Rao made her acting debut with Ab Ke Baras (2002). She then starred in Ken Ghosh's romantic film Ishq Vishk (2003) which earned her a Filmfare nomination in the "Best Female Debut" category.Amrita was born in Mumbai to a Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin family. She speaks Hindi, English, Marathi, besides her mother tongue, Konkani. She attended Canossa Convent Girls School (Mahim) in Mumbai, and later enrolled in Sophia College to pursue a degree in psychology. Her sister, Preetika Rao, is a model, columnist and a South Indian film actress.
While studying in Sophia College, Amrita auditioned for an advertisement for Fairever Face Cream. She filmed many commercials and did numerous photo shoots. Her appearance in Cadbury’s Perk Karwa Chaut ad and the Bru Coffee advertisement helped her receive offers from film directors in Bollywood. She also appeared in numerous music videos by artists such as Alisha Chinoy.
Even after becoming a well-known actress in Bollywood, she continues do model and wal ramps for designers, as a celebrity guest.Amrita made her acting debut in Ab Ke Baras (2002) alongside Arya Babbar. She went on to star with Shahid Kapoor in Ishq Vishk (2003) and became an overnight star after the success that film for her portrayal of Payal. She followed this up in 2004 with Masti, Main Hoon Na with Shahrukh Khan and Zayed Khan, and Deewaar. The year 2005 saw her performing as Priya in Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi! and Madhvi in Shikhar. In 2006, she starred in Pyare Mohan alongside Vivek Oberoi, and Sooraj R. Barjatya's blockbuster Vivah opposite Shahid Kapoor.
Her first part in 2007 was a special appearance for the song "Heyy Babyy" in the eponymous film, Heyy Babyy. She then made her debut in the Telugu film industry with Athidhi opposite Mahesh Babu. Amrita's movies in 2008 include My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves with Nikhil Dwivedi and Welcome to Sajjanpur with Shreyas Talpade. The following year, she portrayed Nandini in Victory and Mansi in Shortkut opposite Arshad Warsi.
Her only release in 2011 was Love U...Mr. Kalakaar!, in which she played Ritu, the main role, alongside Tusshar Kapoor.She acted in Hook Yaa Crook, which is awaiting release. Amrita Rao is currently working in two films which will be released in 2013.