Born in Mangalore, Anushka started her career as a Yoga instructor. It was while teaching Yoga, she got an offer to act in films. She thus made her acting debut through the 2005 Telugu film Super. She went on to star in a number of Telugu films such as Vikramarkudu (2006), Arundhati (2009) and Vedam (2010). After starring in a series of high-budget productions, she established herself as one of the leading actresses in Telugu cinema. She received critical acclaim for her portrayal of the titular character in Arundhati (2009), and as Saroja in Vedam (2010), which fetched her two Filmfare, one Nandi and two CineMAA Awards. In the 2010s, Anushka also achieved success in Tamil cinema with the action films Singam (2010), and its sequel Singam II (2013). Both were big commercial successes, while her performances in Vaanam (2011) and Deiva Thirumagal (2011) won her critical praise. She is known for portraying strong female protagonists and has been acknowledged in the media for pioneering a change in the concept of a South Indian film heroine.