26 March 1965
Puttur, Karnataka, India
|Residence||Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India|
|Occupation||Film actor, producer, Film director|
Sidhu (2000 – 20 March 2004)
Prakash Raj, born as Prakash Rai on 26 March 1965 in Puttur, Karnataka, is an Indian film actor, director, producer and television presenter, who mainly works in the South Indian film industry. After working in the Kannada cinema for a few years, he entered Tamil film industry, through K. Balachander in his movie Duet (1994). In remembrance, he named his production company Duet Movies. He has played a variety of roles, most notably as the antagonist and of late, as a character actor. He has won a National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1998 for Mani Ratnam's Iruvar and a National Film Award for Best Actor in 2009 for his role in Kanchivaram, a Tamil film directed by Priyadarshan. Prakash Raj is also the host of Neengalum Vellalam Oru Kodi from the game show's second season onwards.
Personal life 
Prakash was born to an Bunt family in Puttur, Karnataka on 26 March 1965. He completed schooling at St. Joseph's Boys' High School, Bangalore and later joined St. Joseph's College of Commerce, Bangalore. Prakash Rai changed his name to Prakash Raj based on prominent Tamil film director K. Balachander's advice, however he is still called Prakash Rai in his home town Karnataka. Prakash married actress Lalitha Kumari in 1994. They have two daughters—Meghana and Pooja and a son, Sidhu. Sidhu died of injuries sustained in a fall in 2004. The couple divorced in 2009. He married choreographer Pony Verma on August 24, 2010.
As actor 
Prakash began his acting career with Kannada Doordarshan serials like Bisilu Kudure and Guddada Bhootha. He later took up supporting roles in Kannada films like Raamachari, Ranadheera, Nishkarsha and Lockup Death. He was noticed for his dialogue delivery and histrionics. His breakthrough role came in form of Harakeya Kuri starring Dr. Vishnuvardhan and Geetha, directed by K. S. L. Swamy. His performance in the movie was noticed by Geetha and she, in turn, introduced him to her mentor K. Balachander, a Tamil film director. He acted under the screen name "Prakash Rai" in Kannada films and was rechristened "Prakash Raj" by K. Balachander for his debut Tamil film Duet, which saw him playing his first major role.
Prakash re-entered Kannada films through Nagamandala in 1997, directed by T.S. Nagabharana which was selected for Indian Panorama in the International Film Festival in 1997. He was also a part of Mani Ratnam's stage show, Netru, Indru, Naalai. In 1997, he acted in Mani Ratnam's biopic film Iruvar. The movie dealt with the relationship between politicians M. G. Ramachandran and M. Karunanidhi, for which he won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor. One of Prakash Raj's greatest hits was his role in Telugu film Okkadu, where he played a factionist who is in love with the heroine. After Okkadu, Prakash Raj was flooded with offers. The film was remade in Tamil as Ghilli and in Kannada as Ajay starring Puneet Rajkumar. He starred in a malayalam film, Pandippada,with Dilip. His 2007 production Mozhi was a box-office hit and praised by critics proving that he can play a comedy role just as good as a negative character.
Mozhi, directed by Radha Mohan, was well acclaimed. He played an important role in Venkat Prabhu's Saroja which became a box-office success. In 2008 he produced a film titled Abhiyum Naanum and played an important character in it. He remade the movie in Kannada as Naanu Nanna Kanasu which was critically acclaimed as well.
As Director 
He took on the mantle of director and has directed several movies in Tamil (Kollywood). Most of the movies he produced turned out to be box-office hits and were also critically acclaimed. His movies are also considered as family entertainers. He produced the movie Dhaya in which he acted as the hero with actress Meena which was a hit and earned him a special jury award for his performance. His movie Poi (lie in English) acted by his mentor, K. Balachander, was a non-grosser. It starred Uday Kiran, K. Balachander and Prakash Raj.
Prakash Raj had danced in the song "Kanchi Paanaiyin Maela" for his film Vellithirai.
His Kannada production Naanu Nanna Kanasu completed 100 days successfully across Karanataka. His next production venture, titled Akasmaath, is a remake of the Telugu hit Aithe and stars himself along with new actors. The movie is scheduled to go on floors in September 2010 to be directed by Dayal Padmanabhan. He made Puttakkana Highway in Kannada which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Kannada in 2011.
As Producer 
Prakash Raj Produced Naanu Nanna Kanasu in Kannada (2010), a remake of his own Tamil production Abhiyum Naanum. His latest directorial venture is a Tamil – Telugu bilingual, sports venture Dhoni named after Indian cricket captain.
- 'I cannot allow love to rule my thoughts' Metro Plus, Tuesday 08 Jun, 2004 THE HINDU
- Catching them young!, MALATHI RANGARAJAN, 19 August 2010 THE HINDU
- "55th NATIONAL FILM AWARDS FOR THE YEAR 2007". Press Information Bureau (Govt. of India).
- TNN (20 December 2001). "World Bunts meet begins Friday". Times of India. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- "Prakash Raj". www.teluguone.com. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- Prakashraj and Pony Verma get married
- "Actor Prakash Raj's son dies – Times Of India". The Times Of India. 21 March 2004.
- "Prakash Raj Granted Divorce". Yahoo! India. 19 November 2009.
- "Prakash Raj marriage with Pony Verma". www.supergoodmovies.com. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- "Prakash Raj finalizes". Behindwoods. 11 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
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