Kangana was born in the Hindi-speaking Ranaut family on 20 March 1987 in Bhambla, near Manali, which is in the Mandi district in the State of Himachal Pradesh, India. Her dad's name is Amardeep, who is a businessman and contractor, her mom, Asha, is a school-teacher. She has two sisters, eldest one is Rangoli, and she has a brother, Akshit, who is about a year younger than her. Her grandfather was an IAS Officer. Kangana spent her childhood in Dehra Dun and studied in DAV's High School where she participated in many debates, Elocutions, and was a basket-ball player.
After completing her schooling, she attended Science College in Simla. She was enrolled in the Elite School of Modeling, and also tried some theater acting in Delhi and was a member of the Smita Theater Group under Arvind Gaur. She is also a trained Kathak dancer, and is learning to sing from Amitabh Chakraborty.
She decided to re-locate to Bombay, and lived in a flat in Yari Road, Versova. Her attempts at acting in Bollywood movies were unsuccessful. Then during September 2005, she was spotted drinking coffee in a café by Film-maker Anurag Basu, who approached her, and eventually signed her up for a lead role in 'Gangster' which was released during the year 2006. Since then Kangana has appeared in a total of five movies, including 'Dhaam Dhoom' in Tamil.
After her success in movies, she has now relocated to a three bedroom house in Turner Road, Bandra (West), Mumbai.