Venkatesh Prabhu Kasthuri Raja, known professionally as Dhanush, is an Indian actor, producer, director, writer, lyricist, dancer and playback singer who predominantly works in Tamil cinema. Starring in 46 films over his career, among Dhanush's awards include 13 SIIMA Awards, nine Vijay Awards, seven Filmfare Awards South, five Vikatan Awards, five Edison Awards, four National Film Awards (two as actor and two as producer), and a Filmfare Award. He has been included in the Forbes India Celebrity 100 list six times, which is based on the earnings of Indian celebrities.Dhanush's first film was Thulluvadho Ilamai, a 2002 coming-of-age film directed by his father, Kasthuri Raja. He achieved further success in Polladhavan (2007) and Yaaradi Nee Mohini (2008), both of which were critically acclaimed and commercially successful. His role as a rooster fight jockey in Aadukalam (2010) won him Best Actor at the 58th National Film Awards and Best Tamil Actor Award at the 60th Filmfare Awards South. He continued success with films including 3 (2012), Maryan (2013), Anegan (2015), Kodi (2016), Vadachennai (2018) and Asuran (2019). Vadachennai emerged as the highest-grossing A-rated Tamil film of all time, while Asuran entered the 100 Crore Club earning a revenue of ₹100 crore within a month of its release, when adding the theatrical box office collections with non-theatrical revenue such as satellite, digital, and audio rights. During the 2010s, Dhanush also starred in the action comedy film series Maari (2015) & Maari 2 (2018) and Velaiilla Pattadhari (2014) and Velaiilla Pattadhari 2 (2017).
In 2011, Dhanush's popular song "Why this Kolaveri Di" from the romantic psychological thriller film 3 became the first Indian music video to cross 100 million views on YouTube. He 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, and he made his directorial debut with Pa Paandi (2017). His song "Rowdy Baby" from Maari 2 became one of the most-viewed Indian songs of all time. It is the only South Indian video song to receive 1 billion views on YouTube. Dhanush won his second National Film Award for Best Actor for Asuran (2019).
Early and personal life
Dhanush was born as Venkatesh Prabhu Kasthuri Raja to Tamil film director and producer Kasthuri Raja. 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 respectively.
2002–2010: Career beginnings
Venkatesh Prabhu adopted the screen name "Dhanush" after being inspired by the fictional covert operation from Kuruthipunal (1995). He debuted in the 2002 film Thulluvadho Ilamai, directed by his father Kasthuri Raja, which became a sleeper hit. 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. In 2006, Dhanush worked under his brother in their gangster film Pudhupettai. The film, about a young man's journey from street urchin to gangster received critical acclaim, with Dhanush's performance receiving especial praise. 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.
2011–2014: Critics success
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 co-star Shruti Haasan. The movie was a moderate success, owing to the popularity of the song Why this Kolaveri Di. The song quickly became viral, the first video from India to gain 100 million YouTube views. 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, being among the highest-grossing Tamil films of 2014. 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.
2015–present: Experimental projects
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 penned the story and dialogues for movie. as well as producing it. It was one of the highest-grossing Tamil films of 2017. His films Vadachennai and Maari 2, a sequel to Maari, were released in 2018. Vadachennai was praised by critics and emerged as the highest-grossing A-rated Tamil film of all time, 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 and caste violence and became a box office success, entering the 100 Crore Club for grossing ₹100 crore within a month of its release. 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 mixed reviews.Dhanush's first 2020 release, on Pongal, was the martial arts action film Pattas, directed by R. S. Durai Senthilkumar, in which he played a double role. The film received negative reviews. Dhanush joined the ensemble cast of Chris Evans, Ryan Gosling and Ana De Armas in Russo Brothers Netflix produced film 'The Gray Man'.Dhanush's first 2021 role was his starring role in Karnan, directed by Mari Selvaraj, and featuring Lal, Natarajan Subramaniam, Yogi Babu, Rajisha Vijayan, Gouri Kishan, Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli alongside him. The film released on 9 April, to admiring reviews. He is also starring in Aanand L. Rai's film Atrangi Re, co-starring Akshay Kumar and Sara Ali Khan, releasing in August. Atrangi Re would be marked as Dhanush’s third Bollywood venture.Dhanush's upcoming action thriller black comedy gangster movie 'Jagame Thandhiram', written and directed by Karthik Subbaraj. The movie features Aishwarya Lekshmi and James Cosmo.
Dhanush worked with WWF India to support Earth Hour 2012.
In August 2013, Dhanush was signed by Perfetti India Ltd. as their brand ambassador for Center Fresh chewing gum.
He has made his directorial debut with the movie Power Paandi.
Dhanush worked with WWF India to support Earth Hour 2012. In August 2013, Dhanush was signed by Perfetti India Ltd. as their brand ambassador for Center Fresh chewing gum.He has made his directorial debut with the movie Pa Paandi..