Amala, after finishing her high school education from Nirmala higher secondary school, Aluva, and higher secondary education at Aluva Government Higher Secondary School, took a year out before joining college. She later joined St Teresa's college, to pursue a B. A. degree in Communicative English. At the time, her modelling portfolio was spotted by noted Malayalam director Lal Jose who offered her a supporting role in his remake, Neelathamara (2009). Despite emerging a success, the film failed to attract any further offers, as she had anticipated. She pursued roles in Tamil films and went on to sign for the low-budget comedy film Vikadakavi, which was delayed and ultimately became her sixth release, while also signing on to play the lead role in another small budget film Veerasekaran (2010). The film, which became her maiden Tamil release, was panned by critics and went completely unnoticed, while Amala's role was labelled as "minimal", and she later cited that she regretted doing the film and many of her scenes were edited out. Amala then went on to work in Samy's controversial Sindhu Samaveli (2010), portraying the role of Sundari, who has an illicit relationship with her father-in-law. The director of the film had previously drawn criticism for his depictions of illicit romances as well as for assaulting his previous lead actress in a film, but Amala played down the issue citing that she had no problem with the director. She was approached after the major portions of her next release, Mynaa were ready, and signed on before listening to the entirety of the story, claiming that she was shocked but not upset with the controversial scenes which she heard later. Upon release, the film met with contrasting reviews, whilst some critics refused to give the film a rating, declaring their disgust at the film's plot. Amala's performance won her critical acclaim. However, her success was marred with extreme reactions from the public, with Amala claiming that she received death threats from anonymous callers and was publicly scolded by women at a cinema hall in Chennai.