Born Prakash Rai, Prakash Raj is a native of the state of Karnataka in southern India. Starting out primarily in films of his homeland, Raj soon established himself as a popular performer in Tamil movies and also became a fixture in Telugu productions. In 1994, Raj won widespread recognition for his role in the music-oriented romantic drama "Duet" and thereafter he became an in-demand actor, often appearing in 10 or more films per year. His supporting role alongside Mohanlal in the political drama "Iruvar" (1997) won notable accolades, and he later found success with more sinister performances in the Vijay-starring action movies "Ghilli" and "Sivakasi." By the early 2000s, Raj was occasionally appearing in Hindi productions but still a reliable presence in Tamil films, garnering plenty of attention for his starring role in the silk-centric drama "Kanchivaram." Moving further into the sphere of Bollywood, Raj was featured in the tense crime drama "Wanted" with superstar Salman Khan and also turned up in the action movie "Singham" (2011), starring Ajay Devgan. In 2012, he unveiled the father/son drama "Dhoni," serving as the lead actor, director and screenwriter, and he continued to win over Bollywood audiences with his villainous turns in the hard-hitting "Dabangg 2" (2012), reuniting him with Khan, and the cop film "Policegiri" (2013).