His real name is Shivaji Rao. After completing a course in acting, he made his acting debut in 1993 with Pon Vilangu. The film, directed by K. S. Rajkumar, was produced by R. K. Selvamani and he acted alongside Rahman, Sivaranjani and Ramya Krishnan. The critic K. Vijayan of New Straits Times praised Ranjith's acting citing that "Ranjith, despite his big build, impresses in his debut performance." The next year, he acted the lead role in the rural drama Sindhu Nadhi Poo, the film turned out to be a success at the box-office. In 1996, he appeared in Minor Mappillai and Avathara Purushan. In 1997, he appeared in a guest appearance in Cheran's Bharathi Kannamma which was a critical and commercial success. In the start of 1998, Ranjith played as an antagonist in Maru Malarchi, the film was released to critical acclaim and he won the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Villain for his role. Subsequently, he was flooded with offers. In the mid of 1998, he acted in the blockbuster Natpukkaga and he played the villain role in Dharma. In the end of 1998, he acted in supporting role in Desiya Geetham and Pudhumai Pithan while he played one of the leads in the low-budget film Cheran Chozhan Pandian.