As is widely believed and asserted by the actor himself, Dhanush is the son of Tamil filmmaker Kasthuri Raja and his wife Vijayalakshmi. He was born as Venkatesh Prabhu to the couple on July 28, 1983. Dhanush made his acting debut in 2002 with Thulluvadho Ilamai helmed by Kasthuri Raja. The actor’s older brother is filmmaker Selvaraghavan, who has collaborated with him on numerous projects like Kaadhal Kondein (2003) and Pudhupettai (2006).
However, in 2016, Dhanush’s paternity was called into question when an elderly couple named R Kathiresan and K Meenakshi from Melur, Tamil Nadu, claimed that Dhanush was their estranged biological son, who ran away to Chennai in order to become an actor.
Silverscreen India brings to you a timeline of this case over the years.
November 2016: R Kathiresan and K Meenakshi from Melur file a petition with the Madurai bench of the Madras High court, alleging that Dhanush is their third son, born as Saravana Prabhu. In their petition, the couple claim that he ran away from home when he was a teenager, and began to work for filmmaker Kasthuri Raja in Chennai. When they attempted to see Dhanush in the city, they were prevented from doing so by Raja, they further allege. The couple also demand a monthly maintenance sum of Rs 65000 from Dhanush.
January 2017: Dhanush approaches the Madras HC to quash the case filed by the couple. In his petition, Dhanush denies he is their son and insists that he was born as Venkatesh Prabhu to Kasthuri Raja and Vijayalakshmi at the Children’s Hospital in Egmore, Chennai, on July 28, 1983, and later changed his name after entering the film industry. Dhanush terms the couple’s petition a case of blackmail.
February 2017: The couple stick to their claim that Dhanush is their biological son and claim that the actor produced a fake birth certificate in court. Dhanush, meanwhile, argues that the magistrate should not have summoned him without any prima facie evidence and on the basis of a mere complaint filed by the couple. He asks the court to dispense with his appearance and dismiss the case. In a counter-affidavit, the couple claim to have sufficient evidence to prove that Dhanush is their son, if a trial is conducted.
March 2017: The couple file a fresh petition asking for a DNA test to be conducted. In view of this, the Madurai bench of Madras HC stays all further proceedings. Meanwhile, Kasthuri Raja denies the allegations made by the couple and affirms that Dhanush is indeed his son. Terming the couple’s claims “baseless,” Kasthuri Raja notes that he has been in the public eye since 1991 and everyone knows that Dhanush is his son. The case is adjourned to April.
April 2017: Despite his refusal to undergo a DNA test citing privacy reasons, Dhanush wins the paternity case. Reports suggest that he won the case as there were no birthmarks on the actor’s body as claimed by the couple. Kasthuri Raja says that though the paternity claim did not bother him as he knew it was ‘baseless’, Dhanush being dragged to court concerned him.
October 2017: Dhanush is accused of presenting fake documents in court by the couple. They file a complaint against the actor with the Ko Pudur Police Station in Madurai. Kathiresan alleges that the actor had produced fake birth certificate and education certificates during the hearing of the paternity case. He also vows to continue the legal battle until a resolution is found. The couple appeal to the Chennai Commissioner of Police to intervene on their behalf and instruct the Ko Pudur police station to register the case.
January 2019: Madurai bench of the HC orders that a notice be sent to Dhanush, and the Madurai police seeks explanation from the actor about the false document charges made by the couple.
March 2019: The couple file a petition with the Supreme Court, appealing for the paternity case to be transferred from the Madurai bench of the Madras HC to either Kerala or Karnataka.
December 2020: Madurai Judicial Magistrate VI Court states that no evidence was found to support the claim that the documents presented by Dhanush were forged. Noting that no prima facie case was made, the court dismisses Kathiresan’s petition.
May 2022: The elderly couple moves the Madras High Court, again alleging that the actor had forged the documents he submitted to court. They also ask for the 2020 order to be quashed. The court summons Dhanush.