21 September 1980, Mumbai, Maharahstra, India to Sindhi-speaking Babita (nee Shivdasani) and Punjabi-speaking Randhir Kapoor in Bombay, India. She has an elder sister, Karisma.
She is born in a family that have been actors for generations, including her paternal great-grandfather, Prithviraj Kapoor; her grandfather, Raj Kapoor; her paternal uncles, Shammi, Shashi, Rishi, and Rajiv; as well as aunt, Neetu Singh, & Jennifer Kendall, the wives of Rishi and Shashi respectively. On her maternal side, her grandfather, Hari Shivdasani, and aunt, Sadhana, have been actors in their own rights.As a child she studied in Jamnabai Narsee School in Juhu, Bombay, and thereafter was enrolled in Dehra Dun's prestigious Welham Girls' Boarding School. Then she re-located to Harvard for approximately 3 months to take a course in Information Technology and Microcomputers. Upon her return to India, she joined the Government Law College in Churchgate, Bombay, but left it after one year, to enroll in the Kishore Namit Kapoor Acting School.
Her dad, Randhir is very protective towards his daughters and wanted both of them to keep away from acting, get married, and settle down, as per the Kapoor family tradition. This led to irreconcilable differences between her parents, ultimately leading to a divorce, with both sisters leaving their dad to live with their mom.
Her film debut was in the year 2000 with 'Refugee' along with the debut of Amitabh Bachchan's son, Abhishek. She went on to appear in 31 other Hindi movies, and has thus far won four awards for her performances in 'Refugee', 'Chameli', 'Dev', and 'Omkara'.