Shalini is born to Malayali parents Babu & Alice. Her father is from Kollam and mother is from a Chennai settled Malayali family. 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 played in a few state-level tournaments. Ajith proposed to Shalini in June 1999, and following consultations with her family, she agreed. Ajith being a Hindu Brahmin and Shalini being Protestant Christian, they were married together under the customs of both religions. The couple has two children Anoushka AjithKumar and 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. 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. After their marriage, Shalini retired as an actress.