Malik is the son of composer Sardar Malik and had his film debut in 1981 with Poonam. But his breakthrough came in 1993 with winning a Filmfare Award for Baazigar. Malik was despite his success in the 1990s, little recognition, he - like most Indian film composer - was accused of plagiarism, he is said to have melodies used by both western music as well as Indian composer. Since 2001, he was honored for Refugee with a National Film Award, he is now regarded as one of the most versatile composers. Chamma Chamma song being from China Gate was used in the English movie Moulin Rouge and Chunari Chunari from Biwi No.1 was the soundtrack in Monsoon Wedding. With his work for love rather Indian, he is among the few of his colleagues who were also engaged in international productions.
Anu Malik won the National Film Award / Best Music for the film Refugee (2001) and is two-time winner of the Filmfare Award / Best Music for Baazigar (1993 ) and Main Hoon Na ( 2004). For Main Hoon Na he also received a Screen Weekly Award.