Born in 1952 Irani made her debut in the movie Gunga Jumna (1961) at nine years old playing Vyjayantimala's character as a child. After doing several small roles in films like Jahanara (1964), Farz (1967), Upkar (1967) and Aaya Sawan Jhoomke (1969), and pairing with comedian Mehmood in films like Aulad (1968), Humjoli (1970), and Naya Zamana (1971), she finally shot to fame with her brilliant performance as an aggressive gypsy woman in the super hit Caravan (1971). By that time, however, she was emotionally involved with Mehmood and did not focus fully on her career. Their relationship also ruined the chances of her getting the heroine's roles. Yet, Mehmood gave her lead roles opposite the likes of Amitabh Bachchan and Vinod Mehra in the films that he made: Bombay To Goa (1972), Garam Masala (1972), and Do Phool (1973).
The success as a heroine still eluded her, and ironically, the newer actors and actresses that she supported became stars while acting with her: Jeetendra in Farz(1967), Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia in Bobby (1973), Jayaprada in Sargam (1979), Kumar Gaurav in Love Story (1981), Sanjay Dutt in Rocky (1981). She ended up doing vampish and supporting roles, mainly because her memorable performance in Caravan had already typecast her in such roles. To her credit, however, Aruna Irani seriously took each role and delivered nice performances, thus endearing herself to filmmakers and creating a niche for herself.