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Also known as: Venkatesh Prabhu
Actor • Producer • Singer • Special Appearances • Voice Cast • Director • Writer
Born: July 28, 1983 in Tamil Nadu, India
Venkatesh Prabhu Kasthuri Raja, better known by his screen name Dhanush, is one of the most talented and versatile artists in the Indian film industry who prominently works in Tamil movies. Apart from acting, the winner of three National awards and seven Filmfare awards has also worked as a producer, lyricist and playback singer. The actor made his debut in 2002 with Thulluvadho Ilamai, a coming-of-age film directed by his father, Kasthuri Raja and since then has appeared in several hit movies like Thiruvilayadal Aarambam, Venghai, and Aadukalam for which he won the Best Actor award at the 58th National Film Awards. The actor who co-owns a production company with his wife, Aishwarya Dhanush produces movies under the banner, Wunderbar Films.

Early Life
Dhanush was born in a middle-class family; his father Kasturi Raja worked as a mill worker before entering the film industry. His mother Vijayalakshmi is a housewife and his brother, K. Selvaraghavan is a director. The actor attended St. John`s Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Alwarthriunagar and later pursued a correspondence course in BCA (Bachelors of Computer Applications) from Madurai Kamaraj University.

Personal Life
The actor tied the knot with Aishwarya Dhanush, the daughter of superstar Rajinikanth on 18th November 2004. The couple has two sons, Yatra and Linga.

Movie Career
As an Actor
Dhanush started his acting career in 2002 with Kasthuri Raja`s Thulluvadho Ilamai co-starring Sherin, Abhinay, and Ramesh. The movie opened to mostly positive reviews from and fared pretty well at the box-office. He next appeared in his brother Selvaraghavan`s directorial debut, Kadhal Kondein and essayed the role of a mentally disturbed youth who yearns for his friend`s love. The movie was a huge commercial hit and won critical acclaim.

Over the next couples of years, the actor appeared in Thiruda Thirudi (2003), Pudhukottaiyilirindhu Saravanan (2004) Sullan (2004) and Dreams (2004) all of which opened to negative reviews. In 2005, Dhanush appeared in Devathiyai Kanden opposite Sridevi Vijaykumar, Kunal, and Karunas and in Adhu Oru Kana Kaalam directed by Balu Mahendra. Both the movies were an average hit. Later, the actor reunited with his brother for his next movie titled Pudhupettai. The movie co-starring Sneha and Sonia Agarwal released on May 26th, 2006 and it opened to positive reviews and Dhanush`s performance was lauded by the critics. In the same year, the actor starred in the comedy-drama Thiruvilayadal Arambam co-starring Shriya Saran, and Prakash Raj.

In 2007, the actor starred in the Tamil remake of the Kannada film Jogi titled Parattai Engira Azhagu Sundaram. The movie was a commercial and critical flop. Later, in his second film of the year, Dhanush starred in Polladhavan, which released during Diwali. The movie based on the 1948 Italian neorealist film, The Bicycle Thieves was a huge commercial hit and Dhanush`s performance in the movie was much appreciated. The following year, the actor appeared in two hit movies, Yaaradi Nee Mohini, which was the directorial debut of Mithran Jawahar and Padikathavan co-starring Tamannaah Bhatia, Sayaji Shindi and Atul Kulkarni.

In 2011, the actor starred in the critically acclaimed movie, Aadukalam, where he played the role of a villager who breeds roosters for cockfighting. The movie also featuring Taapsse Pannu, Daniel Balaji and Kishore Kumar G opened to great positive reviews and went on to win six awards at the 58th National Film Awards and Dhanush won the National Film Award for Best Actor, becoming the youngest actor to win the award. His next few movies, Mappillai co-starring Hansika Motwani, Vivek and Manisha Koirala and Venghai alongside Tamannaah, Rajkiran, and Prakash Raj got mixed reviews but were a box-office hit.

Dhanush had only one release in 2012 titled 3. The movie directed by his wife Aishwarya Rajinikanth had the popular song `Why this Kolaveri di,` which was sung by the actor himself. The movie, which also featured Shruti Haasan in the lead role opened to mixed reviews and was an average hit. In 2013, the actor appeared in Bharat Bala`s Maryan, which was based on a real-life event where three oil workers in Tamil Nadu were taken as hostage in Sudan by mercenaries. The movie also featuring Parvathi Menon was appreciated by the critics and was an average grosser at the box-office.

Dhanush`s first film in 2014 titled Velaiyilla Pattathari was directed by R. Velraj and it also featured Amala Paul in the lead role. The movie opened to positive reviews and was a box-office hit. The following year, Dhanush appeared in his second Hindi film, Shamitabh co-starring Amitabh Bachchan and Akshara Haasan. The movie directed by R. Balki was highly appreciated by the critics but it failed to do well at the box-office. Later that year, he was cast by director Balaji Mohan in the action-comedy Maari co-starring Kajal Aggarwal, Robo Shankar and Vijay Yesudas. The movie was a critical and commercial success. His 2016 releases include Prabhu Solomon`s Thodari, Kodi and Enai Nokki Paayum Thotta directed by Gautham Menon. His 2018 release includes Vada Chennai. His 2019 releases include The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir and Enai Noki Paayum Thota. His 2020 release includes Pattas.

As a Producer
The National Award winning actor, Dhanush has produced several movies under his production company, Wunderbar Films. His maiden production venture was 3, which was directed by his wife Aishwarya Dhanush. His next noted production venture was the 2014 movie Kaaka Muttai, which won the National Film Award for Best Children`s Film as well as was nominated for Best Discovery at the Toronto Film Festival in 2014. The following year in 2015, Dhanush produced four movies including Kaaki Sattai, Maari, Naanum Rowdy Dhaan and Thanga Magan. His 2021 releases include Karnan, Jagame Thandhiram, Atrangi Re and The Gray Man.

As a Director
In 2017, Dhanush turned director with the Tamil drama film Power Pandi. Written and produced also by him, the movie stars Rajkiran in the titular role, while Prasanna and Chaya Singh play important characters.
Peers & More
Tamannaah Bhatia
Jayam Ravi
Trisha Krishnan
Aishwarya Rajinikanth
Yatra Raja
Linga Raja
Vijaylakshmi Kasthuriraja
Kasthuri Raja
Karthika Devi
K. Vimala Geetha
K. Selvaraghavan
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Jagame Thandhiram
Naane Varuven
The Gray Man
Sila Nerangalil Sila Manithargal
Atrangi Re
Vaazhkaiya Thedi Naanum Ponen

Did You Know? (8)

  • Before entering the film industry, Dhanush aspired to become a chef and wanted to pursue a course in Hotel Management, however, his brother Selvaraghavan convinced him to enter the film industry.
  • The sensational song, 'Why this Kolaveri di' sung by Dhanush was the first Indian video song that garnered mores than 100 million views on YouTube. The actor wrote the lyrics of the song in flat Six minutes and a rough version of the song was recorded in 35 minutes.
  • Dhanush won the hottest vegetarian celebrities title in 2011.
  • For Thodari, Dhanush completed his dubbing in 10 hours.
  • Dhanush and Harish Uthaman performed the risky fight sequence on top of a moving train without ropes.
  • Dhanush is the first South Indian actor who got 4M followers on Twitter.
  • Dhanush is the youngest Indian actor to win the National Award for Best Hero. He won the award at the 58th National Film Awards for his role in Aadukalam, the Tamil-language drama directed by Vetrimaran.
  • Dhanush is an ardent devotee of Shiva but he doesn't believe in idol worship.
  • Personal Quotes (24)

  • "Many people find their calling very early in their lives. These are the kind of people we read about in school books and newspapers. Then there are some who don`t have a clue of what they want to do in their lives; I belong to the latter category."
  • "Unfortunately, I can only act; I do not have the looks, but I am very happy with what God has given me."
  • "I've always known that I'm very, very ordinary looking. But I'm not alien looking. I am an artist, here to play characters."
  • "Music is my breath, blood, and food – without music, I would perish; the actor in me would die."
  • "I have played so many romantic roles that I don't know if I am really romantic in real life. I get confused about the real me."
  • "Trust me it has been anything but easy to make it as an actor."
  • "I think it is not easy to impress a girl, especially with the looks that I have. It is quite tough."
  • "It is a huge burden to be known as Mr. Rajinikanth's son-in-law. Once I married his daughter Aishwarya in 2004, I lost my identity. Whatever name I had earned before that on my own was wiped away. Whenever I went, I became a son-in-law. It was a terrible phase for me. I had to work double hard to get back my identity."
  • "If I was not an actor, I would have been working in a five star hotel as a chef."
  • "I get emotionally attached with every film I do, and that stops me from being critical. I can't fight my emotions."
  • "You can't always expect to work with a director who guarantees success."
  • "There is no such thing as a Bollywood hero or Hollywood hero. All you see on the screen is the lead actor's interpretation of the role that has been conceived by the writer."
  • "A villain can be stylish, and his actions don't have to be explained. Heroes are boring in comparison, even anti-heroes, as there's always a justification for their bad actions."
  • "I come from a very humble background. My father had to work really hard to become an assistant director. For a large part of his youth, he worked in a mill and took up odd jobs to make ends meet. We lived in a small room and could only afford a meal a day."
  • "I took up acting upon the insistence of my filmmaker father, Kasthuri Raja. But I am glad for it: sometimes one identifies one's calling; sometimes it singles one out."
  • "My dream is to become a director."
  • "I've improved as an actor, thanks to my wonderful directors. As a person, I've changed, too; I was 16 when I did 'Thullavatho Ilamai,' and I'm 32 now. With age, I've sobered down. I'm calmer; I can see things more clearly now."
  • "Ilaiyaraaja is my most favourite music director. His music was my lullaby, his music was my food, his music was my childhood, his music was my first love, his music was my failure, his music was my first kiss, my first love failure, my success... he is in my blood."
  • "I'm going to be quite choosy about singing. If I connect to a tune and like what I am offered to sing, I'll do it. I am an actor by profession, not a singer."
  • "If there is no music, I will perish. While I have not learnt music, I can play the tune that comes into my head on the keyboard."
  • "I made shorts films, learning the dos and don'ts. Most importantly, I've been editing all these short films. Nothing can teach you filmmaking like editing can."
  • "As an actor, I do not want to stick to a particular route."
  • "When I joined films in 2002, there were all kinds of rash and unkind comments that were made about my looks in the reviews."
  • "I'm happy that the kind of films I'm doing right now is reaching a wider audience, and I'm looking forward to direct Hindi films as well."
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