Prakash Raj is the screen name of Prakash Rai, a National Film Award-winning Indian method actor and producer in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam language films.
Prakash won the National Film Award for Best Actor in 2009 for his role in Kanchivaram, a Tamil film directed by Priyadarshan and won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1998 for the Mani Ratnam film Iruvar.
Prakash has acted in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Hindi films. His original name 'Prakash Rai' was rechristened to 'Prakash Raj' by K. Balachander for Prakash Raj's debut movie 'Duet'. Prakash achieved fame through Tamil films, where he did most of his films. His breakthrough role came in form of Harakeya Kuri starring Vishnuvardhan and Geetha, directed by K S L Swamy.
Prakash Raj is a very famous actor in South India for a wide variety of roles he has performed, most notably as a villain in Tamil and Telugu and of late, as a character artiste. He is also the highest paid villain in Indian cinema. In 1997, he acted in Mani Ratnam's Iruvar. The movie was about the relationship between politicians M.G. Ramachandran and M. Karunanidhi, which he won the best supporting actor award, where he had a chance to act with the malayalam superstar and one of the most talented actor of indian film industry Mohanlal.
One of Prakash Raj's greatest hits was his role of Villain in telugu film Okkadu, where he plays the role of factionist, a gangster who is in love with Bhoomika Chawla. After Okkadu, Prakash Raj was flooded with offers. His 2007 production Mozhi, where he played an important role, was a box office hit and praised by critics proving that he can play a comedy role just as good as playing a negative character. His production venture in Tamil Mozhi, directed by Radhamohan, starring himself, Jyothika, Prithviraj and Swarnamalya was a blockbuster. He recently acted as a rich businessman in Venkat Prabhu's second film Saroja, a box-office hit. His latest movie is Abiyum Naanum in Tamil.