Tanuja was born as Tanuja Samarth to 1930s-1940s the actress Shobhna Samarth and poet and film director Kumarsen Samarth in Bombay. Tanuja was first seen as a child actress in 1950 with her elder sister Nutan Behl in ‘Hamari Beti’. She debuted as an adult actress in her mother’s film titled ‘Chhabili’ in the year 1960. She continued to act in films through the 1960s and 1970s till she married her director Shomu Mukherjee in 1973. She then returned to cinema when her marriage with Shomu ended; this time in supporting roles. Mid 1960s saw her acting in Bengali movies along with a number of Hindi films. She also won the 1967 and 1969 Filmfare nomination as Best Supporting Actress for ‘Jewel Thief’ and ‘Paisa Ya Pyar’ respectively. She is also mother of two successful Indian actresses Kajol and Tanisha.