Prakash Raj is the screen name of Prakash Rai, who was born on the 26th of March, 1965 in Puttur, Karnataka. He grew up in an ethnic Bunt household and did his initial schooling from the St.Joseph’s Indian High School in Bangalore, Karnataka and passed out from the St. Josephs College of Commerce, Bangalore. He was active as an actor in his college plays.
Prakash began his illustrious career with roles in Kannada Doordarshan, in serials like Bisilu Kudure and Guddada Bhootha. His debut in films started out by doing supporting roles in various Kannada films like Raamachari, Nishkarsha and Lockup Death.
People in the film industry soon started noticing his acting performances and excellent dialogue delivery and he soon hit the limelight when he got the chance to act in the K.S.L directed film Harakeya Kuri which also starred Vishnuvardhan and Geetha who helped him come to the notice of director K. Balachander.
In Kannada films he went initially by his own name Prakash Rai, but K. Balachander renamed him ‘Prakash Raj’ when he gave Prakash his first Tamil language film Duet, where he had an important role.
In 1997, he went back to Kannada language films and was a part of the T.S.Nagabharana directed film Nagamandala. The film was represented in the International Film Festival in 1997 as a part of the Indian Panorama.
Prakash has been a part of renowned director Mani Ratnam’s stage show Netry, Indru, Naalai. 1997 was the year, he also acted in Mani Ratnam’s biopic film Iruvar and for which he was given the prestigious National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor by the Indian Government.
In 2009, he was the recipient of the National Film Award for Best Actor for his exemplary performance in the Priyadarshan directed Tamil language film Kanchivaram.
Prakash’s many hits include the Telugu language film Okkadu, Malayalam language film Pandippada, Mozhi and Saroja.
Prakash is also a producer of films and named his production company “Duet Movies’ as a tribute to his first successful film. He has made commercially successful films such as Dhaya, Poi and Naanu Nanna Kanasu. His produced Kannada film Puttakkana Highway, which went on to win the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Kannada.
Naanu Nanna Kanasu
Prakash Raj turned director with the Kannada film Naanu Nanna Kanasu in 2010. He is currently directing a Tamil-Telugu bilingual film Dhoni.
Shakti - The Power
Prakash’s relationship with Bollywood has been there since 2000, when many of his Telugu and Tamil movie like Bachi and Main Hoon Rakhwala started getting dubbed in Hindi. His first real Bollywood debut can be said to be the film Shakti-The Power in 2001 where he played the character of a sharpshooter.
Prakash Raj’s FilmWanted
Bbuddha Hoga Tera Baap
He has slowly been gaining ground in Bollywood too, with super hit films like Salman Khan starrer Wanted, Amitabh Bachchan starrer Bbuddha Hoga Tera Baap and Ajay Devgn starrer Singham, where he played important villainous roles. He has more Hindi films in his kitty with the highly anticipated film Dabangg 2 about to be released and the modern remake of the film Himmatwalla.
Prakash Raj With First Wife and Daughters
Prakash Raj With Second Wife
Prakash married his first wife actress, Lalitha Kumari in 1994 and with whom he had two daughters Meghana and Pooja and a son, Sidhu. His son died tragically young in 2004 and the couple divorced in 2009. He went on to get married for the second time to choreographer Pony Verma in 2010.