While in school, Rai did a couple displaying assignments. Taking after appearances in a few TV ads, she entered the Miss India expo, in which she put second. She was then delegated Miss World 1994, after which she started getting offers to act in film. She made her acting introduction with the 1997 Tamil film Iruvar and had her first Hindi film discharge in Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya that same year. Her first business achievement was the Tamil sentimental show Jeans (1998), after which she made more extensive progress and two Best Actress recompenses at Filmfare for her exhibitions in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) and Devdas (2002). She earned basic thankfulness for depicting Rabindranath Tagore's champion, Binodini, in the Bengali film Chokher Bali (2003), a discouraged lady in the relationship show Raincoat (2004) and as Kiranjit Ahluwalia in the British dramatization film Provoked (2006). Rai's most prominent business triumphs have been the experience film Dhoom 2 (2006), the recorded sentiment Jodhaa Akbar (2008), and the sci-fi film Enthiran (2010). She likewise got acclaim for depicting a medical caretaker in the dramatization Guzaarish (2010). Following a five-year vacation from film acting, she made her rebound with the thriller Jazbaa (2015).
Rai wedded on-screen character Abhishek Bachchan in 2007 with whom she has a little girl. Her off-screen parts incorporate obligations as a brand diplomat for a few philanthropy associations and battles. She is a Goodwill Ambassador for the Joint United Nations Program on AIDS (UNAIDS). In 2003, she was the principal Indian performing artist to be a jury part at the Cannes Film Festival.