Born in Kanpur in a Sikh family and growing up in Saharanpur, Kanwaljit was an ambitious young boy raring to move out of Kanpur and explore the world. After his graduation he explored options such as NDA and the Air Force. Coming across an advertisement for the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune, he asked a friend to click some pictures of him and applied for admission. He was selected and thus his journey in showbiz began.
It was during his time in FTII that the tall young man landed his first role in the movies. He made his debut in Dastan-e-Laila Majnu (1974). Films such as Shaque (1976) and Shankar Husain (1977) followed, but none of these films were very successful. While he did get roles post the debacle of his early films, such as the ones in Satte Pe Satta (1982) and Ashanti (1982), his career as a hero never took off.
It was his role as Satbir in Ramesh Sippy’s grand television serial, Buniyaad (1986) that got Kanwaljit instant nation-wide recognition. He was flooded with opportunities, particularly for roles in television serials. However, the talented actor was extremely selective. He did a few but memorable roles in serials over the years, like his role as the main protagonist in Lekh Tandon’s classic, Farmaan (1994), or that of Neena Gupta’s errant husband in Saans (1999). He also made a mark in television serials like Family No. 1, Dard Siski, Captain House, Andaz ,Bhabhi Maa, Aisa Des Hai Mera, Naam Gum Jayega, Bajega Band Baaja , Sabki Laadli Bebo, and Daraar to just name a few.
While he did not have a very busy career in Hindi movies, Kanwaljit achieved a great deal of success in Punjabi-language films like Jee Aayan Nu (2002), Dil Apna Punjabi(2006), Mannat (2006), Mitti Wajaan Maardi (2007), Mera Pind (2008) and Ik Kudi Punjab Di (2010).