Nithya Menen was born in Bangalore,Karnataka into a Malayali family and studied journalism at the Manipal Institute of Communication. Her father's family is from Calicut and her mother's is from Palakkad. She once said in an interview that she never wished to become an actress but a journalist as she was "an idealist", but felt journalism was "not what it used to be".She then decided to become a filmmaker as she could express her ideas "better through films", and enrolled for a course in cinematography at the FTI Pune. During the entrance examination, she met Nandini Reddy, who "brainwashed" and convinced her to take up acting. Nandini Reddy would later turn director and sign Nithya for the lead female role in her first project.