R. Madhavan (born 1 June 1970) is an Indian actor, writer and film producer. He has received four Filmfare Awards and an award from the Tamil Nadu State Film Awards along with recognition and nominations from other organisations. He has been described as one of the few actors in India who is able to achieve pan-Indian appeal, having appeared in films from seven different languages.
Madhavan began his acting career with television guest appearances, including a role on the Zee TV prime-time soap opera Banegi Apni Baat in 1996. After appearing in commercials and in small roles, he later gained recognition in the Tamil film industry through Mani Ratnam's successful romance film Alaipayuthey (2000). Madhavan soon developed an image as a romantic hero with notable roles in two of 2001's highest grossing Tamil films, Gautham Menon's directorial debut Minnale and Madras Talkies' Dumm Dumm Dumm. He worked with Mani Ratnam again in the critically acclaimed 2002 film Kannathil Muthamittal playing the father of an adopted girl, whilst he achieved commercial success with his role in N. Linguswamy's action film, Run (2002). Madhavan was cast alongside Kamal Haasan in the 2003 drama Anbe Sivam, which earned him two notable awards for Best Supporting Actor. In 2004, he gave a critically acclaimed performance as the antagonist in the multi-starrer Aayutha Ezhuthu and the film secured him his first Filmfare Award for the intense portrayal of a rogue.
Madhavan was born on 1 June 1970 in Jamshedpur, Bihar (now in Jharkhand), India, to a Tamil Brahmin family. His father Ranganathan was a management executive in Tata Steel and his mother, Saroja was a manager in the Bank of India. His younger sister, Devika, is a software engineer. He had a Tamil-speaking upbringing in Bihar.
In 1988, Madhavan gained a scholarship to represent India as a cultural ambassador from Rajaram College, Kolhapur and spent a year in Stettler, Alberta, Canada as part of an exchange programme with Rotary International. He returned to Kolhapur and completed his education, graduating with a B. Sc in Electronics. During his college years, Madhavan became actively involved in extra-curricular military training and at 22, he was recognised as amongst the leading NCC cadets in Maharashtra, which allowed him to make a trip with seven others as NCC cadets to England. As a result of this opportunity, he received training with the British Army, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, which he had, at a point, considered joining. However he missed the age cut-off by six months and was subsequently unable to join the programme. After he lost out on the place, he began teaching courses on public speaking and personality development skills in Kolhapur and the satisfaction he gained through teaching, prompted him to pursue a post-graduation in public speaking at Kishinchand Chellaram College in Mumbai. During the period, he also won the Indian Championship for Public Speaking and subsequently represented India at the Young Businessmen Conference in Tokyo, Japan in 1992. During his stint in Mumbai, he opted to create a portfolio and submit it to a modelling agency.