Jaishankar was called Subramaniam Shankar at birth, on 12 July 1938. His father was a magistrate, and Jaishankar was educated at PS High School and The New College, Chennai, where he was awarded an honours degree. He died of heart attack on 3 June 2000, at the age of 61 in Chennai. He is survived by his wife and sons. Each year his son, Dr.Vijay Shankar, conducts 15 free eye surgeries on his father’s birthday. His first film was Iravum Pagalum, which had also been the title of his debut film.