Best remembered for his portrayal of Maddy from the 2001 romantic drama Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein
, Madhavan Balaji Ranganathan, is an Indian actor, producer, and television host. The big movie star, in fact, started his acting career with television and was seen in small roles, one of which was Zee TV`s soap opera Banegi Apni Baat in 1996. A few television appearances and ads later, his big break came with Mani Ratnam
in 2000, which won him immense praise and recognition as a romantic hero. Having been a part of successful films such as Minnale
, Kannathil Muthamittal
, Rang De Basanti
, 3 Idiots
, and Tanu Weds Manu Returns
, the actor has received various nominations and won several Filmfare Awards for his performances.
Madhavan also co-owns the production house Leuko Films with his wife Sarita Birje. Leuko Films has produced the 2007 drama thriller Evano Oruvan
, the 2016 bilingual drama Irudhi Suttru in Tamil and Saala Khadoos
Madhavan was born in Jamshedpur, India and his father Ranganathan is a former management executive at Tata Steel while his mother Saroja was an employee with the Bank of India. He studied at D.B.M.S. English School, Jamshedpur, before pursuing a degree in Electronics Engineering from Rajaram College is Kolhapur. While in college, he was chosen to be the cultural ambassador from his college to represent India in Canada, where he spent a year in Alberta as part of the student exchange program.
A mere 22-year-old Madhavan then was given the opportunity to travel to England given his exceptional performance as an NCC cadet. During his stay in England, he got the chance to train with the Royal Army, the Navy, and the Air Force of England. This made him consider joining the Air Force very strongly but he, unfortunately, did not meet the set requirements and couldn`t join the Air Force. He then enrolled in various public speaking courses and was chosen to represent India at the Young Businessman Conference in Tokyo, Japan in 1992. The courses in public speaking later helped Madhavan try his luck in the film industry.
Madhavan met Sarita Birje in 1991 during one of the public speaking workshops that he was conducting, where she was his student. After completing the course, the two started dating and were married in 1999. Sarita is often associated with his movies as a costume designer. The two became parents to their first child, Vedant, in 2005.
Although Madhavan is a big movie star, he had started his acting career on television with Zee TV`s drama series Yule Love Story, where he was seen portraying the role of a crook. After making his debut, he went on to feature in other shows like Zee TV`s Banegi Apni Baat and Ghar Jamai. The actor also essayed the role of a ship`s captain in Sea Hawks, and that of a convict in Yeh Kahan Aa Gaye Hum. Madhavan also hosted a series of television shows like Tol Mol Ke Bol and Deal Ya No Deal.
After having made his television debut, Madhavan was offered his first movie, an English-language film - Inferno, in 1997, where he played the role of an Indian police officer. His first Indian film was the 1998 Kannada comedy Shanti Shanti Shanti, which failed to impress the audience and was a box-office failure. However, despite two flops, the actor was offered Mani Ratnam
in 2000 wherein he was paired opposite Shalini
. The duo played the role of a young couple having problems with their marriage. The film was a box office success and generated good numbers at the box office. It was remade in Hindi titled Saathiya
, which featured Rani Mukerji
and Vivek Oberoi
and was equally successful. In 2001, Madhavan bagged the role of Maddy in Gautam Menon
`s romantic drama Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein, starring Saif Ali Khan
and Dia Mirza
in lead roles. Initially, the film failed to create an impact at the box office but gradually the film developed a cult following among the youth. The following year the actor appeared in Kannathil Muthamittal
alongside Keerthana, Simran, and Nandita Das
In 2003, the actor was seen in Priyamaana Thozhi, essaying the role of Sridevi Vijaykumar
. Although the film received mixed reviews and failed at the box office, Madhavan won praise for his performance in the movie. The following year the actor appeared in Mani Ratnam`s Aayutha Ezhuthu
, where he portrayed he role of a gangster, which won him critical acclaim and also a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor. Next, Madhavan was seen in Ramji Londonwaley
where he played the role of a cook, who moves to London to work in an India-based multi-millionaire family in order to pay off his debts. Although the movie was a commercial failure, Madhavan`s performance was well-received. The same year, he was offered a part in Rakesh Omprakash Mehra`s Rang De Basanti
, co-starring Aamir Khan
, Sharman Joshi
, Kunal Kapoor
, and Soha Ali Khan
In 2007, Madhavan appeared in Mani Ratnam`s Guru
co-starring Aishwarya Rai
and Abhishek Bachchan
. The actor portrayed the role of a journalist in the film and received critical acclaim for his performance as well. In 2009, the actor bagged the role of Farhan in Rajkumar Hirani
`s 3 Idiots
, which also starred Aamir Khan
, Sharman Joshi
, and Kareena Kapoor Khan
. The movie was, both, critically and commercially successful and went on to become one of the highest-grossing Bollywood movies of all time. For his portrayal of an ardent photographer forced to study engineering under peer pressure, Madhavan received IIFA and Filmfare Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor. In his opinion, 3 Idiots changed the way he was perceived as an actor in Bollywood. He was offered to reprise his role in the movie`s Tamil remake but he turned the offer down. The following year the actor was seen in Teen Patti
and Jhoota Hi Sahi
, both of which were average grossing movies at the box office.
In 2011, he appeared in Anand L. Rai
`s Tanu Weds Manu
co-starring Kangana Ranaut
, where he was seen playing the role of Dr. Manu Sharma, an NRI living in London. The film was a success at the box office and generated revenue worth INR 560 million. The following year, Madhavan bagged Ashwini Chaudhary
`s Jodi Breakers
co-starring Bipasha Basu
. The film failed to create an impact on the minds of the audience and was a box office failure. Reprising his role as Manu, he was seen in the Tanu Weds Manu`s sequel Tanu Weds Manu Returns
. The movie did exceptionally well upon its release and was one of 2015`s highest-grossing movies. Next, he played the role of a boxing coach in the bilingual sports drama titled Irudhi Suttru
in Tamil and Saala Khadoos
in Hindi. The movie starring professional boxer-turned-actress Ritika Singh
went on to receive critical acclaim and was also a commercial success. After ending 2016 on a successful note, Madhavan went on to sign projects like the Tamil neo-noir action crime thriller film Vikram Vedha
, the Bollywood drama Chanda Mama Door Ke
(2018) and Karu Palaniappan`s socio-drama Gramophone
. His 2020 release includes Nishabdham
. His other notable works include Maara (2021), Rocketry: The Nambi Effect
(2022), Dhokha Round D Corner (2022) and Amriki Pandit (2023).
As a Producer
Madhavan co-owns a Production house called Leukos Films with his wife Sarita Bijle. The actor produced his first Tamil film Evano Oruvan
, in 2007. The production house has also produced the Tamil language film Irudhi Suttru
, starring Ritika Singh
, which was simultaneously made in Hindi titled Saala Khadoos.