Anandaraj was born on 10 November 1958 in Pondicherry, Puducherry. He liked movies from a very young age. After completing his school he wanted to make a career in cinema but his father wanted him to become a police office.But he persuaded his parents and did what he liked. Later he learnt acting skills from M.G.R. Government Film and Television Training Institute which is located in chennai. After completing his training he struggled hard to get roles in movie and finally in 1988 he was signed for the role of villain film Oruvar Vaazhum Aalayam from where his career began to shine.
Anandaraj was born and brought up in Pondicherry close friend of ravindra Kumar and his father was a businessman. After schooling he wanted his son to be a police officer, but Anandaraj wanted to try something different as he was fascinated with films. Fortunately his family supported his dreams. He joined in M.G.R. Government Film and Television Training Institute, Chennai for a course. Kannada actor Shiva Rajkumar was his classmate.
Anandaraj was under the impression that offers would come his way, but later he had to struggle for an opportunity and finally started off with the 1988 film Oruvar Vaazhum Aalayam starring Prabhu and Sivakumar, where he played the role of a crook and Urimai Geetham, both becoming blockbusters at the box office and later En Thangachi Padichava directed by P. Vasu gave him the much needed break in all the four south Indian languages. Thereafter, he has acted as a villain alongside most of the top actors, like Rajnikanth (Baasha), Vijayakanth (Pulan Visaranai), R. Sarathkumar (Suryavamsam), Mammootty (Makkal Aatchi), Balakrishna (Muddula Mavayya), Chiranjeevi (Gang Leader) and Vijay (Pokkiri).
On playing the hero roles, Anand Raj mentioned, "When one gets popular being a villain, people around you always push you to take the next step and it was one of those phases when I took up offers to play the lead role". He went on to play lead roles in films, David Uncle, Thampi Oorukku Puthusu, Kaaval Nilayam, Palaivana Paravaigal, Katharavan, En Rajangam, Kizhakku Veluthathchu, Government Mappillai, Pokkiri Thampi, Puthiya Aatchi and My India. Even though directors offered him good scripts, the films just didn't work well at the box office.
Anand Raj continued "When you are a hero, you get to do only two or three films a year. But if you are a villain, you get to sign a lot of films". He said he lost his income as his films as hero didn't work, so he decided to play once again the villain as well as character actor roles.
Director Prabhu Deva offered Anandraj, the lead in role and asked not to react to anything even though a baddie is expected to give exaggerated expressions. Prabhu Deva wanted Anandraj to sport a certain look, so he went intense training for a year and lost about 12 kilos and fulfilled Prabhu Deva's expectation to get signed for Action Jackson. He played a don in the film and his look is completely different from the one he had tried the south as he sport a lizard tattoo on his head.
Anandaraj was born in Puducherry and is the second son in the family of eight. His father was an arak merchant.