She ran the Karnataka Nataka Academy for more than three decades, acted in more than 20 films, and was a member of the Karnataka Legislative Council. A Padmashri recipient, she won the Central Sangeetha Nataka Academy Award in addition to the Sri Krishnadevaraya Award from the Andhra Pradesh government. The Karnataka government felicitated Leela with several awards, including the Gubbi Veeranna Award, the highest honour for any theatre personality in the state.
Leela headed the Karnataka Nataka Academy and was also a member of the Legislative Council in Karnataka for a term of six years.
She appeared in such films as Kittur Chennamma, Gaali Gopura, Krishnadevaraya and Sharapanjara. She produced a film, Hamsalekha, about Panchakshari Gavaayi, a blind musician, which won numerous central government and state awards.
Leela was born in a family of artists and began her acting career at the age of 5. Over 10,000 performances were held of a play she wrote, Halli Hudugi, with which she revived her family's drama company, making it one of the biggest professional drama troupes in Karnataka.
Leela suffered a heart attack and had undergone coronary artery bypass surgery on 18 January 2010, and died three days later, on 21 January 2010, aged 72. Leela was cremated on 23 January 2010 near Davanagere.
- "Karnataka theatre personality Chindodi Leela dead". India Times. 22 January 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
- Prakash Upadhyaya, Chindodi Leela's condition is critical One India. Retrieved on 22 January 2010.