Madhavan was born on 1st June 1970 in Jamshedpur, India to Ranganathan and Saroja. His father was a senior manager at the Bank of India. He has a sister Devika who is a software engineer settled in the United Kingdom.
He has a degree in electronics. While in college, in 1988, he represented India as a cultural ambassador in Canada. He also won the Maharashtra Best Cadet Award and traveled to England with three other NCC cadets. While there he was trained with the Royal Army, Navy and the Air Force. He didn’t meet the age criteria required to join them.
He shone bright in other areas too like public speaking. He represented India in 1992 at the Young Businessman Conference in Tokyo, Japan after winning the Indian Championship for Public Speaking. He traveled around India teaching communication and public speaking.
He met Sarita, an air hostess, whom he married in 1999. They had a son Vedant in 2005.
Madhavan’s popularity has seen him being replicated in mobile games like Madhavan’s MIG and Madhavan.
In 1997, Madhavan got a chance to be part of a sandalwood talc ad shot by Santosh Sivan. He was recommended by Sivan to Mani Rathnam who was casting for Iruvar but wasn’t selected. He started working in television serials like Saya, Tol Mol Ke Bol, Banegi Apni Baat, Ghar Jamai and Sea Hawk. He hosted the show Deal Ya No Deal on Sony Entertainment in October 2005.