Shalini Ajith, also known simply as Shalini, is an Indian film actress who debuted at the age of three as a child artist in the Malayalam film Ente Mamattikkuttiyammakku, which was produced by Navodaya Studio. She also acted in Kannada film as child artist with legendary actor Dr. Vishnuvardhan in the film Ee Jeeva Ninagagi. This film was released in 1986. In the Telugu film Jagadeka Veerudu Atiloka Sundari (1990), she acted along with her sister Shamili as an orphan child taken care of 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), Amarkalam (1999), Niram (1999), Kannukkul Nilavu (2000), Alaipayuthey (2000) and Piriyadha Varam Vendum (2001). Shalini is married to Tamil film actor Ajith Kumar. She received the Tamil Nadu State Film Special Award for Best Actress for her role in Alaipayuthey.
Shalini was born to Malayali parents Babu and Alice on 20 November 1979. Her father is from Kollam and her mother from Thiruvalla. Her father migrated to Madras, with an ambition of becoming an 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, 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 Kumar 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 to, following his previous relationship.
Ajith proposed to Shalini in June 1999, and following consultations with her family, she agreed. They wed on 24 April 2000 in Chennai in a grand ceremony. As both were of different religions, Ajith being a Hindu-Brahmin and Shalini being a Christian , they were married together under the customs of both religions.
After their marriage, Shalini retired as an actress, following the completion of two unfinished projects. The couple have two children. On 3 January 2008, they had their daughter Anoushka. On 2 March 2015, they had their second child, a son Aadvik.