Vijaya was born as eldest among six children to Subramaniyam and Karthyayani at Thrissur, Kerala. Vijaya's father was from Andhra Pradesh and mother from Thrissur, Kerala. Her father was in Army and mother was a house wife. She has a younger brother, Narendran and four younger sisters, K. R. Vatsala, K. R. Savithri, Sashikala, Radha. She had her primary education at Government Higher Secondary School,Punkunnam, Thrissur. Vijaya spent most of her childhood at Thrissur till she became 11 and later at holy city of Palani when her family shifted there. She couldn't continue her studies since she became busy in her acting career. Her father wanted her to become an actress since he was himself acting in M. K. Radha's drama troupe at the time after retiring from army. She became active in dramas. She made her film debut with Karpagam in 1963.
She got married to a businessman, Velayudhan Nair in 1966 and quit acting in films. Her husband was the CEO of Sudarshan trading company and a movie producer. The couple have a daughter Hemalatha (born 1967). Later on insistence of Arrurdas, she started working in films from 1969 to present. Velayudhan died on 26 March 2016 aged 82.
Vijaya played the title character, a heroine, in her 1963 debut film Karpagam, directed by K. S. Gopalakrishnan. Gopalakrishnan also directed her 100th film Nathaiyil Muthu.
Vijaya has starred in almost 400 films in all the South Indian languages, including 100 films each in Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu, half-a-dozen in Kannada, and one in Hindi titled Oonche Log (1965). Her co-stars in the Hindi movie were Raaj Kumar and Feroz Khan and movie was based on K . Balachander's play Major Chandrakant. She received many offers in Hindi, but did not accept them as she was busy in the South.
Between her debut in 1963 and her marriage in 1966, she shot for films as the heroine in films like Ninaivil Nindraval, Thenmazhai, Ooty Varai Oravu, Patanathil Bhootam,Server Sundaram, Kandan Karunai, Paladai, Anarkali, Idhayakamalam and Manam Oru Korungu. She did 3 films Thazhampoo, Vivasayee and Panam Padaithavan opposite M.G.Ramachandran and played supporting roles in Naan Aanaiittal. She got married at the peak of her career in 1966. Since many of her films she was part of 1963 to 1967 were big hit films, Mr.Aroordas insisted her to continue acting, post giving birth to her first daughter and made comeback by starring in Telugu and Malayalam films in 1968-69.
After 1968, she was more frequently paired with Gemini Ganesan, Sivaji Ganesan, Jaishankar, Muthuraman. Her hits include Selvam, Saraswathi Sabadham, Nenchirukkum Varai, Namma Veetu Theivam (the movie in which she first started depicting deities), Dheergasumangali (she first started playing a mother in this film), Gowravam, Thangappathakkam,Panchavarna Kili and Thirusoolam. After her mairrage she got opportunity to act opposite M.G.Ramachandran in Naan Yen Pirandhen and Nalla Neram.
She temporarily stopped acting in movies when her husband became ill during 1994 and continued in television serials. After her husband's death she became active in movies and television.Tamil Nadu State Film Awards
1967 - Best Actress for Iru Malargal
1970 - Best Actress for Namma Veetu Dheivam
Kerala State Film Awards
1984 - Second Best Actress - Ithiripoove Chuvannapoove
Kerala Film Critics Association Awards
2013 : Chalachitra Rathnam Award
Filmfare Awards South
2004 - Lifetime Achievement Award
K. R. Vijaya has starred in many films. Her first film was Karpagam in 1963, where she portrayed the title role, Karpagam. The movie went well and she was also praised for her role. Apart from films, she has also starred in two teleserials, Raja Rajeswari and Kudumbam, shown both in India and Sri Lanka.
Anweshichu Kandethiyilla Aayudham Aalolam Keni Sakunthala Bharyayum Kaamukiyum Thhcholi Ambu Ayodhya Kudumbam Namukku Sreekovil Kolilakkam Mughangal Ezham Kadalinakkare Aadya Kiranangal Odayil Ninnu Jeevitham Justice Raja Naan yen piranthen Akkinini