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.
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.
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 CareerAs 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 Sneh
a 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 Jog
i 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
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 Pau
l 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
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
, 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.