Manoj K. Jayan was born on 26 July 1966. He has mainly acted in Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu films.
Manoj K. Jayan was born in Kottayam District, Kerala in an Ezhava family to the Carnatic musician Jayan and V. K. Sarojini, a teacher. Biju K. Jayan is his only brother.
Despite being the son of a renowned Carnatic musician, as a child Manoj was not keen to learn Carnatic music. From his childhood days onward he had a passion for movies. As an introvert, he didn't participate in competitions during his school/college days. Manoj used to imitate movie actors for his friends and their appreciation encouraged him to try his luck in acting.
While he was studying in Nattakam (near Kottayam) Government College, Manoj enjoyed watching movies more than attending classes. One day he revealed his interest in acting to his parents and they sent him to Southern Film Institute, Trivandrum. Hostel life, theory classes and video practical in the institute helped Manoj to overcome his inhibitions and shyness. The training and direction he received from the institute transformed Manoj into a more professional and polished actor.
Immediately after leaving his institute, Manoj got a call from his professor Adam Ayub for a role in a serial to be telecasted in Doordarshan. The TV serial Kumilakal featured him in two roles: one an abnormal person and second one a smart fellow.
This role in itself was a challenging one and the serial went on to become a super hit in the history of Dooradarshan. The character Rajasekaran portrayed by Manoj in Kumilakal became an unforgettable character for Malayalees and a stepping stone for his entry into cinema.
His first film was made by Ali Akbar, a person from his film institute. His first movie, Mamalakalkappurathu, was never released. Perunthachan, a script by M. T. Vasudevan Nair, was a milestone in his career; this role gave him numerous openings, such as Kuttan Thampuran in Sargam (one of the outstanding characters of Malayalam cinema) and his role in Thalapathi along with Mammooty and Rajinikanth.
Manoj married film actress Urvashi (actress) which ended in divorce. Legal battle for custody of his daughter turned out in his favor.
Manoj has won the Kerala State Film Award twice: Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Hariharan's Sargam (1992) and Second Best Actor for Hariharan's Pazhassi Raja (2009).