Abhirami was born to Gopikumar and Pushpa, her mother tongue is Tamil, she was born and grew up in Kerala as her parents were both bank officials settled in Trivandrum. She had her primary education from Christ Nagar English High School and Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Trivandrum and predegree from Mar Ivanios College. She graduated in Psychology and Communications from the College of Wooster in Ohio. Abhirami acted for the first time in director Adoor Gopalakrishnan's film Kathapurushan; it was her only film as a child artiste. While in college, Abhirami worked as a TV anchor for the program Top Ten which aired on Asianet Channel. She changed her screen name to Abhirami, the character name of the heroine of the film Guna. She acted in a small role in the Malayalam film Pathram in 1999 and in the series Mercara directed by Jude Attipetty. Later she acted in films such as Millennium Stars, Njangal Santhushtaranu, and Sradha before shifting to Tamil cinema. Her first Tamil film was Vaanavil (2001) opposite Arjun, which was a "big hit" and was followed by films including Middle Class Madhavan and Samudhiram. A notable film in her career was Virumaandi opposite Kamal Hassan. Besides Tamil and Malayalam, she has appeared in Telugu and Kannada films and was a notable Tollywood actress. In 2004 she retired from the film industry and settled in the United States for her studies. She went on to work as the marketing director of an MNC there. In 2013, Abhirami was the voice of Pooja Kumar in both parts of Kamal Haasan's Vishwaroopam. The following year, she made her comeback in Malayalam films with Apothecary. Currently she is anchoring a reality show on Mazhavil Manorama titled Made for Each Other. She also dubbed for Pooja Kumar in Uthama Villain. Abhirami is married to Rahul Pavanan, grandson of writer Pavanan.