Jayaram was born as youngest among three children to Subramaniyam Iyyer and Thankam at Perumbavoor, Kerala on 10 December 1965. His mother tongue is Tamil. His father is from Kerala settled Tamil Iyyer family and mother is from Thanjavur. He has an elder brother, late Venkit Ram and an elder sister, Manjula. He had his primary education from Government Boys High School, Perumbavoor. He pursued bachelors in Economics from Sree Sankara College, Kalady. He became a medical representative soon after college. Later he joined Kalabhavan and performed mimicry in many stages which paved him a way to film industry. Renowned Malayalam writer Malayattoor Ramakrishnan was Jayaram's maternal uncle. He is married to actress Parvathy, on 7 September 1992, who is no longer active in films. Their son Kalidas Jayaram is a child film artist who won the National Film Award for Best Child Artist in 2003 for his second movie, Ente Veedu Appuvinteyum. He also has a daughter, Malavika. Currently he resides at Valasaravakkam, Tamil Nadu with family.
He is also a chenda percussionist and mimic artist. Jayaram made his debut in Padmarajan's Aparan (1988). After college, he joined Kalabhavan, a professional mimicry troupe in Kochi. At the age of 22, he was introduced into the cinema field by script writer and filmmaker Padmarajan who gave Jayaram his launching pad with the 1988 film Aparan. He became one of the Superstars of Malayalam film industry through the film Meleparambil Aanveedu(1993) which was directed by Rajasenan.It was the biggest hit of that time, which broke several records. He had a couple of hits in 2009 with Sathyan Anthikkad's Bhagyadevatha and Happy Husbands. In 2010 he again joined with Sathyan Anthikkadu for Kadha Thudarunnu,which was a runaway hit. In 2011 he had 1 hit, namely Makeup Man and two superhits namely seniors and Chinatown a comic role in both these films. While Ulakam Chuttum Valiban got poor reviews and ended up as a flop. In 2012, his movies Njanum Ente Familiyum, Pakarnnattam, Thiruvambady Thamban, Madirasi, all failed at the box office.
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