He is married to Erum Ali, a fashion designer; the couple has a son and a daughter, Erum worked as costume designer in many films notably Aayirathil Oruvan and Guru En Aalu where his co-star Madhavan's wife, Saritha, too worked as designer.
Abbas grew up watching Hindi and Bengali films, with his maternal grandfather being a film actor and his paternal family being related to actor Feroz Khan. He partook in modelling assignments since his college days and subsequently wanted to become an actor in Indian films. Initially after hearing that director Kadhir was looking for a new actor for his latest venture, Abbas had recommended his friends who knew Tamil to audition, and took part in a speculative audition at the insistence of his friends. Kadhir was impressed with Abbas's performance and casted him in Kadhal Desam (1996). Unfamiliar with the Tamil language, Abbas used to memorise his lines on the set of the film and Kadhir began the shoot with easier portions, in order to ease Abbas into his role.
Abbas worked on several works in the early 2000s as a second hero, besides working in Malayalam and Telugu films. He appeared as Rajinikanth's son-in-law in Padayappa (1999), before portraying the role of a doctor in Kamal Haasan's historical film, Hey Ram (2000). With multi-starrers diminishing in Tamil cinema, Abbas appeared in some low-budget ventures such as Unarchigal (2006) and 47A Besant Nagar Varai (2007), before opting to pursue anti-hero roles. He starred as a womaniser in the horror film Shock (2004) and Thiruttu Payale (2006), and then also played a comic villain in Sadhu Miranda (2008) and Guru En Aalu (2009). In 2010, he made a return to Kannada films with the family drama Appu and Pappu, portraying the father of young boy. In recent years, Abbas has appeared in television serials, while he also portrayed scientist Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis in Ramanujan (2014).