Seema is a famous actress of South Indian films. She has performed in approximately 250 films in Malayalam, nine in Tamil, seven in Telugu, three in Kannada and one in Hindi. Seema is still active in the movie industry.
She began her career in Tamil film at the age of fourteen as a dancer. About five years she continued as a dancer. At the age of 19 her first movie, as heroine, is released in Malayalam titled Avalude Raavukal (Her Nights), directed by I. V. Sasi. She continued acting till 1988 and took a break in her career life after the Malayalam movie Mahayaanam. Again became active in 1998 through Olympion Antony Adam. Seema won the Kerala State Film Award for best actress in 1984 and in 1985, and is well known for her versatility. She married I.V. Sasi, the veteran South Indian director and is blessed with a daughter and son.
Seema born in Eranakulam, Kerala in 1957 as the only child of her parents. At the age of twelve she joined to learn dance and learned many dancing steps from Kamal Hassan, who was the assistant of her dance master, Thankappan.
She entered in to film work as a normal group dancer, under dance master Chopra when she was at fourteen. Later she became up to the level of dance master and worked in film industry as composer also as dancer around five years of time. Meanwhile at the age of 17 she was asked to act in a Kannada movie as a second heroine with Kannada actor Amresh. I. V. Sasi spotted her and given the chance to act in his film "Avalude Raavukal" (literal translation: Her Nights)as heroine. The shooting of this movie started on 1977 and released on 3 March 1978. The classic movie with Sherif's script and I. V. Sasi's direction, created waves in the Malayalm audience because of its soft porn nature and the challenging subject. The name Shanthi changed to Seema through this movie. The very daring and challenging role that any other actresses were reluctant to do has been done by Seema, helped her to get noticed by other directors. But the movie gave sexy and glamorous image to the actress, and audiences were always expecting such kind of roles from her. She became the heartthrob of the Malayalam film industry and got noticed by other directors.
During that time the Malayalm film industry was ruled by yesteryear's actresses Sheela, Sharada, Jayabharathi, K. R. Vijaya, and Srividya. Seema received roles from many directors, but most of them were the glamorous with exposing type, or as a second heroine always behind the shadows of others. She accepted all kind of roles and gave confidence to directors that any kind of role was safe in her hands. But the situation changed when her movies with Super Star Jayan became mega hits. The Jayan and Seema pair attracted people to theatres. This made her an independent heroine of the movies. Angaadi, Kaanthavalayam, Sakthi, Manushyamrugam, Bens Vasu, Meen, Karimpana, Thadavara, and Anupallavi are some of Jayan-Seema Hit movies. Though she became a lead heroine still she could lose her glamorous image. Mini skirts and swimsuits were always part of her costumes. The hit pair could not endure for a long time, the unexpected demise of Jayan was a great loss for the industry and the most loved and accepted pair ended.
Directors wanted to find another star to fill the gap left by Jayan. Many movies were planned for Jayan, one such a movie was "Sphodanam" directed by P. G. Viswambaran. He gave the chance to Mammooty to take the role of Jayan, in the same movie in which Seema also acted. Later Ratheesh came, also paired with Seema. Seema continued her acting paired with them.
A novel from popular magazine "Vanitha" was decided to take as a movie by the director P. G. Viswambharan, who chosen Seema as Dr. Bala, though the readers selected Lakshmi for the same. Director was very confident about Seema and movie is released with name "Sandhyakku Virinja Poovu" with Mammootty as a negative hero and Mohanlal as the villain. The movie was a super hit and it changed Seema's image. Seema was noticed as a heroine to handle character type roles and she received many serious, female oriented and good characters of Malayalam Cinema. The Mammooty-Seema pair become very popular through this movie. Sandhyakku Virinja Poovu, Naanayam, Sandhyakkenthinu Sindhooram, Rugma, Onnanu Nammal, Maniyara, Manithaali, Aa neram Alpadooram, Akshrangal, Aalkoottathil thaniye, Athiraathram, Anubandham, Adiyozhukkukal, Idanilangal, Kaanamarayathu, Gandhinagar Second Street, Karimbin Poovinakkare, and Mahaayaanam are some of the hit movies. Seema proved her versatility through all these movies.
Seema done many characters of veteran writer M. T. Vasudevan Nair. This itself is a great award for her. Her versatality given all sort of roles, if she acted as a bold heroine who driven car in a stunt scene of movie "Naanayam", the same year she had acted as a pathetic mother in "Rugma". She has done comedy in "Ayalvasi oru Daridravasi" and she has done villain role in "Oru Sumangaliyude Kadha". She performed as a jobless widow with a kid in Anubandham, the same time portraying a revenging widow as in "Athiraathram". The Malayalam movie industry never had seen such a verstaile heroine. She is well known for her emotional scenes. Her dialogue presentation and different face expressions are noticeable.
Her heroes include most or all heroes of Malayalm movie from 1978 to 1988. She paired more movies with Mammootty, Jayan and Ratheesh. Also well done with Prem Nazir, Madhu, Kamal Hassan, Raghavan, Ravi Menon, Sukumaran, M. G. Soman, Mohanlal, Nedumudi Venu, Captain Raju, Devan, Jose, Venu Nagavalli, Balachandra Menon, and T. G. Ravi.
It is difficult to include all her co-actresses but she has worked with Sharada, Sheela, Jayabharathi, Sreevidya, Sukumari, KR Vijaya, Vidhubala, Kanaka Durga, Mallika Sukumaran, Meena, Kaviyoor Ponnamma of 1970s Suhasini, Rajalekshmi, Swapna, Oorvasi, Geetha,Nalini, Sabitha, Jalalja, Unnimeri, Subha, Sumithra, Shobhana, Nanditha Bose, Surekha, Parvathy, Ambika, Radha, Kalaranjini,Chithra, Sithara, Lakshmi, Lizi, Karthika, Poornima Jayaram, Menaka, Ahalya,Rani Padmini,Saritha, Farah, Shobhana, Rohini of the 1980s; in the 1990s and the 2000s she acted with Abhirami, Meena, Manisha Koirala, and Soundarya.
Of all of these, Sreevidya shared a special affection with her. Seema used to call her Vidya Chechi. Sreevidya helped Seema discover the nuances in make-up and hair styles. Seema had mentioned that Sreevidya would personally sit up and plait Seema's long hair whenever they acted or travelled together for a shooting.
She worked with many directors like I.V. Sasi, Sasikumar, P. G. Viswambaran, Priyadarsan, Sathyan Anthikkad, Joshi, Sibi Malayil etc. With I.V. Sasi she has done 59 films as heroine, and with Sasikumar she done 29 movies as heroine. It is unusual and maybe a record that an actress worked as heroine of 59 movies of a single director.
Seema has a very beautiful, lovely and sexy voice in her movies. This credit goes to her favourite dubbing artist, the late Mrs. Kottayam Shantha who has given voice to Seema's characters. Until 1988, with the exception of two movies, Avalude Raavukal and Adavukal Pathinettu, all Seema's characters were dubbed by Kottayam Shantha. Seema, while signing a call sheet herself requested that the directors use Kottayam Shantha's voice. That voice is really suitable to her, especially with her lip movements. That sound is nurtured for Seema, though Kottayam Shantha dubbed for other actresses like Lakshmi, Swapna, and Sumalatha.