Jiiva was born as Amar to film Producer R. B. Choudary and Mahjabeen on 4 January 1984 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. He is the youngest of four brothers. His eldest brother B. Suresh is a co-producer in their home banner Super Good Films, while his second brother Jeevan is an Entrepreneur in the steel industry. His third brother is Jithan Ramesh, an actor in the Tamil film industry.
From 1998 to 2002, he learned Mansuria Kung Fu under the supervision of R. Shekhar.
Jiiva first appeared as a child Artist in minuscule roles in two of his father's productions. He made his feature film debut as an actor in 2003 with Aasai Aasaiyai, and Thithikudhe (2003). His subsequent release, Ameer's mystery thriller Raam (2005) screened at the International Film Festival in Goa and later at the Cyprus International Film Festival, where he won the Best Actor award.
Jiiva next starred in Dishyum (2006). Later that year, Jiiva made his debut in Malayalam cinema with Major Ravi's war film Keerthi Chakra, which saw a dubbed release as Aran in Tamil Nadu. His final 2006 release was E. He then starred in Kattradhu Thamizh (2007), as a lower middle class post-graduate degree holder in Tamil literature, who gradually turns a psychopath, frustrated by the inequality in the social structure. Whilst the film opened to rave reviews, Jiiva's portrayal as Prabhakar was praised by critics and widely termed as the best in 2007; a Behindwoods review labelled it as "a performance of his lifetime", while Rediff wrote that he was "endearing as the young, vulnerable Prabha, [...] perfect as the ganja-smoking near-lunatic [...] and freaking brilliant as the frustrated Tamil graduate". "He was, in a nutshell, simply superb". Jiiva had grown a full length beard for the character and cited the hardships during the shoots of the film, which he considered as his most painful experience and a "torturous affair".
On 21 November 2007, Jiiva married his childhood friend Supriya in New Delhi. Supriya is a MBA graduate and an interior designer by profession. The two first met in 1994 when he was studying in a school in T Nagar. They have a son.
He appeared in Director M. Rajesh's maiden venture, the comedy film Siva Manasula Sakthi (2009). In 2010, he starred alongside Poonam again in Kacheri Arambam. Singam Puli, where played dual roles, was his first 2011 release, following which K. V. Anand's political thriller Ko (2011) released. Rediff stated that the role was a "cake-walk for Jiiva: he's had a ball with the camera, clicking shots in almost impossible situations and making sure his trademark effervescence is present at all times", while Sify said that with this performance he was "going to be a force to reckon with in Tamil cinema".
Jiiva was a judge on STAR Vijay's reality dance competition Jodi Number One in its third season along with Sangeetha and Aishwarya Rajinikanth. In mid-2011, he announced that he would start a film production company called Spiral Dreams with his brother Jithan Ramesh in order to promote new Directors like his father.
In 2012, he appeared in S. Shankar's comedy-drama Nanban which released to highly positive reviews and become a blockbuster. His next projects were Mysskin's superhero film Mugamoodi and Gautham Menon's Neethaane En Ponvasantham. Both these films turned out to be average grossers at the box office. After that, he worked on Bejoy Nambiar's David alongside Vikram which failed at the box office, despite getting positive reviews. His next movie was Endrendrum Punnagai.
Following this film, Jiiva experienced a setback in his career. In 2014 he worked in Cinematographer Ravi K. Chandran's directorial debut Yaan, which was a box office failure. Gone from the screen for one year, he had three releases in 2016, though all of his films bombed at the box office. He first starred in his 25th film Pokkiri Raja which was directed by Tamizhuku En Ondrai Azhuthavum fame Ramprakash Rayappa and was touted to be his "comeback" film.
However, the film, which released on 4 March 2016 to mixed to negative reviews from critics and was a box office failure. His next film was the long delayed Thirunaal in which he is paired with Nayantara for the second time was released in August 2016, was again a critical and commercial failure for the actor. His last release of the year was the adult romantic comedy Kavalai Vendam opposite Kajal Aggarwal directed by Deekay. Although the film was praised for the comedy part, it released to mixed reviews and it was a commercial failure at the box office.
His 2017 release was Sangili Bungili Kadhava Thorae. The film became a success and got positive reviews. His next film is Kee.