Born into the Bhatt family, she is the daughter of filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and actress Soni Razdan. After making her acting debut as a child in the 1999 thriller Sangharsh, Bhatt played her first leading role in Karan Johar's teen drama Student of the Year (2012). She went on to collaborate with Johar's studio Dharma Productions in a majority of her subsequent releases, including the romances 2 States (2014), Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (2014), and Badrinath Ki Dulhania (2017); the drama Kapoor & Sons (2016); and the coming-of-age film Dear Zindagi (2016). The commercial success of these films established Bhatt in Hindi cinema. She also received critical acclaim for portraying emotionally intense characters in the road drama Highway (2014), which won her the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress, and the crime drama Udta Punjab (2016), which won her the Filmfare Award for Best Actress. In 2018, she played a spy in the thriller Raazi, which proved to be one of the highest-grossing Hindi films featuring a female protagonist.