Padmini was an Indian actress and trained Bharathanatyam dancer who acted in over 250 Indian films. She acted in the Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi language films. Padmini, with her elder sister Lalitha and her younger sister Ragini, were called the "Travancore sisters".
Padmini was born and raised in Thiruvananthapuram in what was then the princely state of Travancore. She was the second daughter of SreeThankappan Pillai and Saraswathi Amma both comes from noble Nair families. Her sisters, Lalitha and Ragini, were also well known film actresses. Together, the three were known as the Travancore sisters. Padmini and her sisters learnt bharathanatyam from Vazhuvoor B. Ramaiah Pillai. The trio were the disciples of Indian dancer Guru Gopinath. They learnt Kathakali and Kerala Natanam styles of dancing from him. N.S. Krishnan noticed her talents while she was presenting Parijatha Pushpapaharanam in Thiruvananthapuram. After that performance, he said that in the future she will become an actress. She was thus cast as heroine in his own production Manamagal. The Travancore Sisters grew up in a joint family tharavadu 'Malaya Cottage' in Poojappura, Trivandrum. The matriarchial head of the family was Karthiyayini Amma whose husband was PK Pillai alias 'Penang Padmanabha Pillai'. PK Pillai had six sons of whom Satyapalan Nair was a leading producer of many early Malayalam films. Another son, Raveendran Nair's daughter Latika Suresh, is a leading producer of Malayalam TV programs. They performed at the 1955 Filmfare Awards.