Anirudh is the son of actor Ravi Raghavendra and classical dancer Lakshmi Ravichander. His maternal grandfather S. V. Ramanan is a multifaceted personality who has excelled in making documentaries, commercials and music. Anirudh's great grandfather was director Krishnaswami Subrahmanyam, a pioneering filmmaker of the 1930s. Anirudh was a part of a band in school called Zinx. At the age of 10, he started composing music and landed his first break – '3' at the age of 19.
He did his schooling at Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan, K.K. Nagar. He graduated from Loyola College, Chennai in 2011, which according to him was just a backup in case his music career did not take off. Anirudh learnt piano from Trinity College of Music, London and did his sound engineering diploma from soundtech-media (chennai). He also learnt Carnatic music, and was part of a Carnatic fusion band. He always loved music and composing music is his passion. His dream was to make music his career and become a musician. In his school days, Anirudh had entered a TV show that was judged by A R Rahman,and his band won the competition. Anirudh was awarded the Best Instrumentalist from his idol.