Born as Anupama Chandra in Calcutta, India to Chandra Parshad family, She has also lived in Badayun, a city in Uttar Pradesh. Her father Navin Chandra was the eldest of the brothers and sisters of Anupama's grandfather, originally from Delhi, was an executive with Union Carbide, and her mother Kamna Chandra was a scriptwriter; she wrote dialogues for such films as Prem Rog (1982) and Chandni (1989). Chopra grew up with her brother and sister in Mumbai, where her family lived in Nepean Sea Road and then in Cuffe Parade. Her sister Tanuja Chandra is a Bollywood director and screenwriter; and her brother Vikram Chandra is a novelist, who splits his time between California and India. She also lived in Hong Kong for several years as a teenager. In 1987, she graduated from St. Xavier's College, Mumbai with a BA in English Literature.
Later, Chopra earned her MA in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She won the Harrington Award for "academic excellence and promise for success in the field of magazine journalism" while at Medill. She later said, "Film journalism was untouchable at the time. Everybody was ashamed and nobody wanted to admit that I worked for Movie."
After her education, Chopra started her career as a film journalist and critic and over the years has written several books of films, especially Bollywood or Hindi cinema. She has written about the Hindi film industry since 1993 and has explored cinema in several mediums - print, television and digital. Her first book Sholay: The Making of a Classic (2000) won the 2001 National Film Award for Best Book on Cinema (India). Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (The Bravehearted Will Take The Bride) (2002) was published by the British Film Institute as part of their Modern Classics Series. Her book, King of Bollywood: Shah Rukh Khan and the Seductive World of Indian Cinema, was featured on the annual "Editor's Choice" list of the New York Times Book Review. It was also translated into German, Indonesian and Polish.
Chopra's 2011 book First Day First Show: Writings from the Bollywood Trenches, is a compilation of her articles on Hindi cinema over two decades, published by Penguin India.
Chopra's work has been published in India Today, India's largest English-language magazine. She has also written about Bollywood for various international publications such as The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Variety and Sight & Sound and is currently a contributing editor to Vogue (India)..
Chopra hosted film review show, Picture This on NDTV 24X7 news channel. In 2012, she started her weekly review show called The Front Row with Anupama Chopra, on Star World, which ran till June 2014. In 2013, she released two books, Freeze Frame based on the interviews with filmmakers and actors on the TV show, and 100 Films to See before You Die based on her weekly film columns. In 2014, she also did a Hindi show called 'Star Verdict' on Star Plus. Currently she hosts Film Companion on YouTube which replaced "The Front Row With Anupama Chopra" where she critiques Bollywood movies. She has written several books on cinema. Anupama’s latest book, The Front Row: Conversations on Cinema published by Harper Collins is a collection of her televised interviews with both Bollywood and Hollywood personalities. She is also actively involved in works related to film festivals happening in India.
In November 2014, Chopra replaced Shyam Benegal to become the chairperson of the Mumbai Film Festival organized by the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image (MAMI).
Chopra is married to Vidhu Vinod Chopra, a Bollywood producer and director. Her daughter Zuni Chopra (born 2001/2002) is author of three books, including a novel and two books in poetry. Her son Agni Dev Chopra is an aspiring cricketer.