Saravanan was born in Salem district of Tamil Nadu in India. He is an actor in Indian films who acted more in Tamil films. He has five siblings. He is the second among them. His mother's job was staff nursing. His father worked as an IG (Inspector-general of police). He completed his bachelors' degree in Arts from the Government Arts College at Salem in the Tamil Literature. He then moved to the capital city of Tamil Nadu, Chennai to complete his acting course at Adyar Film Institute, which is officially known as M.G.R. Government Film and Television Training Institute. It is an institute which was established in the year 1945 and is known to be run by the state government of Tamil Nadu. He is not only an actor but also a director. He was the director of the film "Thaayumaanavan". He acted many lead roles in a series of films during the 1990s. His acting career took a break in the later end of the 1990 decade.

He started his second innings in 2007 with an Indian Tamil romantic-drama film named " Paruthiveeran" which was under the direction of Ameer Sultan. He was the paternal uncle of the play role of Karthi, a well known Indian film actor in the Tamil film industry. His role won critical applause. He was awarded the "Filmfare Award for being the best supporting actor in Tamil. He also got a Vijay Award for being the best supporting actor for his extraordinary performance in this film. The success triggered much more offers subsequently for him. HE got an opportunity to be a part of "Veeramum Eeramum", a biopic of Sanjay Ram, which is based on the real-life story of Venkatesa Pannaiyar. In the year 1991, he played in the film "Vaidhehi Vanthachu" following with a Tamil language drama film "Pondatti Rajyam" in the next year along with " Abhirami."

In the year 1993, he acted in many films like Muthupandi, Parvathi Ennai Paradi, Akkarai Cheemayile, Nallathey Nadakkum, Pettredutha Pillai, Suriyan Chandiran, and Maamiyar Veedu. The next year, he played three movies namely Thaai Manasu, Sevatha Ponnu and Veettai Paru Naattai. In the year 1996, Vishwanath and Thirumbi Paar were the two films in which he acted. In the year 1997, he acted in only one film named Thambi Durai he was the lead actor. In 1998, He starred a Tamil comedy film named Santhosham opposite Suvalakshmi and Ponmaanai Thedi, a Tamil comedy-drama film directed by Paari along with Suvarna Mathew. In 2001, he filmed Nandha and then directed the movie " Thayumanavan" in the year 2003. In the year 2009, he played in "Azhagar Malai", being known for his special appearance following with Pinchumanasu in the same year. He had only one film to act in 2010 namely Vilai. He played Tambi Vettothi Sundaram in 2011 and Orange film in 2012 in Malayalam. He acted in Alex Pandian as Parthiban and also in Keeripulla in the year 2013 in Tamil and 2014, he acted as Ayyanar in Aranmanai. In 2016, he acted films namely Sowkarpettai, Meenakshi Kadhalan Ilangovan and Pottu in Tamil.

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