R. Madhavan (born 1 June 1970) is an Indian actor, writer and film producer. He has received three 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.
In the mid-2000s, Madhavan also actively pursued a career in Hindi films, by appearing in supporting roles in three highly successful productions, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Rang De Basanti (2006), Mani Ratnam's biopic Guru (2007) and Rajkumar Hirani's 3 Idiots (2009), which went on to become the highest grossing Indian film of all time upon release. He simultaneously worked on Tamil films, gaining critical acclaim for his portrayal of a vigilante in his home production Evano Oruvan (2007) and for the successful bilingual horror film, Yavarum Nalam (2009). After appearing in further box office hits, Tanu Weds Manu (2011) and Vettai (2012), Madhavan took a break from acting. Returning after a three-year sabbatical in 2015, his comeback films, the romantic-comedy Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015), the bilingual sports drama Irudhi Suttru (2016) and the crime film Vikram Vedha (2017) all won critical and commercial acclaim. His performance as a boorish boxing coach in Irudhi Suttru fetched him Best Actor awards at the Filmfare, IIFA and SIIMA award ceremonies.
In addition to his acting career, Madhavan has worked as a writer on his films, hosted television programmes and has been a prominent celebrity endorser for brands and products. He has also worked as a film producer, first making Evano Oruvan with Leukos Films, before setting up Tricolour Films to produce Saala Khadoos (2016). Madhavan is noted for his philanthropic activities and promotes various causes such as environment, health and education. He is particularly vocal about the protection of animals and was awarded PETA's Person of the Year recognition in 2011
Madhavan was born on 1 June 1970 in Jamshedpur, Bihar (now in Jharkhand), India, to a Tamil 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.