Venkatesh Prabhu Kasthoori Raja better known by his stage name Dhanush, is an Indian film actor, producer, director, writer, lyricist, screenwriter and playback singer who predominantly works in Tamil cinema.
Starring in 44 films over his career, he has won nine Vijay Awards, seven Filmfare Awards South, five Vikatan Awards, five Edison Awards and three National Film Awards.
Dhanush’s first film was Thulluvadho Ilamai, a 2002 coming-of-age film directed by his father, Kasthuri Raja.
He collaborated with debutant director Vetrimaaran in Polladhavan (2007) which was critically acclaimed and commercially successful.
He collaborated with Vetrimaaran for the second time in Aadukalam (2010), where his role as a rooster fight jockey in the film won him Best Actor at the 58th National Film Awards and Best Tamil Actor Award at the 60th Filmfare Awards South.
Dhanush made his Bollywood debut with Aanand L Rai’s Raanjhanaa (2013). His performance as an obsessive one-sided lover in the film won him the Best Male Debut Award and earned a Best Actor nomination at the 59th Filmfare Awards.
Dhanush produces films through his production company, Wunderbar Films. He made his directorial debut with Pa Paandi (2017).
In 2011, Dhanush’s popular song “Why this Kolaveri Di” from the film 3 (2012) became the first Indian music video to cross 100 million views on YouTube.
His song “Rowdy Baby” from the action comedy film Maari 2 (2018) went viral, becoming one of the most-viewed Indian songs of all time.
As of March 2020, it is the only South Indian video song to receive more than 800 million views on YouTube.
- Full name: Venkatesh Prabhu Kasthoori Raja
- Profession: Indian actor
- Born: 28 July 1983 (age 36 years), Theni Allinagaram, India
- Height: 1.68 m
- Spouse: Aishwarya R. Dhanush (m. 2004)
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Dhanush was born to Tamil film director and producer Kasthuri Raja on 28 July 1982. He entered acting after being pressured by his brother, director Selvaraghavan.
Dhanush married Aishwarya, Rajinikanth’s eldest daughter on 18 November 2004. They have two sons named Yatra and Linga, who were born in 2006 and 2010.
Dhanush debuted in the 2002 film Thulluvadho Ilamai, directed by his father Kasthuri Raja, which received mostly positive reviews from critics and the public.
He then appeared in his brother Selvaraghavan’s first directorial venture Kadhal Kondein in 2003.
The film portrayed Dhanush as a mentally-disturbed youth, Vinodh, who yearned for the love of his friend, eventually turning possessive of her.
Upon release, the film won critical acclaim and also became a major commercial success, eventually becoming Dhanush’s first major breakthrough in Tamil cinema. His next film was Thiruda Thirudi.
In 2004, Dhanush appeared in Pudhukottaiyilirundhu Saravanan and Sullan. Later, he also appeared in Dreams, another film panned by critics.
The film was directed by his father, like their previous ventures. In 2005, Dhanush appeared in Devathaiyai Kanden. Later, it was dubbed into Telugu, and in the same year, he also worked on Balu Mahendra’s Adhu Oru Kana Kaalam.
Pudhupettai re-united Dhanush with his brother. Dhanush’s portrayal was praised by critics[vague].The Telugu dubbed version was titled Dhoolpet.
Dhanush went on to star in the commercial entertainer Thiruvilaiyaadal Aarambam, romancing Shriya Saran.
Dhanush’s first release of 2007, Parattai Engira Azhagu Sundaram did not go well. The film was a remake of the successful Kannada language film Jogi.
However, his second film Polladhavan was released during Diwali 2007. Polladhavan was based on the 1948–Italian neorealist film The Bicycle Thieves and Dhanush’s performance was appreciated.
The remake of a Telugu film directed by his brother formed the plot line for Dhanush’s next movie directed by debutant Mithran Jawahar. The movie was titled Yaaradi Nee Mohini.
He later appeared in a cameo appearance, for his father-in-law Rajinikanth’s venture Kuselan. His subsequent venture was Suraj’s Padikathavan, which was released in January 2009. His performance was praised and well received.
His next two films Kutty and Uthama Puthiran, were both collaborations with director Mithran Jawahar.
Dhanush’s first release in 2011, which he had shot for over three years, was Aadukalam, marking his second collaboration with Vetrimaran.
Dhanush played the role of a local cockfighter and described the venture as his “Dream Project” during production.
The film gained highly positive reviews and won six awards at the 58th National Film Awards, with Dhanush receiving the National Film Award for Best Actor, becoming the youngest actor to win the award.
Dhanush appeared in an extended guest appearance in Subramania Siva’s Seedan. His next two ventures were the action films, Mappillai, a remake of his father-in-law’s same-titled 1989 film and Venghai, by Hari, which received mixed reviews but was a commercial success.
Dhanush’s next film, Mayakkam Enna, in which he once again collaborated with his brother, casting him with Richa Gangopadhyay, received largely positive reviews.
His only 2012 release was 3, directed by his wife, Aishwarya Rajinikanth with Shruti Haasan. The movie was a moderate success, owing to the popularity of the song Why this Kolaveri Di.
In 2013, he appeared in Maryan opposite Parvathy, which was applauded by critics, but became an above-average grosser at the box office.
His next release was Naiyaandi, directed by A. Sarkunam, which did not make any notable impact at the box office.
He made his debut in Bollywood with the film Raanjhanaa, directed by Aanand L.Rai opposite Sonam. The film was released on 21 June 2013 with the Tamil dubbed version Ambikapathy releasing a week later.
This film had background score composed by A. R. Rahman, and it grossed over 135 crore rupees worldwide.
Dhanush’s first film of 2014 was Velaiyilla Pattathari, which was also his 25th film and was directed by Velraj. It received mostly positive reviews and was a success.
His next release was Shamitabh, released in year 2015 which was also his second Hindi film directed by R. Balki. It opened to very high positive reviews and was praised for the concept, but failed at the box office.
His next film Anegan, was a psychological thriller directed by KV Anand, which generated positive reviews and became a box office success.
Dhanush’s next release in 2015 was the action comedy Maari, featuring Kajal Aggarwal, Robo Shankar and Vijay Yesudas.
Directed by Balaji Mohan and composed by Anirudh Ravichander, it was released worldwide on 17 July 2015.
He also appeared in Thanga Magan, directed by Velraj with Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Amy Jackson, K. S. Ravikumar and Raadhika.
In 2016, Dhanush appeared Thodari, which was an action thriller film set on a train and Kodi, a political action thriller.
He played a cameo in his directorial debut Power Paandi, which released on 14 April 2017. Velaiilla Pattadhari 2, directed by his sister-in-law Soundarya Rajinikanth, was his first film of 2017 as a lead actor. He has penned the story and dialogues for this movie and also produced it.
His films Vadachennai and Maari 2, a sequel to Maari, were released in 2019. Vadachennai was praised by critics while Maari 2 got mixed reviews.
Dhanush’s first international film, titled The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir, released in 2019 worldwide and was a flop.
His main 2019 release, Asuran, was praised by critics for its gritty portrayal of land violence and the film was eventually a box office success.
His next release, a romantic thriller titled Enai Noki Paayum Thota was released on 29 November 2019 after several delays due to financial problems and it received positive reviews.
Dhanush occasionally records music, generally for his own films. He was introduced as a playback singer in Pudhukottaiyilirundhu Saravanan, by its composer Yuvan Shankar Raja and collaborated again with him in his brother Selvaraghavan’s directorial, Pudhupettai.
He sang further numbers in Selvaraghavan’s films Aayirathil Oruvan and Mayakkam Enna; the former featured him alongside his wife Aishwarya Rajinikanth.
“Why this Kolaveri Di” was released on YouTube in 2011 as part of the soundtrack to the film 3, the directorial debut of Aishwarya Dhanush.
The song became the most searched video in India. Anirudh Ravichander was the soundtrack composer for the film and Dhanush wrote much of the lyrics.
He has also sung “No Problem” in the Kannada movie Vajrakaya and “Thikka” in the Telugu movie Thikka.
Dhanush has sung for the very first time in a film in which he is not part of, for the debutant musician Ganesh Chandrasekaran in the film Ezhumin. The song was received well among the audience as he famously renders it emotionally.