Shalini Ajith Kumar, also known simply as Shalini, is an Indian film actress who debuted, at the age of 3, as a child artist in the Malayalam film Ente Mamattikkuttiyammakku which was produced by Navodaya Studio. In Telugu film Jagadeka Veerudu Atiloka Sundari (1990) she acted along with her sister Shamili as an orphan child taken care by Megastar Chiranjeevi. She continued to appear in many films as a child actor, credited as Baby Shalini. After a break of several years, she returned to the industry by appearing in her first lead role in Aniyathi Pravu which went on to become a blockbuster. She later appeared in highly successful films in Malayalam and Tamil such as Kadhalukku Mariyadhai (1997), Niram (1999), Amarkalam (1999) and Alaipayuthey (2000), Piriyadha Varam Vendum (2001). Shalini is married to Tamil film actor Ajith Kumar.
Shalini was born to Malayali parents Babu & Alice on 20 November 1979. Her father is from Kollam and mother is from a Chennai settled Malayali family. Her father migrated to Madras with an ambition of becoming actor and the family settled there later he fulfilled his ambition through his children. She attended Fatima Mat Hr Sec School, Adarsh Vidyalaya, Chennai and Church Park Convent, Chennai. She is the middle child. Her younger sister Shamili and her elder brother Richard Rishi are also employed in the film industry. Shalini has stated that she enjoys badminton and has played in a few state-level tournaments.
In 1999, during the shoot of Saran's Amarkalam, Ajith began to date his co-star Shalini. At that time, their involvement made him a regular subject of tabloid gossip, a role to which he was accustomed following his previous relationship. Ajith proposed to Shalini in June 1999, and following consultations with her family, she agreed. They were married in 24 April 2000 in Chennai in a grand ceremony. As both were of different religions, Ajith being a Hindu Brahmin and Shalini being Protestant Christian, they were married together under the customs of both religions. After their marriage, Shalini retired as an actress and became a full-time housewife, following the completion of two unfinished projects. The couple have two children. On 3 January 2008, they had their daughter, Anoushka AjithKumar, she was born in Chennai. On 2 March 2015, they had their second child, a son Aadvik AjithKumar.
Shalini started her career as a child artist in Ente Mamattikkuttiyammakku and she acted in all the films under the direction of Fazil. She went to study, she returned to acting with Aniyathipravu which was a blockbuster. Initially Fazil was keen on casting a débutante in the lead female role, but Shalini insisted that she should also star in the Tamil version. Her performance was praised especially Indolink.com recommending the film and citing that "Shalini returns in this film with a good performance". The success of the film prompted the director to make another film with the lead pair in 2000, Kannukkul Nilavu which received positive reviews and was a success at the box office. Her next film was Amarkalam, Saran initially approached Shalini, who was studying at the time and she refused but after a three-month pursuit, he finally got her to sign on as well. She was offered a role in Padayappa which she rejected.