Venkatesh Prabhu (born 28 July 1983), better known by his stage name Dhanush, is an Indian film actor, producer, director, writer, lyricist, screenwriter and playback singer who usually works in Tamil cinema.He has also starred in a couple Hindi filmsDhanush's first film was Thulluvadho Ilamai, a 2002 coming-of-age film directed by his father, Kasthuri Raja. Over the last 15 years, Dhanush has starred in over 25 films. Dhanush won the Best Actor award at the 58th National Film Awards for his performance in Aadukalam (2010). In 2011, Dhanush's popular song "Why this Kolaveri Di" became the first Indian music video to cross 100 million views on YouTube. Dhanush produces films through his production company, Wunderbar Films. In addition to his best actor award, he has a national award for a movie he produced, Visaranai. He has also won seven Filmfare Awards.
Born to Tamil film director and producer Kasthuri Raja, Dhanush entered acting after being pressured by his brother, director Selvaraghavan. Dhanush married Aishwarya, Rajinikanth's daughter on 18 November 2004. They have two sons named Yatra and Linga, who were born in 2006 and 2010.
Dhanush debuted in the 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. 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. His next film, released later in 2003, was Thiruda Thirudi.
Dhanush appeared in Pudhukottaiyilirundhu Saravanan and Ramana's 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 Thiruvilayadal Arambam, 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. Enai Noki Paayum Thota, directed by Gautham Menon and Vada Chennai are his other expected releases for this year. Dhanush has also signed on to appear in his first international film, titled The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir, to be directed by Ken Scott.
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.