Bhavana was born Karthika Menon on 6 June 1986 in Thrissur district, Kerala, as the daughter of Pushpa and assistant cinematographer, late G. Balachandran . She has an elder brother, Jayadev. She studied at Holy Family Girls’ High School, Chembukkavu, Thrissur. Bhavana’s brother Jayadev is making his entry in the film industry as director in a Tamil film titled ‘Pattinappakkam’. Bhavana has described herself as a restless person and someone who’s “hard to handle”. She grew up with a dream to become an actress. As a five-year-old, she used to imitate actress Amala’s scenes from the Malayalam film Ente Sooryaputhrikku in front of the mirror and was even willing to jump from a building and break her arm, like Amala’s character, did in the film.