Dhananjay (actor)

Dhananjaya, also known as Daali Dhananjaya is an Indian actor, producer and lyricist who works predominantly in the Kannada film industry. He made his feature film debut in Kannada called Director's Special in 2013 for which he won the best debut actor award at the 3rd SIIMA Awards for his performance.[1] He is widely recognized as a versatile actor for choosing different kinds of roles in films.

Dhananjay (2).jpg
Dhananjay (2019)
Kalenahalli, Arasikere, Hassan, Karnataka, India
Alma materSJCE college, Mysore, Karnataka
OccupationActor *Writer *Lyricist *Producer
Years active2013–present

He got the major breakthrough in the film Tagaru directed by Duniya Soori for his performance as a menacing villain. He is now popularly addressed as “Daali” - the character name in the movie.[2] Dhananjaya has also played roles in films in other languages such as Telugu[3] and Tamil. He has also opened a new production house called “Daali Pictures” through which he is also becoming a producer for the movie titled "Badava Rascal" which is scheduled to release in late 2021.[4][5]

Early life and familyEdit

Dhananjaya was born in Kalenahalli on 23 August, Hassan district, Karnataka. His father was a government primary school teacher. Dhananjaya excelled in studies and had secured top marks for the whole of Hassan District once when he was in 7th standard and then again in 10th standard.[6] He says he grew up watching Dr. Rajkumar movies and hence he started acting in dramas, mono-acting competitions and street plays while he was still in school.[7]

Dhananjaya then moved to Mysore for higher studies and having completed his PUC in Marimallappa College, he secured an engineering seat in one of the reputed engineering colleges in Mysore, SJCE.[8][9] He even got a job in a software company, Infosys. However, he started taking acting more seriously and joined an amateur theatre group called GPIER which was headed and mentored by a senior Rangayana artist named Mime Ramesh.[8][9] He was also recognized and mentored by Germany theatre artist Christian Stückl in Germany.[10][11] During one of his performances in a drama, he was recognised by popular Kannada director Guruprasad and was offered a lead role in a feature film.[9] Thus began his career in Sandalwood.

Film careerEdit

Dhananjaya with the cast and crew at the presentation of the film ‘Allama’, during the 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2016), in Panaji, Goa on 26 November 2016.

Early years (2013 - 2018)Edit

Dhananjaya was offered a lead role in Guruprasad's feature film Director's Special.[12] The film took three years in the making and was finally released in 2013 to mixed and negative responses at the box office. Dhananjaya was lauded for his performance and won the best debut actor award at the 3rd SIIMA Awards for the same. Many prominent filmmakers approached him for the roles in their films. He was then cast in A. P. Arjun's next film Rhaatee opposite Shruthi Hariharan under musician V. Harikrishna's debut production. His next was Preetham Gubbi's film Boxer, produced under Jayanna Films banner, which brought him wide accolades. He was known for his fit boxer's body, which he had achieved by rigorous training.[13][14] He was then offered a role by National award-winning director T. S. Nagabharana for the film Allama which is based on the life of 12th century saint poet Allama Prabhu. Dhananjaya underwent harsh training to master the musical instrument Mridanga and also the classical dance for the role and received great reviews for his performance. Although his movies did not make a big impact on the box office collection, he constantly received good reviews from the audience and critics for his acting skills.

Daali and after (2018 - present)Edit

His biggest breakthrough came when he was offered a negative role named "'Daali" opposite Shiva Rajkumar In Tagaru directed by Duniya Suri. Director Suri has shared that he was a bit hesitant to offer negative role to Dhananjaya as he was always playing good deed doing lead (or hero) roles in his previous movies and was pleasantly surprised when he accepted the offer.[15] The film opened with very good reviews and was declared a huge hit in terms of box office collection. Dhananjaya's acting as a menacing villain won him accolades across the film fraternity, critics and the audience.[16][17] The role earned him nicknames such as "Nataraakshasa", "Nata bhayanakara", "Daali"[2] etc.,. He is currently one of the most sought-after actors who is seen as a capable lead to play both antagonist and protagonist roles. After this movie, he has played many roles with leading actors in the Kannada film industry such as Darshan in Yajamana, Puneeth Rajkumar in Yuvarathna and Duniya Vijay in Salaga as well as paving the way to receive offers for films in other languages.[18]

Beyond SandalwoodEdit

Director Ram Gopal Verma was the one of the first to recognise and appreciate the acting skills of Dhananjaya in Tagaru.[19] He went on to collaborate with Dhananjaya to make a bilingual (Kannada + Telugu) movie named Bhairava Geetha marking Dhananjaya's first film to be released in Telugu.[20][21] Dhananjaya then bagged a role in one of the most anticipated South Indian movie Pushpa opposite Allu Arjun which is due for release in multiple languages.[22][23][24] He is currently also playing a crucial role opposite Vikram Prabhu in the upcoming film Paayum Oli Nee Yenakku which will mark his debut into the Tamil film industry.[25]

Producer, Lyricist and a WriterEdit

Riding on the success of his acting career in Sandalhood, Dhananjaya has setup his own production house "Daali Pictures" named after his popular character Daali.[26] Badava Rascal - A upcoming Kannada film, will be marking Dhananjaya's entry into the journey as a producer under his home banner.[27] The film has the production part and is due for release soon.[28] According to recent announcements Dhananjaya is set to produce second film named Head Bush under his home banner Daali Pictures[29]. The film based on the life-story of Bangalore's infamous underworld don - Jayaraj.[30]

Dhananjaya has also penned for songs in movies that he has starred in as well as other indie films.[31] The upcoming Kannada film named Orchestra - a first production venture by musician Raghu Dixit being one of his first as a lyricist in Kannada film industry.[32][33] He has also written multiple songs for his upcoming movie Badava Rascal among which one of them was released recently and was a huge hit.[34]

Dhananjaya often writes columns in Kannada newspapers choosing topics such as social issues and human values.[35][36]


  Denotes films that have not yet been released


List of films and roles
Year Title Role Language(s) Notes Ref.
2013 Director's Special Dhananjaya Kannada Kannada film debut as lead
2015 Rhaatee Raja Kannada
Boxer Raja Kannada [13][14]
2016 Jessie Jessie Kannada [37]
Badmaash Vijay Kannada [38]
2017 Allama Allama Prabhu Kannada [39]
Eradane Sala Kannada [40][41]
Happy New Year RJ Danny Kannada Cameo Role
2018 Tagaru Daali Kannada [42][2]
Bhairava Geetha Bhairava Kannada
Life Jothe Ondh Selfie Karthik Kannada Cameo Role
2019 Yajamana Mittai Soori Kannada [43][44]
2020 Popcorn Monkey Tiger Tiger Seena Kannada [45]
2021 Pogaru Dhananjay Kannada [46]
Yuvarathnaa Antony Joseph Kannada [47]
Salaga   Samrat Kannada Completed [48]
Thothapuri   Narayana Pillai Kannada Completed [49]
Pushpa   Jolly Reddy Telugu Completed [22]
Rathnan Prapancha   Rathnakara Kannada Completed [50]
Head Bush   M.P.Jayaraj Kannada Filming [51]
Badava Rascal   TBA Kannada Completed [52]
Monsoon Raaga   TBA Kannada Completed [53][54]
Bairagi   TBA Kannada Completed [55]
Paayum Oli Nee Yenakku   TBA Tamil Tamil film debut, Filming [56]
2022 21 Hours  TBA Malayalam Malayalam debut, filming [57]
TBA Kannada Filming

Short FilmsEdit

List of short films and roles
Year Film Role Language Notes
2014 Jayanagar 4th Block Himself Kannada Actor and Story-writer[58]


List of awards and nominations
Title Award Category Result Ref.
Director's Special 3rd SIIMA Awards Best Male Debutant Won [59]
Allama 65th Filmfare Awards South Critics Best Actor Won [60]
Basavaratna-2017 Best Actor Won
Tagaru Zee Kannada Hemmeya Kannadiga Award Best Supporting Actor Won
66th Filmfare Awards South Best Supporting Actor Won [61]
8th SIIMA Awards Best Actor in a Negative Role Won [62]


  1. ^ "SIIMA 2013 winners list". SIIMA Official Site.
  2. ^ a b c "People already call Dhananjaya, Daali". Times of India.
  3. ^ "Bhairava Geetha Telugu Movie Review". 123telugu.com. 14 December 2018. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Dhananjaya's first production venture Badava Rascal". New Indian Express.
  5. ^ "Dhananjaya announces release date for Badava Rascal". The News Minute.
  6. ^ "SSLC Topper Dhananjay". Public TV. 2 April 2018. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  7. ^ "Dhananjaya childhood picture". Vijay Karnataka. 24 July 2020. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Techie turned Actor". DNA India. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  9. ^ a b c "Actor Dhananjaya turns boxer - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  10. ^ "Dhananjay took acting lessons in Germany - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  11. ^ "Dhananjay's going back to his theatre roots!". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  12. ^ Software to Sandalwood: A techie's dream come true
  13. ^ a b Actor Dhananjaya turns boxer
  14. ^ a b Preetham and Dhananjaya to team up for Boxer
  15. ^ "Dhananjay accepted Taguru's villain role while on treadmill- The New Indian Express". cms.newindianexpress.com. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  16. ^ "Tagaru review: Shivrajkumar's gangsta flick fall into the 'classics' category, Suri style". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  17. ^ "Blockbuster Tagaru's remake rights sold to director Muthaiah". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  18. ^ "Dhananjaya signs films in multiple south Indian languages". The News Minute. 12 December 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  19. ^ Upadhyaya, Prakash (29 March 2018). "Ram Gopal Varma praises Soori's Kannada movie Tagaru". www.ibtimes.co.in. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  20. ^ India, The Hans (31 August 2018). "Bhairava Geetha is action packed love story: Ram Gopal Varma". www.thehansindia.com. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  21. ^ "RGV enjoys a film like a child: Dhananjaya". Deccan Herald. 7 December 2018. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  22. ^ a b "Pushpa: Kannada star Dhananjay to play a crucial role in Allu Arjun's film". India Today. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  23. ^ "Dhananjay in Allu Arjun's 'Pushpa'". The News Minute. 20 April 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  24. ^ "Dhananjaya lands a role in Allu Arjun's Pushpa". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  25. ^ "Vikram Prabhu, Vani Bhojan to headline Paayum Oli Nee Yenakku". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  26. ^ NewsKarnataka. "Dhananjay turns producer with 'Badava Rascal'". NewsKarnataka. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  27. ^ "Dhananjay's first production venture 'Badava Rascal' to release on September 24". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  28. ^ "Actor Dhananjaya announces release date of 'Badava Rascal'". The News Minute. 24 July 2021. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  29. ^ "Dhananjay takes over the production of Head Bush". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  30. ^ "Head Bush shoot to begin from August 9 - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  31. ^ "Dhananjay turns lyricist for Hariprriya's D/o Parvathamma". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  32. ^ "Dhananjay writes lyrics - Kannada News". IndiaGlitz.com. 11 May 2018. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  33. ^ "Lyrics are not things that can be bought over-the-counter: Dhananjay". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  34. ^ R, Sumit. "Daali Dhananjay's Udupi Hotelu Song From Badava Rascal Is A Hit - Kanlish News : Karnataka - Latest Kannada Breaking News Today, Headlines, Movies, Fashion, Political, Sports News And Entertainment Channel". Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  35. ^ "ಮಾಡುವ ನೀಡುವ ಕಾಯುವ ನಿಜಗುಣವಿದ್ದೆಡೆ". Vijayavaani. Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  36. ^ "ನಮ್ಮೊಳಗಿನ ಶಿವ". Vijaya Karnataka (in Kannada). Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  37. ^ "'This Will Be A First For Kannada Cinema': Pawan Wadeyar About 'Jessie'". Desimartini. 22 March 2016. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  38. ^ "'Badmaash will mirror politics'- The New Indian Express". cms.newindianexpress.com. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  39. ^ "A perfect contrast". Deccan Herald. 27 January 2017. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  40. ^ "Dhananjay's Eradane Sala with Mentor". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  41. ^ SM, Shashiprasad (4 March 2017). "Eradanesala movie review: Love is where the Mother is". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  42. ^ "Dhananjay back with negative shades as Daali". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  43. ^ S.M, SHASHIPRASAD (1 March 2019). "Yajamana movie review: It's a fan-tastic action thriller". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  44. ^ "Shooting for Darshan's next movie Yajamana starts - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  45. ^ "Daali goes bald for 'Suri Popcorn Monkey Tiger'". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  46. ^ "Dhananjay: I am an actor first and then a hero or villain". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  47. ^ "ಪುನೀತ್ 'ಯುವರತ್ನ' ಚಿತ್ರಕ್ಕೆ ಡಾಲಿ ಧನಂಜಯ್ ಎಂಟ್ರಿ". Vijaya Karnataka (in Kannada). 13 February 2019. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  48. ^ "Duniya Vijay-Dhananjaya in Salaga - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  49. ^ "Director Vijayaprasad is the reason I chose Totapuri: Dhananjay". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  50. ^ "Dhananjay to headline Rohith Padaki's Rathnan Prapancha | Cinemaexpress". m.cinemaexpress.com. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  51. ^ "Dhananjay to play MP Jayaraj, Bengaluru's first underworld don - The New Indian Express". www.newindianexpress.com. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  52. ^ "Dhananjaya to launch a former courier agent as director - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  53. ^ "Dhananjay and Rachita Ram join hands for film? - The New Indian Express". www.newindianexpress.com. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  54. ^ "Dhananjay, Rachita Ram's film titled 'Monsoon Raaga'". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  55. ^ "Happy Birthday Shivarajkumar: Suriya sends him wishes and announces actor's next film with Dhananjay | PINKVILLA". www.pinkvilla.com. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  56. ^ https://www.cinemaexpress.com/stories/news/2020/oct/26/vikram-prabhu-vani-bhojan-to-headline-paayum-oli-nee-yenakku-20980.html
  57. ^ Durga Krishna, Rahul Madhav and Sudev Nair in the Kannada thriller 21 hours
  58. ^ Jayanagar IV Block comes alive in film
  59. ^ "Malaysia to host South Indian International Movie Awards next month". thestar.com. 14 August 2014.
  60. ^ "Winners of the 65th Jio Filmfare Awards (South) 2018". Filmfare. 16 June 2018. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  61. ^ "Winners of the 66th Filmfare Awards (South) 2019". Filmfare. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  62. ^ "SIIMA Awards 2019 full winners list". Times Now. 17 August 2019. Retrieved 19 January 2020.

External linksEdit