Full Biography of Director Venkat Prabhu
Venkat Kumar Gangai Amaren (born on 7 November 1975), better known by his stage name Venkat Prabhu is an Indian filmmaker, who has worked as an actor, director and playback singer in the Tamil film industry. After completing his education, he began pursuing an acting career, with his first three ventures, featuring him in a starring role, failing to release, following which he began appearing in character roles. He hogged spotlight for the first time when he turned director with the summer hit Chennai 600028 (2007). He achieved further commercial successes with his subsequent directorials Saroja (2008) and Mankatha (2011).
Venkat Prabhu lived in London, United Kingdom for seven years; during that time, he completed his high school and university studies, obtaining a degree in Accounting. After pursuing his music degree from Trinity College of Music, London, he had the ambition to become a successful music director. Following his return to India, Prabhu began singing for demo works of his cousins, Yuvan Shankar Raja and Karthik Raja, and started his career as a playback singer in the film industry. In 1996, he, his brother Premgi Amaren and his childhood friend S. P. B. Charan set up a music band called Next Generation, which also featured Yugendran and Thaman as members, and did several stage performances. The following year, Prabhu played the lead role opposite Sangeetha in a film titled Poonjolai directed by his father Gangai Amaren, but the film was cancelled in the midst and attempts to revive and release the film by the late-2000s were unsuccessful. Prabhu starred in two more ventures, alongside his friends S. P. B. Charan and Yugendran, Wanted, directed by Premgi Amaren, and Agathiyan's Kadhal Samrajyam, both failing to release as well. Venkat Prabhu was then approached to essay supporting roles, with April Maadhathil (2002), becoming his first release. He went on to play character roles in nearly ten films, the most notable ventures being N. Linguswamy's Ji, starring Ajith Kumar, and the Perarasu-directorial Sivakasi, featuring Vijay in the lead role. He also played lead roles in Samuthirakani's directorial debut Unnai Charanadaindhen and Gnabagam Varuthey (2007), both co-starring Charan.
In 2007, Venkat Prabhu ventured into film directing with the sports comedy film Chennai 600028, produced by S. P. B. Charan that revolved around a street cricket team from a suburban area in Chennai, with its players being portrayed by 11 newcomers, including his brother Premgi. The film emerged a sleeper hit, garnering high critical acclaim and becoming labelled a "cult classic" in the following years, which led to the lead cast growing in popularity. He next directed the comedy thriller film Saroja (2008), the title being derived from a hit number from Chennai 600028, which also featured an ensemble cast including Charan and Premgi. The film followed the journey of four young men who, by taking a diversion off the main road, land into the hands of a kidnapper gang; it received positive response from critics and at the box office as well. He followed it up with Goa (2010), a full-length comedy film, which received mixed response and fairly well at the box-office. In 2011, he directed his biggest project to date, the action thriller Mankatha, featuring Ajith Kumar in the lead role went on to become one of the highest grossing Tamil movies of all time.
Venkat Prabhu is the son of director-cum-music-director Gangai Amaran and older brother to actor, singer and music director Premji Amaran. His uncle is the music director Ilayaraaja and his cousins are the music composers Yuvan Shankar Raja, Karthik Raja and singer Bhavatharini. S. P. B. Charan, producer of Prabhu's first directorial venture Chennai 600028, is his very close friend and they both have worked together on several projects.
He did his schooling at annur higher school in Chennai. On 10 September 2001, Venkat Prabhu married Rajalakshmi, the foster daughter of dance teacher K. J. Sarasa, and has a daughter named Shivani. Shivani has already sung a song for the album Thaaaii when she was 5 years old.
Venkat Prabhu often casts certain actors more than once in his films. His younger brother Premji, Jai, Shiva, Vaibhav and Sampath Raj are among his most frequent acting collaborators.
Venkat's cousin, Yuvan Shankar Raja, has composed the music for all his films, whilst another cousin, Vasuki Bhaskar, contributes as the costume designer. Duo Praveen and Srikanth have been Venkat's editors and Sakthi Saravanan has served as cinematographer for all of Venkat's films.
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