While in school, Rai did a couple demonstrating assignments. Taking after appearances in a few TV advertisements, she entered the Miss India exhibition, in which she set second. She was then delegated Miss World 1994, after which she started accepting offers to act in film. She made her acting introduction in Mani Ratnam's 1997 Tamil film Iruvar featuring amazing adaptable performing artist Mohanlal and had her first Hindi film discharge in Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya that same year. Her first business achievement was the Tamil sentimental dramatization Jeans (1998), after which she made more extensive progress and two Best Actress grants at Filmfare for her exhibitions in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) and Devdas (2002). She gathered basic gratefulness for depicting an enthusiastic craftsman in the Tamil sentiment Kandukondain (2000), Rabindranath Tagore's champion, Binodini, in the Bengali film Chokher Bali (2003), a discouraged lady in the relationship dramatization Raincoat (2004) and as Kiranjit Ahluwalia in the British show film Provoked (2006). Rai's most noteworthy business triumphs have been the sentiment Mohabbatein (2000), the experience film Dhoom 2 (2006), the chronicled sentiment Jodhaa Akbar (2008), and the sci-fi film Enthiran (2010). She likewise got applaud for depicting a medical caretaker in the dramatization Guzaarish (2010). Rai took a vacation from film acting in 2010, and made her rebound with the thriller Jazbaa (2015).
Rai wedded on-screen character Abhishek Bachchan in 2007 with whom she has a girl. Her off-screen parts incorporate obligations as a brand represetative 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 main Indian performing artist to be a jury part at the Cannes Film Festival.