Latha became a very successful actress and has won several awards. She has acted in excess of one hundred films spanning Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. Her debut film was Ulagam Sutrum Valiban (1973), in which she starred alongside M. G. Ramachandran. The film was significant as it achieved a level of technical prowess such as shooting underwater that has not been replicated till today in Tamil Cinema. It also was shot exclusively in foreign locations such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Japan, which was a first for Tamil Cinema. The film's success skyrocketed her to the top of the industry and she was felicitated by the press for being the best and most glamorous amongst all the four actresses in the film. She remained M. G. Ramachandran's leading lady for several years in Tamil films. He recommended her to star Akkineni Nageswara Rao for Andala Ramudu (1973), thus making her debut in Telugu films. She specialized in playing glamorous roles in Tamil and Telugu films. She played the Zeenat Aman role in two remakes of Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973): the Telugu film Annadammula Anubandham(1975) and the Tamil film Naalai Namathay (1975). She won a Filmfare Award for her performance in Vattathukkul Sadhuram. The Kalaimamani award was bestowed upon her by the State Government of Tamil Nadu for her achievements in the film industry. She has also received awards from the Government of Tamil Nadu as well as the Government of Andhra Pradesh for her acting ability. She was also briefly involved in politics, as her father, Shanmugha Rajeswara Sethupathi, the Raja of Ramnad, was once a politician. She played a vital role in Rajinikanth's movie, Shankar Salim Simon. This role made her one of the only 2 actresses, along with Lakshmi, to be paired with MGR & Rajinikanth in the 1970s Tamil movies.
After a hiatus of 14 years, she successfully reprised her career by acting in leading roles in many mega serials in Tamil and Telugu. In 2002, the actress played vicious mothers-in-law in Telugu television serials Eenati Ramayanam, Pavithrabandham and Matti Manishi.Most recently, she has gained much notoriety alongside Raadhika Sarathkumar in the Tamil television serials Chitthi, Selvi and most famously in Arase (Arasi). Her role in Arase (Arasi) is very popular amongst the demographic of Tamils that religiously follow mega serials, namely housewives and children. Her role is best known for her catchphrases 'Pada Pada Padannu irukkiradhu' and 'Idhu Rombo Too Much' and the humorous portrayal of the character.