Prakash Raj (born 26 March 1965) is an Indian film actor, director, producer, thespian, television presenter, activist and politician who is known for his works in the South Indian film industry, and Hindi-language films. He acted in back-to-back stage shows for ₹300 a month in the initial stages of his career, when he joined Kalakshetra, Bengaluru, and he has 2,000 street theatre performances to his credit.After working in the Kannada television industry and the Kannada cinema for a few years, he made his debut in Tamil cinema through Duet (1994), by K. Balachander, and has since been a commercially successful film star in Tamil. In remembrance, he named his production company Duet Movies. Prakash has also worked in a number of Hindi-language films.
Apart from his mother tongue Kannada, Prakash Raj's fluency in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Marathi, Hindi and English has placed him among the most sought after actors in Indian cinema.A polyglot, he played a variety of roles, most notably as the antagonist and, of late, as a character actor. Prakash, as an actor has won a National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1998 for Mani Ratnam's Iruvar, a National Film Award – Special Mention (feature film) for the Telugu film Antahpuram, directed by Krishna Vamsi in 1998 and a National Film Award for Best Actor in 2007 for his role in Kanchivaram, a Tamil film directed by Priyadarshan,As a producer, he has won a National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Kannada for Puttakkana Highway, directed by his long-time theatre friend B. Suresh in 2011. Prakash was also the host of Neengalum Vellalam Oru Kodi during the show's second season.
He is also known as Prakash Rai.