31 December 1956 
|Other names||Ilaya Thilagam|
|Occupation||film actor, film producer|
|Height||5 ft 7 in (170 cm)|
|Children||Vikram Prabhu (b.1986)
Aishwarya Prabhu (b.1987)
|Relatives||Ramkumar Ganesan (brother)|
Prabhu is an Indian film actor, businessman and producer who has predominantly appeared in Tamil language films. He is the son of veteran actor Sivaji Ganesan, while his son Vikram Prabhu is also a Tamil actor. After making his debut in Sangili (1982), the actor has played a series of leading and supporting roles, earning the Best Actor award recognition by the Tamil Nadu state for his portrayal in Chinna Thambi (1992).
After leaving Bishop Cotton's school in Bangalore, Prabhu got involved in film production as an executive producer and worked alongside his uncle and mentor V. C. Shanmugam, who had insisted that Prabhu learnt the film making process through a disciplined way, giving him general tasks such as pulling up chairs for artistes. Prabhu's father, actor Sivaji Ganesan, had initially expressed reluctance in allow Prabhu to pursue an acting career but through his work in the industry, he began to receive offers from film makers to feature in their films. He subsequently made his acting debut in C. V. Rajendran's Sangili (1982), a remake of the Hindi film Kalicharan, where he was cast in a supporting role. By the time Sangili released, Prabhu was working on six films including Charuhasan's Pudhiya Sangamam and Gangai Amaren's romantic film Kozhi Koovuthu, which became his first commercially successful venture. After featuring in around thirty films, including nineteen with his father including many 100 days films and Silver Jubilee Hits like Santhippu, Mirudhanga Chakravarthy Neethibathi Vellai Roja etc., Prabhu's career graph registered a drop due to tough competition from other young heros like Karthik, Sathyaraj, Vijayakanth as they mastered choosing subjects and it was then Prabhu began to reconsider the type of films he had signed. He was advised by his father to do it alone selecting characters with substance, than piling on playing second fiddle in any film there after. After this advise from his father, Prabhu consciously began to choose subjects rather than accept as many offers as possible.
Among the first films he signed after taking the break included G. M. Kumar's Aruvadai Naal (1986) and Manivannan's Paalaivana Rojakkal alongside Sathyaraj, both proving very successful. Subsequently the following period saw a series of commercial successes in 1988 for the actor notably S. P. Muthuraman's Guru Sishyan with Rajinikanth, Mani Ratnam's Agni Nakshatram with Karthik and P. Vasu's family drama En Thangachi Padichava. The success of the latter film prompted more successful collaborations in the same genre between Prabhu and Vasu with Chinna Thambi (1991) and Senthamizh Pattu (1992) also receiving a similar reception, with the actor earning the Best Actor award recognition by the Tamil Nadu state. He subsequently worked in his hundredth film R. V. Udayakumar's Rajakumaran, before portraying well received roles in K. Balachander's romantic film Duet (1994) and Priyadarshan's Malayalam period film Kaalapani (1996) alongside Mohanlal. Prabhu went through another barren spell in the late 1990s, when several films after the success of Panchalankurichi failed to do well, prompting another image change away from his village do-gooder roles. Moving away from action films, Prabhu selected scripts which would appeal to family audiences in the early 2000s and collaborated with film makers including Rama Narayanan and T. P. Gajendran, working in a series of minimum guarantee return films.
Prabhu then made another career change and began accepting film offers in which he would play a supporting rather than the leading role and featured alongside Kamal Haasan and then Rajinikanth in two big budget ventures, Vasool Raja MBBS (2004) and his home production Chandramukhi (2005). Since then he has gained acclaim portraying characters including a caring guardian in Unakkum Enakkum, Thaamirabharani and Ayan; while he has also been seen in detective roles in action films, notably Billa (2007) and then Kanthaswamy (2009). He has also played other acclaimed supporting roles in Mani Ratnam's Raavanan (2010) and Aishwarya Dhanush's 3 (2012), while he has ventured into playing similar roles in Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam films.
Prabhu was the youngest child born to actor Sivaji Ganesan and Kamala. His elder brother Ramkumar is a film producer and he has two sisters Shanthi and Thenmozhi. Prabhu married Punitha in 1984 and the couple has two children Vikram Prabhu and Aishwarya Prabhu. Prabhu has been conferred Doctorates by Sathyabama University and Vel's University for his contribution to the film industry. Prabhu was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the TSR National Film Fare Awards Ceremony by Megastar Chiranjeevi and Balakrishna.
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