Bhavana was born in Thrissur, Kerala, the daughter of Pushpa and assistant cinematographer, G. Balachandran Menon. She has one brother, Jayadev, who currently lives in Vancouver, Canada. She studied at Holy Family Girls’ High School, Chembukkavu, Thrissur. Bhavana, who describes herself as a restless and a confused person and someone who’s “hard to handle”, states that she had grown up with a dream to become an actress. She recalls that, 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.
At age 16, she debuted in the Malayalam film Nammal opposite newcomers Siddharth, Jishnu and Renuka Menon. The film was a big success and she got several offers in Malayalam. She won many honors and a Kerala State Special Jury Award for the film. Bhavana was an 11th standard student when she got her break in films. She has acted with almost all actors in Malayalam cinema. She has got many offers lined up in Tamil and did many projects with famous Tamil actors like Ajith Kumar, Madhavan, Jayam Ravi, Bharath and Srikanth. In 2010, she starred in her first film alongside Puneeth Rajkumar acted in Jackie which was a blockbuster. Following the film’s huge success, the film was dubbed into Telugu and Malayalam.