She first appeared as a child actor in Kamal's film Pookkalam Varavayi (1991) at the age of seven. Subsequently she was offered parts in other projects such as Pavam IA Ivachan (1994), Parasala Paatchan Payyannur Paramu (1994) by P.Venu and Azhakiya Ravanan (1996), directed by Kamal.
Kavya is also a trained dancer and has won many awards and accolades.
After the success of Chandranudikkunna Dikhil, Kavya Madhavan and Dileep became a popular pairing in Malayalam cinema, and they worked together in 18 movies. Some of their movies are Thenkasipattanam (2000), Darling Darling (2000), Meesa Madhavan (2002) which was one of biggest grosser of the year and was directed by Lal Jose, Mizhi Randilum (2003) in which she played a double role, Sadanandante Samayam (2003), Thilakkam (2003)directed by Jayaraj, Runway (2004) directed by Joshiy, Kochi Rajavu(2005), Lion (2006) again directed by Joshiy, Chakkara Muthu (2006), Inspector Garud (2007), Paappi Appacha (2010), Vellaripravinte Changathi (2011). Most of their movies were in the romantic comedy genre.
She got critical acclaim for her performance of the role of Ganga in Perumazhakkalam for which she won 2004 Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress and for the role of Ashwati in Gaddama where she played a house maid working in Saudi Arabia. The movie was based on a feature by K. U. Iqbal, published in Bhashaposhini. The movie was directed by her mentor Kamal and she got her second Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress for 2011. She also won 2011 Kerala Film Critics Awards for Best Actress, Amrita-FEFKA Film Awards for Best Actress, Best Actress-Malayalam cinema in 59th Filmfare Awards South and Best Actress in Thikkurissy Foundation Awards. She was also nominated in National film award for Best Actress but lost out in the final round.She was part of big grossers like Christian Brothers and China Town in 2011 and was selected as Top Star (Female) 2011 in Malayalam . She also was cast in Adoor Gopalakrishnan movie Naalu Pennungal in which she played a supporting role.
Though she had many offers from Tamil cinema, she was very reluctant to act due to her busy schedule in Malayalam. Her first was Kasi (2001) which was the remake of Vinayans Vasanthiyum Lakshmiyum Pinne Njaanum. She went on to act in En Mana Vaanil and Sadhu Miranda and enjoyed moderate success.
- movie.webindia123.com. Kavya Madhavan Profile. Movie.webindia123.com. Retrieved on 2013-10-19.
- Kavya Dileep Kadha Ithu vare - Mazhavil Manorama Live. YouTube (2011-12-19). Retrieved on 2013-10-19.
- Maid film highlights abuse. Khaleejtimes.com (2011-01-14). Retrieved on 2013-10-19.
- `Aadminte Makan Abu chosen best film by Thikkurissy foundation, IBN Live News. Ibnlive.in.com (2012-01-07). Retrieved on 2013-10-19.
- Ajith Lal (2004-02-24). Kavya Madhavan. Kavyamadhavanonline.blogspot.com. Retrieved on 2013-10-19.
- Kavya Madhavan Singing - Mounamai Manasil Song - MATINEE Movie. YouTube (2012-11-12). Retrieved on 2013-10-19.