Born in 1985 to parents who are both medical doctors, Dhruv Malhotra grew up in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, the desert state of India, in a joint family with his grandparents watching over him and his younger brother. He studied economics at Mumbai University and received his BA in 2006. After graduation, he worked at a financial consultancy. Disillusioned with economics, Malhotra did a brief stint as a copywriter. He then started photographing and moved to Noida, a suburb of New Delhi where he lived until late 2010.