Shiney Ahuja was born in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, to Col. Suraj Prakash Ahuja, an officer of the Indian Army, and his wife Seema Ahuja. He has an elder sister who is settled in Texas.
Ahuja studied at numerous army schools across the country, wherever his father was posted, including several years at St. Xavier's School, Ranchi and Army Public School (APS), Dhaula Kuan, New Delhi. A quintessential sportsman, Ahuja was adjudged the ‘Best Sports Boy’ in school and eventually was elected the Sports Captain (Pratap House) at APS. He excelled in football, volleyball and cricket. In particular, he was very fond of cricket and took coaching classes from Mr. Gursharan Singh at the National Stadium, New Delhi.
During this time he discovered an equally strong passion in Theatre as in Sports. It was this passion that would win him admission to Hansraj College, Delhi University, through the dramatics quota. After a series of auditions, Shiney was among the three who got selected from over 300 aspirants. While in college, Shiney began to pursue acting seriously. He attended several acting workshops held at the National School of Drama, New Delhi. Later, he joined the theatre group 'Tag' where he met Barry John. Shortly thereafter, he joined Barry John’s Acting School in Delhi.
After completing college, Shiney secured his first commercial ad for Pepsi. This instantly brought him into consideration by the top ad agencies. Flooded with offers, Ahuja worked in over 40 ad films in that year, including Cadburys and Citibank. He also featured in the music video ‘Pyar ho Gaya’ for the British-Asian band "Stereo Nation."
In the same year, Sudhir Mishra was auditioning for a film by Pritish Nandy Communications, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi. Sudhir saw Shiney in the Pepsi commercial and called him to audition for Kay Kay’s character – Sidharth Tyabji. Upon Shiney’s request, Mishra also auditioned him for the role of Vikram Malhotra. Shiney was selected from over 200 aspirants for the role of Vikram Malhotra and made his acting debut in the Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi.
The film went on to win critical acclaim, and was screened at as many as 12 film festivals over 6 months. These included film festivals at Turkey, Estonia, River to River (Florence), Berlin, Edinburgh, Washington, Dallas, India (Goa), Bite The Mango festival (Bradford, UK), the Commonwealth festival (Manchester), and the Pacific Rim festival (California). The film was released commercially in 2005 with minimal publicity but a national footprint across India. Ahuja swept away several best actor (debut) awards given for the year.
Thereafter, he played the lead role in Mahesh Bhatt's Gangster, a popular commercial movie genre and Woh Lamhe opposite Kangana Ranaut. Other films followed including Life in a Metro, Bhool Bhulaiyaa . Two of his films, Ek Accident with co-star Soha Ali Khan and Har Pal with Preity Zinta are yet to be released.
In June 2009, Ahuja was accused of rape, by his maid. Some news outlets reported that he had admitted to having consensual sex with the maid but he has denied it. In court, the maid retracted the charge she had laid against him and stated that the act of sex had been consensual. However, the trial court judge refused to accept the retraction and convicted Ahuja based on circumstantial evidence. In 2011, Ahuja was sentenced to seven years rigorous imprisonment. Ahuja filed an appeal against his conviction in the Bombay High Court. The court stayed his sentence until his case could be decided in the High Court. Several hearings have been held and the case is pending. Meanwhile, the maid has been prosecuted for perjury.
In 2015, Shiney was cast in Anees Bazmee's Welcome Back co-starring John Abraham, Shruti Hassan, Anil Kapoor, Nana Patekar, Nasseruddin Shah, Dimple Kapadia and Paresh Rawal.