Sridevi made her debut as child artiste in Kannada with Bhakta Kumbara (1974) directed by Hunsur Krishnamurthy. Her other films as a child artist in Kannada included Bala Bharatam and Yashoda Krishna. She was also a part of Hennu Samsarada Kannu (1975), directed by A. V. Sheshagiri Rao. Sridevi also acted opposite Ambarish in Priya (1978), produced by S. P. Muthurraman. She made her debut in Malayalam films with Kumara Sambhava in 1969 as child actor, followed by I. V. Sasi's Abhinandanam. Her notable films as the lead heroine in Malayalam were Thulavarsham, directed by N. Sankaran Nair in 1976 and M. Masthan's Kuttavum Shikshayum a remake of the Tamil film Pennai Nambungal with Kamal Haasan starring opposite her. She next started in the Malayalam release was Satyavan Savithri. In 1981, she starred in the Tamil film Meendum Kokila which won her the Filmfare Award for Best Actress – Tamil. In 1982, Sridevi starred in Moondram Pirai playing a woman suffering from amnesia and went on to win the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress. She was paired with Kamal Hasan in 27 films across languages.