In 2015, she was voted Bangalore's Most "Desirable Woman" and also as one of the "hottest" women in India.
Kriti Kharbanda was born in New Delhi to Ashwani Kharbanda and Rajni Kharbanda. She has a younger sister Ishita Kharbanda and a younger brother Jaiwardhan Kharbanda, who is a co-founder of Paper Plane Productions. She moved to Bengaluru in the early 1990s with her family. After completing her high school in Baldwin Girls High School, she attended Bishop Cotton Women's Christian College before graduating from Sri Bhagawan Mahaveer Jain College. She holds a diploma in jewel designing.
According to herself, she was very active in cultural activities during school and college. As a child, she was also featured in a number of advertisements and she continued modelling while in school/college, stating that she "always loved doing TV commercials". Her prominent modelling campaigns during her college days were for Bhima Jewellers, Spar, and Fair and Lovely. Her photo on the Spar billboard caught the attention of NRI director Raj Pippala who was looking for a heroine for his film, and that paved the way for her acting career. She said that she had initially no plans of becoming an actress and that it was only because of her mother's encouragement that she considered it seriously.
After being seen on the Spar billboard, Kriti was selected as the female lead for the Telugu film Boni opposite Sumanth. Boni received negative reviews but fetched Kriti a positive response. While Sify wrote, "Kriti was a good choice and she had no tense moments despite her debut. Her looks are gorgeous and she has a lot of future if she plays her cards correctly", Rediff wrote, "Kriti Kharbanda looks fresh and pretty and manages to play the part of Pragati in a fairly convincing way. She may have to work on her expressions a bit in future, though". Although the film was unsuccessful at the box office, she landed a prominent role in the Pawan Kalyan film Teen Maar. Her next release, however, was her debut Kannada film, Chiru.
Her performance was mostly well received, with The Times of India writing that she "excels in her performance" and Indiaglitz.com stating that she "is very pretty and her expressions are good". IANS wrote that she "looks ravishing in song sequences" and "is good at dancing". The film was a hit at the box office in 2010, and Kriti stated that it got her recognition and "a fair amount of admiration in the industry", resulting in her being offered numerous projects in Kannada. However, she took a long time to sign her second Kannada film, until October 2011, when she signed up for four films in a single month.
In 2011, she was also seen in a guest role in the successful Telugu romantic comedy Ala Modalaindi, before Teen Maar released. She appeared in "retro scenes" in Teen Maar in which she had to "replicate heroines from the 70s" and revealed that she also chose the costumes and jewellery she wore in the film. The film turned out to be an average grosser. The following year, she acted in Mr. Nookayya alongside Manoj Manchu in Telugu, and in Prem Adda, a remake of the Tamil film Subramaniapuram, in Kannada. The latter film featured her in a "completely de-glam" role, with the actress stating that her fair complexion posed a problem to her as she played a small town girl from the 80s. She called Girija the most challenging character she had played till then since it required her to wear no makeup, get a tan and walk barefoot to attain "a raw look" needed for the role. For the film, she also designed her costumes along with her mother. She had four releases in 2013, two each in Telugu and Kannada. Both her Telugu films, Bhaskar's Ongole Githa, that saw her playing a "typical town girl", and Kalyan Ram's Om 3D, the first 3D action film in Telugu cinema, were box office failures.
Her career in Kannada however saw an upswing with the romantic comedy Googly. Her portrayal of a medical student was lauded by critics. Sify, in particular, praised Kriti, calling her "The heart and soul of the movie...who emerges triumphant on the big screen with some fine acting". The film went on to collect over ₹15 crores at the box office, emerging as one of the highest-grossing Kannada films in 2013. Kriti's rise in popularity resulted in her being voted Bengaluru Times Most Desirable Woman of 2013.
Following Googlys success, she became an even more sought-after actress in Kannada cinema. She stated that she received a lot of offers after Googly including two Bollywood projects that she had to refuse since she was too busy shooting for her previously signed films. Her 2014 Kannada releases, Super Ranga starring Upendra, Belli, in which she was paired with Shiva Rajkumar, and Thirupati Express, a remake of the Telugu film Venkatadri Express, all fetched a generally positive response. Her performance in Super Ranga won her the Critics' Best Actress Award at the 4th South Indian International Movie Awards as well as her first Filmfare Award nomination for Best Actress. Kriti's most recent Kannada film Minchagi Nee Baralu released in December 2015 to positive reviews. She received special praise, with the Times of India saying that she's the "biggest plus point of the film".
Her upcoming Kannada releases are Sanju Weds Geetha-2, which will see her playing a blind character, Dalapathy starring Nenapirali Prem, and Paapu where she plays the central role. She's also signed up to play the female lead in Maasti Gudi opposite Duniya Vijay. This film will be directed by Nagashekar.
Kriti recently was seen in a pivotal role in the Telugu film Bruce Lee - The Fighter directed by Srinu Vaitla, and starring Ram Charan. Her upcoming Tamil debut venture is opposite composer-turned-actor G. V. Prakash Kumar and is coincidentally also titled Bruce Lee.
Kriti is currently making her debut in Hindi cinema as well. She is playing the female lead in Raaz Reboot directed by Vikram Bhatt and co starring Emraan Hashmi. The majority of this film was shot in Romania. This movie received negative critical reviews. She made her tamil debut through Bruce lee film.
In 2017, she is working on her second Hindi movie, Guest Iin London.