After college, he joined Kalabavan, a professional mimicry troupe in Kochi. At the age of 23, he was introduced into the cinema field by script writer and filmmaker Padmarajan who gave Jayaram his launching pad with the 1988 film Aparan. Jayaram subsequently acted in Padmarajan’s Moonnam Pakkam (1988) and Innale (1989). Padmarajan became his mentor in his film career till the former’s death in January 1991.
He is noted for playing in Kamal’s films during the late 80s and early 90s, in films such as Pradeshika Vaarthakal (1989), Peruvannapurathe Visheshangal (1989), and Shubha Yathra (1990) (all of them scripted by Ranjith), where he co-starred with his wife Parvathy. He later did a film scripted by Ranjith with the story by Jagathy Sreekumar, Viji Thampi’s directional debut Witness (1988). He teamed up with Viji Thampi and Ranjith in Nanma Niranjavan Srinivasan (1990) where he played a police constable who is in search of a criminal played by Mukesh. During the early 90s he acted in Bharathan’s Keli (1991) and Malootty (1992).
He has acted in several of Sathyan Anthikkad’s films. Their first film was Ponn Muttyidunna Tharavu (1988). Around that time Jayaram played a supporting role in Sathyan Anthikkad’s Ardham (1989). Thalayanamanthram (1990) and Sandesham (1991), were both written and co-starring Sreenivasan. Anthikkad and Jayaram later went on to make Thooval Kottaram (1996), Irattakuttikalude Achan (1997), Veendum Chila Veettukaryangal (1999), Kochu Kochu Santhoshangal (2000), Yathrakarude Sradhakku (2002), Manassinakkare (2003), ‘Bhagya Devatha’ and ‘Kadha Thudarunnu’.
He co-starred with Mammootty and Suresh Gopi in Joshi’s Dhruvam (1993). Other films with Gopi include Viji Thampi’s Nagarangalil Chennu Raparkam (1990), Thooval Sparsam (1990), Jayaraj’s Paithrukam (1993), and Sibi Malayil’s Summer in Bethlehem (1998). He co-starred with Mohanlal in Bharath Gopi’s Ulsavapittennu, Peruvannapurathe Visheshangal (1989) and Priyadarshan’s Advaitham (1991).
His association with director Rajasenan created many movies such as Kadinjool Kalyanam (1991), Ayalathe Addeham (1992), Meleparambil Aanveedu (1993), CID Unnikrishnan B.A., B.Ed. (1994), Aniyan Bava Chetan Bava (1995), Aadyathe Kanmani (1995), Swapna Lokathe Balabhaskaran (1996), and Kadhanayakan (1997). He also played Aravindan in Siddique’s Friends (1999) in which he co-starred with Sreenivasan and Mukesh. In the first decade of the 21st century his films include Yathrakarude Sradhakku (2002), Manassinakkare (2003), Veruthe Oru Bharya (2008), and Twenty:20 (2008). His roles include Karunakaran in B Kannan’s Theerthadanam (2001) and Lonappan in Rajeev Kumar’s Sesham (2002).
He also forayed into Tamil cinema including roles in Gokulam, Purushalakshanam, Priyanka, Kolangal, Murai Mamman and Pathini. He played the roles of Dr. Kailash and as Ayyappan Nair in Kamal Haasan starred Thenali and Panchathanthiram. They first came together on screen in Chanakyan (1989). Recently he has done more supporting roles in Tamil, such as antagonist roles in Saroja and Dhaam Dhoom, and a comic role in Aegan.
His movies have included Manassinakkare (2003) Njaan Salperu Raman Kutty (2004), Finger Print (2005), Alice in Wonderland (2005), Madhuchandralekha (2006), Moonnamathoral (2006), and Anchil Oral Arjunan (2007). In mid-2008, he played Sugunan in Akku Akbar’s Veruthe Oru Bharya (2008).
He had a couple of hits in 2009 with Sathyan Anthikkad’s Bhaghyadevatha and Happy Husbands. In 2010 he is again teaming up with Sathyan Anthikkadu for Kadha Thudarum