Sheetal Menon is an Indian model-turned-actress and director, who predominantly works in the Hindi film industry. She made her debut in the Hindi film industry with Bhram (2008).
Sheetal Mukundan Menon was born in 1982. She is a Mangalorean Malayali. In 2003, after she finished her schooling she shifted to Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. She completed a diploma in Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu London, London, United Kingdom. During her time as a model, Sheetal enrolled herself at Anupam Kher‘s acting institute in Mumbai, Maharashtra and attended the four-month course, Actor Prepares.
A picture of Sheetal Menon (third from left) from her time as a student at Le Cordon Bleu London
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Brown
Parents & Siblings
Her father, Mukundan Menon, was an officer in the Indian army. Her father was in Nashik, Maharashtra and Sheetal, her mother and her sister were in Kerala, India when Mukundan Menon suffered a heart attack and passed away in 1988. Sheetal was six years old and her sister was eight years old when Menon died. After her father’s death, her mother, Premlatha, took up a job in the Indian army in Nashik, Maharashtra where her father used to serve. Premlatha raised Sheetal and her elder sister following the death of her husband.
On 27 December 2015, she got married to director Bejoy Nambiar in a private wedding ceremony held in Kochi, Kerala, India. They got married in a traditional Hindu Malayali wedding ceremony. Some reports suggested that they first met each other on the sets of Bejoy’s short film Rahu (2008) and later fell in love with each other during the shooting of Shaitaan (2011). Bejoy, a Malayali by birth, mainly worked in the Hindi film industry. In March 2015, some reports suggested that they were getting married, however, Bejoy denied the rumours and stated there was no truth in them. Sheetal was his second wife. In 2007, Bejoy Nambiar married the daughter of Bollywood actor Raj Babbar and Nadira Babbar, Juhi Babbar. However, in 2009 they announced that they were separating and got divorced.
A wedding picture of Sheetal Menon and Bejoy Nambiar
A wedding photograph of Sheetal Menon and Bejoy Nambiar
In 2006, Sheetal Menon and Bollywood actor John Abraham did an advertisement for Diet Pepsi. Following the release of the advertisement, some reports suggested that they were dating and that John had advised Sheetal to avoid appearing in item dances as she had only begun her career, and it could limit her opportunities. John was then in a relationship with Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu, and reportedly the dating rumours of him and Sheetal troubled Bipasha. However, both Sheetal and John denied these rumours and pointed out that nothing was going on between them.
Sheetal started modelling in 2003 and soon became a famous model in the country. She made her debut with an advertisement for Clinic All Clear and also was selected for the Lakme India Fashion Week 2003 held at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Mumbai, Maharashtra. She then went on to do many ramp walks for some of the biggest designers in the country and was also featured in many print and commercial advertisements. She also modelled twice for the Kingfisher calendar in 2005 and 2008.
A photograph of Sheetal Menon from her modelling days
In 2008, she made her debut with Bhram. She played the role of Antara Y. Tyagi opposite Dino Morea, the film was a failure at the box office. She shared a liplock kiss with Dino in the movie. In an interview, she revealed that it was a bit difficult for her to do the kiss scene at the beginning as they did not know each other but later went ahead with it when she realised the scene was required for the film.
Sheetal Menon with Dino Morea in Bhram
In 2010, she was cast in My Name Is Khan directed by Karan Johar. She was then cast in the Indo-Chinese film The Desire (2011). Sheetal then appeared in Bejoy Nambiar’s Shaitan (2011). In 2013, she played the role of Susie in the film ‘David’ directed by Bejoy Nambiar. She was cast as Swara in the critically acclaimed ‘The River of Love’ (2021) directed by Akash Khurana and won accolades for her performance. The film was screened at multiple film festivals worldwide.
Sheetal Menon with Akash Khurana in The River of Love
Tamil and Telugu
Sheetal made her Telugu debut with the Allu Arjun starrer Julayi (2012) and played the role of Devayani opposite Sonu Sood. In 2013, she made her debut in the Tamil film industry with Bejoy Nambiar’s David. She was cast in Saagasam (2016), which was the Tamil remake of Julayi.
In 2019, she was cast in the Hindi anthology Flip. She was one of the lead actors in the chapter The Hunt and received praise for her performance.
Sheetal Menon in The Hunt
She made her directorial debut with the short film ‘Siblings.’ She ended her hiatus and made a return to the limelight with Siblings. Sheetal’s actual plan was to create a small showreel, her husband, Bejoy, had a story and gave it to her to work on. She then with the help of Arpita Chatterjee worked on the story and shaped it according to her vision and likeness and came up with a draft which was different from Bejoy’s version. Sheetal Menon and Shivani Tanksale played the lead roles in the short film and won critical appreciation and accolades. The short film premiered at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Festival in 2019.
Sheetal Menon with Shivani Tanksale in Siblings
- 2019: Critics Choice Shorts and Series Awards – Best Writing – Siblings (shared with Bejoy Nambiar and Arpita Chatterjee)
- 2019: Critics Choice Shorts and Series Awards – Best Director (Fiction) – Siblings
- 2019: Critics Choice Shorts and Series Awards – Best Film (Fiction) – Siblings
A photograph of Sheetal Menon with her awards at the CCSSA 2019
- In an interview, she revealed that she was very shy during her youth and had struggled to make acquaintances with people. Sheetal is a trained Indian classical dancer, who specialised in Bharatanatyam, Odissi, and Kathak. It was her mother who forced her to join dance classes despite Sheetal’s excuses as a child. She trained under the famous Odissi dancer Daksha Mashruwala at the Sangeet Mahabharti Vidyalay in Juhu, Mumbai, Maharashtra.
- As a first-year college student, she wanted to participate in the college youth festival, however, due to her shy nature she could not even fill out the registration form and added that it was her sister who filled the form for her. It was Sheetal’s debut performance and she went on to win the competition. In an interview, she let out that this victory was one of the few moments she enjoyed during her college time.
- In an interview, she revealed that before the filming of her directorial debut ‘Siblings,’ she was adamant about having detailed preparation and visited multiple hospitals and ICU wards for gaining a detailed understanding of the functioning of ventilator machines and to grasp detailed information about the role of caretakers. She also added that when the filming of the short film was about to start the location fees were suddenly increased and she let out that she was very close to cancelling the shooting and it was her husband and producer of the film, Bejoy Nambiar, who insisted and supported her not to cancel and to go ahead.
- Sheetal had enrolled herself at the Kishore Namit Kapoor Acting Institute during her college days, however, she did not complete the course because her family members were not happy with her interest in acting.
- In 2021, she won the Award of Merit for her performance as the Leading Actress in the film The River of Love.
- In 2009. she was nominated for the Breakthrough Performance – Female (Jury’s Choice) at the Stardust Awards for her role in the Hindi film Bhram: An Illusion (2008).
- In an interview, she revealed that she had taught dance at her friend Elizabeth Pereira Pandit’s dance school in Chembur, Mumbai for a couple of months.
- Sheetal had interned at the Indigo Delicatessen in Mumbai, Maharashtra after finishing her culinary course in London, United Kingdom. In an interview, she revealed that she quit the hotel industry after three months as she found herself unhappy in the industry and also pointed out that the workload was so demanding and tiring. She added that during that period she wanted to participate in a workshop conducted by Atul Mongia and her husband Bejoy Nambiar enrolled her on Atul Mongia’s workshop after she confessed to Bejoy about her interest. She pointed out that the workshop turned out to be a defining moment in her life as it made her confident and she was able to convince herself to give it acting a second chance.
- In an interview, she revealed that she preferred commercial and print modelling over ramp modelling, and added that she did not have a wonderful experience at the Lakme Fashion Week (2003). She pointed out that shooting for Kingfisher calendars was something which she enjoyed.
- She was associated with the Getaway Pictures Llp, based in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India and also was one of the directors of the Revanta Hometex (India) Private Limited, based in Thane, Maharashtra, India.