Madhav was born in Calcutta, India into a distinguished South Indian Hindu Brahmin family.
Origin and Early life
His parents were K.S.Sitaram and Sushila Kalpaham Iyer.
Madhav’s three uncles Professor K. Swaminathan – Editor of the 100 volume Collected works of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr K. Venkataraman – Director of the National Chemical Laboratory, Poona & Dr K.S.Sanjivi – Founder of Voluntary Health Services, Madras have the unique distinction of being the only three brothers all to be awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.
Madhav’s cousins include Dr Venky Narayanamurti (Dean of his faculty at Harvard University), Dr Dharma Kumar (Professor Delhi School of Economics, Editor Cambridge Economic History of India, and author of Land and Caste in South India), and Professor Raghavan Iyer (Rhodes Scholar, President of the Oxford Union, Isis Idol, Oxford Fellow and Professor at the University of Santa Barbara).
His nephews include Ramachandra Guha (who writes on cricket, the environment and politics, and who has been awarded the Padma Bhushan) and Pico Iyer (King’s Scholar at Eton College, Congratulatory Double First at Magdalen College Oxford, Harvard University, academic and writer).
Following his mother’s death soon after he was born, Madhav was first raised in Bangalore by his grandfather Shri S.S.Iyer and aunt, widow of R G Iyer (who was an ardent freedom fighter and social activist on behalf of Dalit children. He took pains to bring up the economically weaker sections of society regardless of their caste, creed or religion and there is a suburb of Bangalore named after him called Gopalapura).
Madhav’s education includes Bishop Cotton Boys School Bangalore (kindergarden), Bangalore High School (Cambridge Matriculation & SSLC), St Joseph’s College Bangalore (Intermediate), the Scottish Church College Calcutta where he read for B.Sc (Physics Hons) and Fergusson College Poona where he read for B.A.(English Hons.)
A Merit Scholarship to the RADA was the start of his professional life – for just over half a century so far - in the UK.
Madhav was formerly married to the British actress, Jenny Seagrove.