In Mumbai, she started doing ad-films and was successful after her most famous ad for Band-Aid. The ad was produced by Jalal Agha. Noticing her talent he cast her in the lead role in his serial, Mr and Mrs. Her next big break came with Pankaj Parasher's Karamchand.
She made her film debut with Nari Hira's TV movie Abhishek opposite Aditya Pancholi in 1987. Later that year, she starred in Jalwa opposite Naseeruddin Shah, which turned out to be her biggest hit. Later, she did small roles in big banner films like Agneepath (1990), Saudagar (1991), Shola aur Shabnam (1992), Aashiq Awara (1993), and Raja Hindustani (1996); she did item songs in films like the Govinda-starrer thriller Baaz and Suniel Shetty starrer Judge Mujrim.
Thereafter, she has largely restricted herself to supporting roles in Hindi films, often in comedies. Some of her recent films are Love Story 2050, Mohabbatein, Krrish, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Masti and Bol Bachchan. Amongst these, she is possibly best remembered for playing the role of the flirtatious college professor Miss Braganza in the blockbuster Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Preeto from the blockbuster movie Mohabbatein . In 2009, she starred in the Punjabi film Tera Mera Ki Rishta.
She became a television anchor, with her popular TV show Wah, Kya Scene Hai on Zee TV in 1993, which was followed by the highly successful, Uncensored, in which she introduced High Society (HS) and Low Society (LS) concept, and sitcoms like, Jaane Bhi Do Paro, Shrimaan Shrimati and Archana Talkies on Sony TV India.
Later in her career, she received offers from television producers and most of her serials were successful like Junoon and Shriman Shrimati. She started hosting chat shows featuring celebrity guests.
In 2005, she was a contestant in the dance reality show, Nach Baliye (Season 1), in which she participated with her husband, Parmeet Sethi; they were eliminated in the sixth episode.
In 2006, she and her husband hosted another dance reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa (season 1).
In 2015, she was cast as the lead in The Great Indian Family Drama in SAB TV
Thereafter, she appeared as a judge on comedy shows, including Sony TV India's Comedy Circus. She appeared as a judge in Comedy Circus (season 1) (2006) and Comedy Circus (season 2) (2008). In January 2008, she hosted Kaho Na Yaar Hai on Star Plus, along with her husband, Parmeet Sethi. With the end of Comedy Circus (season 2) in September 2008, it was followed by another show, Comedy Circus – Kaante Ki Takkar. After Comedy Circus – Kaante Ki Takkar, she was the judge of Comedy Circus – Teen Ka Tadka, Comedy Circus Ke Superstar, Comedy Circus Ka Jadoo, Jubilee Comedy Circus and Comedy Circus Ke Taansen. Comedy Ka Naya Daur-Tabla toad, Kahaani Comedy Circus Ki and the current "Comedy Circus Ke Ajoobe" and Comedy Circus Ke Mahabali. She currently appears in SAB TV's The Great Indian Family Drama as Begum Paro.
She was born in a Punjabi family in Dehradun, where she did her schooling.
She is married to television actor Parmeet Sethi. They have two sons.1999: Star Screen Award for Best Comedian: Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
1999: Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Comic Role: Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (Nomination)
1997: Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress: Raja Hindustani (Nomination)
2001: Indian Television Academy Awards :Best Actress - Comedy