She was one of the dignitaries been honored by Andhra Pradesh government at the time of state formation in 1956. She was born as third child to Saraswatamma and Bommaraju Venkata Subbaiah, in Doddavaram village of Prakasam district, near Ongole, Andhra Pradesh. She grew up watching her father perform in various stage shows. Her father, Venkata subbiah, was a staunch lover of classical music and trained her in music from an early age. During the shooting of the film Krishna Prema, she met P. S. Ramakrishna Rao, an assistant director for that film. He was a film producer, director and editor of Telugu and Tamil Films. The couple later married on 8 August 1943 and later launched a popular production company, Bharani Pictures on their son's name. She died at the age of 80 years in Chennai.
She had good knowledge of Astrology and philosophy also. Bhanumathi entered the film industry in 1935, and acted in over 200 films. Apart from being an exceptional actress, she was also a very talented musician. She is always ranked top among the best actresses of Telugu. She was a Member of Lalit Kala Academy for 5 years, and Telugu Sahitya Academy for 10 years. She has also served as Director and Principal of the Tamil Nadu Government Music College. Her autobiography Nalo Nenu was published in Telugu and she has also published many short stories. She, along with her husband P. S. Ramakrishna Rao, a film maker of Telugu and Tamil languages, launched a popular production company, Bharani Pictures. Bhanumathi entered the film industry in 1935. Her first song “Anuraagam Leka Anandamunda Nilu Niluma Neelavarnaa”.