ajith and I come from different religious backgrounds. So, we celebrate all the festivals at home – from Diwali to Christmas. We go to the church and the temple alternatively.”
When she was asked about passing on the tradition to her kids, she said,
We don’t want to specify any religion on our children. We want to teach them the best of both the religions and let them decide.”
- She is a non-vegetarian.
- Both Ajith and Shalini don’t like eating chocolates.