Vanisri at the age of 12 years, she participated in a dance function at her school. In the audience was a Kannada film director, who thought she resembled actress Savithri Ganesh, the top female star in South India. He offered Ratna the lead role in his Kannada film. The film became a hit, and she was offered more Kannada and Tamil films. She acted in her first Telugu film "Bheeshma" in 1962. S.V. Ranga Rao changed her name from Ratna Kumari to Vanisri, an inverse name of his company "Sri Vani Films." She landed her first heroine role in "Marapurani Katha" (1967). She continued with Tamil and Kannada films and had a hit with the Tamil film Paal Polave Vaan Meedhile. She became the topmost heroine in the 1970's with more hits like "Dasara bolludu," and Prem Nagar." She was working 16 hours a day and working in 14 films a year without any time off. When she was at the top, she got married to her family doctor and have a son and a daughter. Vanisri returned to film in the late 1980s acting in mother roles, such as her character in Athaku Yamudu Ammayiki Mogudu in 1989. She is also involved in politics.