Shobana acted for the first time in a leading role in the Malayalam motion picture"April 18" in 1984, directed by Balachandra Menon. She also acted alongside the Malayalam actor Mammootty in the film Kanamarayathu (1984). Shobana won her first National Award from the government of India, for best performance as an actress in 1994. She was awarded for her stunning performance in Fazil's movie Manichitrathazhu, starring Mohanlal and Suresh Gopi. She bagged a second National award for best actress in the year 2002 for her role in an English language film Mitr: My Friend, directed by Revathi.