Rani Chandra was born in Fort Kochi, Travancore-Cochin to parents Chandran and Kanthimathi. She was born into a family with four sisters and one brother and completed her education from St Theresa’s College Ernakulam. She had extensive knowledge of dance forms like Bharata Natyam, Kuchupudy, and Mohiniyattam. Rani, along with her sisters, used to perform in dance shows on stage. She won the title of Miss Kerala in the year 1972. Before winning this title, Rani had appeared in 'Anchu Sundarikal' which was a very well received Malayalam movie.
After winning the title, she chose to dance as her primary career and continued appearing in Malayalam pictures.
Some of the major films that Rani has been a part of in her career are Ulsavam(1975), Sindooram (1976), Nellu (1974), Swapnadanam (1976), Abhinandanam (1976), andUllaasayaathra (1975). For her role in Swapnadanam, she won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress in the year 1975. The Kerala Government chose this film as the best film of the year. The song "Kannan Oru Kaikuzhanthai" from the 1976 Tamil movieBhadrakali, had her playing an integral part in it. In the year 1976, Rani Chandra, her sisters, and her mother were performing on stage in the Gulf Countries. On the way back to Chennai, their flight crashed after taking off from Mumbai. The flight lost control and nosedived to the ground, killing everyone who was on the flight.
The movie 'Bhadrakali’, which starred Rani Chandra, had a few scenes that were left to shoot. The director, A.C.Trilok Chander, completed the left out parts by using a double. At the end of the movie, the previously shot footage was used. The film turned out to be a huge hit across Tamil Nadu. The song 'Kannan oru Kaikuzhandhai' from this movie is still very well known.