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Prakash Raj
Actor • Director • Producer • Screenplay • Writer • Voice Cast • Special Appearances
Born: March 26, 1965 in Bangalore, Karnataka, India
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About
Prakash Raj is one of the finest actors in the film industry who has juggled between movies across several South Indian languages and has managed to create an impact among varied audiences. Along with a strong presence in Kannada, Telugu and Tamil cinema, the actor has gained popularity even in the Bollywood industry with his significant supporting roles. Not only does he have exceptional acting skills, but he has proved his ability to be a praiseworthy director, producer, and television presenter. Known for playing majorly antagonist and character roles, Prakash Raj`s notable performances were seen in the movies Kannathil Muthamittal, Ghilli, Mozhi, Abhiyum Naanum, and M. Kumaran S/O Mahalakshmi.

Early life
Prakash was born in Bengaluru, Karnataka in 1965, in a lower-middle-class family to father Manjunath Rai and mother Swarnalatha. He has one brother Prasad Rai, who is also an actor. He did his schooling at St. Joseph`s Boys` High School, Bangalore. He then pursued education at St. Joseph`s College of Commerce, Bangalore.

Personal life
Prakash first got married to actress Lalitha Kumari in the year 1994. The couple has two daughters Meghana and Pooja, and had one son Sidhu, who died in 2004 after he fell from a table while flying a kite, sustaining injuries that got severe with time and lead to death. The couple got divorced in 2009. The actor then married choreographer Pony Verma on 24 August 2010. He has one son with Pony, born in 2016.

Movie Career
Prakash Raj made his debut in the 1990 Kannada movie Mithileya Seetheyaru. Even though he was appreciated for his dialogue delivery with his supporting roles in films like Ramachaari, Ranadheera, Nishkarsha and Lockup Death, his breakthrough came with Harakeya Kuri in 1993. He played his first lead role of Badri in the film opposite Vishnuvardhan and Geetha. Prakash Raj was introduced in Tamil cinema by K. Balachander for the 1994 movie Duet, in which he plays the role of a movie superstar. The actor then bagged several Tamil films like Pullakuttikaran, Seethanam and Subash, along with a supporting role in the successful drama film Bombay (1995). However, his noteworthy performance was seen in the 1996 film Kalki, where he played the role of an industrialist who ill-treats his wife. His negative role in this movie won him the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Villain. The year also marked his entry into Malayalam cinema with The Prince starring superstar Mohanlal in the lead.

Even though he continued to act in several movies, one of his prominent roles was that of Tamilzhchelvan in the Tamil movie Iruvar (1997), for which he won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor. His popular Kannada movie in the year was Nagamandala (1997), under the direction of T.S. Nagabharana, in which he played the role of an unfaithful husband Appanna. His next award-winning role came in the following year with the Telugu action drama Antahpuram. This Krishna Vamsi`s directorial venture garnered Prakash Raj the National Film Award for Best Actor (Special Jury) for his role of Narasimha. Subsequently, the actor made a special appearance in Yaare Neenu Cheluve, and then starred in a prominent role in the romance drama Preethsod Thappa, which was a musical blockbuster.

The actor featured in several Telugu films in 2000 but was highly appreciated for his negative role in the Tamil movie Vaanavil. Even though the movie received only mixed reviews and did not perform well at the box office, Prakash Raj won the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Villain, for his portrayal of a boy who lusts over a girl and tries to attain her forcefully. His other significant role was that of Dr. Herold Vikramasinghe in the musical war drama Kannathil Muthamittal (2002), starring Madhavan, Simran and P. S. Keerthana in the leads, which received huge critical acclaim. Prakash won the ITFA Best Supporting Actor Award for his performance in the movie. He went on to give several award-winning performances in the year in films like Dhaya Nuvve Nuvve and Khadgam.

Amma Nanna O Tamila Ammayi in 2003 fetched him the Nandi Award for Best Character Actor, for his role of a kick-boxing champion who abandons his family for a successful career but later regrets his decision. Prakash Raj reprised his role for the Tamil remake of the movie titled M. Kumaran S/O Mahalakshmi (2004), and gained huge appreciation. The actor then went on to win the Filmfare Award for Best Telugu Supporting Actor for director V. V. Vinayak`s Tagore. However, his negative character in the huge box office hit Ghilli gained him widespread recognition among the Tamil audiences. He bagged the Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Villain for his role of Muthu Pandi in the Vijay-Trisha starrer. After praiseworthy performances in movies such as Vasool Raja MBBS, Mass, and Ayya, he once again gained praises for his negative character in Anniyan, which earned him the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Villain. His biggest success in 2005 was the blockbuster Tamil action film Sivakasi that starred Vijay and Asin in the lead roles, with Prakash Raj in the negative role as Udayappa, which won him the Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Villain. Even though he was only nominated at the Vijay Awards for Best Villain for his brilliant portrayal of Ali Bhai in Pokkiri (2007), he showcased excellent comic timing in the romantic comedy film Mozhi, which won him the Vijay Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Prakash Raj then portrayed a serious role in Abhiyum Naanum (2008) as an over-concerned and protective father of Trisha Krishnan`s character. This movie too won him an award at the Tamil Nadu State Film Awards for Best Character Artiste (Male). The actor went on to give notable performances in films such as Singam (2010), Payanam and Ko in 2011, Bodyguard (2012) and Chennaiyil Oru Naal (2013). He portrays the struggles of a lower middle-class father to a fourteen-year-old aspiring cricketer in Dhoni (2012) and plays a negative politician in Saguni (2011). In 2015, his notable works included O Kadhal Kanmani, S/O Satyamurthy, and Size Zero, whereas his successes in the next year were Ko 2, Oopiri, and Kadavul Irukaan Kumaru. He also plays a popular criminal lawyer Adhiseshan in the Udhayanidhi Stalin starrer Manithan in 2016. Prakash Raj`s 2017 releases include Sathamanam Bhavati, Dwaraka, Yaakkai, Raajakumara and Achayans. In 2019, he appeared in the romantic-thriller movie Athiran, starring Fahadh Faasil and Sai Pallavi in lead roles. His 2020 releases include Sarileru Neekevvaru, Mayabazar 2016 and Paava Kadhaigal. His 2021 releases include Alludu Adhurs, K.G.F: Chapter 2, Yuvarathnaa , Vakeel Saab, Thalaivi and Anukoni Athidhi.

As a producer
Prakash Raj turned producer with the Tamil movie Dhaya in 2002. He then went on to produce several popular movies like Kanda Naal Mudhal, Mozhi, Abhiyum Naanum and Gouravam, being the prominent ones. He also produced the 2011 movie Puttakkana Highway, which went on to win the National Award for Best Regional Film of the year and Bengaluru International Film Festival Award.

As a director
Prakash Raj is not only a successful actor but also is a multi-talented filmmaker. His directorial debut came with the 2016 film Tadka. He also directed Naanu Nanna Kanasu, Dhoni, Un Samayal Arayil and Mana Oori Ramayanam.
Peers & More
Ashish Vidyarthi
Actor
Sayaji Shinde
Actor
Kota Srinivasa Rao
Actor
Suman
Actor
Family
Pony Verma
Spouse
Lalitha Kumari
Ex-Spouse
Sidhu Rai
Son
Pooja Rai
Daughter
Meghna Rai
Daughter
Swarnalatha Raj
Mother
Manjunath Rai
Father
Prasad Raj
Brother
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Did You Know? (6)

  • Prakash Raj was born as Prakash Rai, which he used as his screen name, but K. Balachander changed it to Prakash Raj for his Tamil debut film Duet.
  • Prakash Raj owns an organic farm, and has also adopted a village.
  • Prakash Raj is a polyglot who has the ability to handle several languages such as Kannada, Tulu, Tamil, Marathi, Telugu, Hindi and Malayalam.
  • In his illustrious career spanning more than 25 years, Prakash Raj has won five National Awards (as of June 2017), the most by a south Indian actor after Kamal Haasan.
  • The production company owned by Prakash Raj known as Duet Movies, is named after his maiden Tamil movie ‘Duet,’ which was directed by K. Balachander.
  • During his early days as an actor, Prakash Raj earned INR 300 for appearing on stage shows.
  • Personal Quotes (5)

  • "I don't take life for granted anymore and live in the moment."
  • "I was bemused when someone pointed out that I had to keep the pulse of the audience in mind before making a film."
  • "Whenever I think about Ramayana, I always get the feeling that the characters of lord Rama, Ravana, Hanuman, Seeta, Lakshman or Shurpanaka, the characters are actually symbolic representations of human frailities."
  • "If people who work with me say that I play hide and seek, why do they repeat me? Why am I in Mahesh's nine films out of his ten. Why don't you judge me with my work? How I go about it is not important."
  • "I am like this. I am not going to change this habit. My roots are in Kannada theater. I used to tour across Karnataka performing plays, which used to end by midnight."
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