Ponvannan married actress Saranya, daughter of Malayalam film maker A. B. Raj, in 1995. Saranya made her breakthrough as an actress with Mani Ratnam's Nayakan (1987) and has since become one of the most prominent supporting actresses in South Indian films. The couple have two daughters. He subsequently made his directorial debut with Annai Vayal (1992). He has since appeared as a supporting actor in films, winning acclaim for his role in films including Paruthiveeran (2007), Ayan (2009) and Kaaviya Thalaivan (2014). In October 2015, he was elected as the Vice President of the Nadigar Sangam alongside Karunas. He is an actor and director.
He made a comeback as an actor through Ameer's Paruthiveeran (2007), portraying the father of Priyamani's character, and the success of the film garnered further acting opportunities for him. He won acclaim for his performances as the upright police officer in Mysskin's Anjathe (2009) and as the shrewd customs official in Ayan (2009). Ponvannan played a stage actor in Vasanthabalan's period film Kaaviya Thalaivan (2014), winning acclaim for his performance in an ensemble cast