Bhagyaraj was born in Vellankovil near Gobichettipalayam in Erode district in Tamil Nadu. His parents were Krishnaswamy and Amaravathiamma. He married twice. His first marriage was with actress Praveena, in 1981. She died due to an aggravated case of jaundice in August 1983. His second marriage was with actress Poornima Jayaram on 7 February 1984. She was his co-star in Darling Darling Darling (1983). The couple have a daughter Saranya Bhagyaraj and a son Shanthnu Bhagyaraj.
Beginning his career as an assistant to directors G Ramakrishnan and Bharathiraja, Bhagyaraj became recognised for his scriptwriting talent. He first appeared as a junior artist playing small supporting roles with screen-space of not more than three minutes in the film like Pathinaru Vayathinile and later appeared similarly in Sigappu Rojakkal (1978). He was assistant director to Bhartiraja in two films – 16 Vayathnile and Kizhake Pogum Rail. Among his early work was writing the script for Bharathiraja's films, Kizhake Pogum Rail (1978), Tik Tik Tik (1981) and writing dialogues for Sigappu Rojakkal. He made his directorial début with Suvarillatha Chiththirangal in 1979 and also his début as the leading man in Puthiya Vaarpugal in 1979 directed by Bharatiraja. He received Best Dialogues Award for Puthiya Vaarpugal (1979). Kanni Paruvathile, a film for which he wrote dialogues and screenplay and acted in negative role, was a huge success. Though now he had not achieved success as a director till 1979, he was motivated with success as the hero with Puthiya Vaarpugal, negative role and as a writer of story and dialogues in Kanni Paruvathile and decided to direct-act-write Oru Kai Oosai, which though not a huge success, gave him his first Best Actor Award.
He quickly established his own concern by 1980 and started producing and directing a string of distinctive films made mainly in the Tamil language. His first commercially successful main lead hero film was Bhama Rukmini in 1980. This film was neither directed-produced nor written by him. His voice was dubbed by some one else in all the films he did till 1980 including Bhama Rukmini. It was from films like Mouna Geetangal he started to dub his own lines in his films. He often stars in lead roles of the films he scripts and directs, effectively carving out a niche for himself in the actor-auteur vein. His style of film making is notable for its relatively elaborate, witty, and double-entered-laced script and socially themed framework. His on-screen personae are typically characterised by their ironic sense of humour and intelligent bravado. Success of Bhama Rukmini was followed by 12 films directed by him – starring him as the main lead which were box-office hits – Vidiyum Vari Kaathiru, Mouna Geethanagal, Indru Poyi Naalai Vaa, Antha Ezhu Natkal, Thooral Ninnu Pochhu, Poyi Satchi, Darling Darling Darling, Dhavani Kannavukal, Munthanai Mudichu, Chinna Veedu, Enga Chinna Rasa and Idhu Namma Aalu. From 1981 onwards successful Tamil films starring him, directed and written by him started being remade in Hindi with first being Mouna Geetangal remade as Ek Hi Bhool and Anztha Ezhu Natkal remade as Woh Saat Din. In the period 1980–1990, he rarely acted in films not directed or not written by him with exceptions being Naan Sigappu Manithan, Anbulla Rajinikanth and En Rathathin Rathame. His next directorial venture Chithirame Chithirame was box-office flop and he directed Mayadari Mogudu in Telugu which was a success. He introduced actress Urvashi in Tamil film Mundhanai Mudichu and actress Kalpana (sister of Urvashi) made her début with 1985 film Chinna Veedu directed by Bhagyraj, a commercially successful film. He received Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Actor for his performance in Mundhanai Mudichu. He became nationally famous when he wrote the script for Mundhanai Mudichu remake in Hindi as Masterji with Rajesh Khanna in the lead role, which was huge success at the box-office. He decided to direct Hindi remake of Bhartiraja's 1984 directorial venture Oru Kaidhayin Diary with Rajesh Khanna in the lead in 1985, but later Khanna due to his date issues had to opt-out and Bhagyaraj cast Amitabh Bachchan in the Hindi remake Aakhree Raasta. Bhagayraj decided to remade classic old Kannada film Mallammana Pavada starring Rajkumar and B Saroja Devi into a new Tamil film Enga Chinna Rasa in 1987, which became a huge blockbuster. In 1989, K Balaji produced Tamil remake of Mr India as En Rathathin Rathame and the film was successful. In 1989, he wrote script for Idhu Namma Allu and decided to produce it but chose not to direct it by himself as he wanted to act-write-direct a film on a serious issue which was Aararo Aaariraro. He received Best Film Award for Idhu Namma Aalu in 1990, directed by Balakumar whereas the other film Aararo Aaariraro also was both critically acclaimed and successful at box-office. After death of MGR in 1987, during a meeting with director C V Sridhar and producer Duraiswamay, an idea came across to Bhagyaraj to make use of unfinished 1977 film Anna Nee En Deivam starring MGR and Lata and make the film Avasara Police 100 starring himself as well in the lead. This 1990 film was widely promoted as a film with MGR and Bhagyaraj in lead role and the film was a huge blockbuster in 1990.
From 1991, he gradually started accepting more acting offers as lead hero where director-producer-scriptwriter would be three different people than he himself writing-directing-acting in his films. Rudhra, Amma Vanthachu, Gnanapazham (1996), Suyamvaram (1999) were such successful films where he was involved only in capacity of that of actor. He also started the weekly magazine 'Bhagya' and he is the editor of that magazine. His successful directorial ventures written by him from 1991 were Pavunnu Pavunuthan, Sundara Kandam, Raasukutti, Veetla Visheshanga, Oru Oorla oru Rajakumari, Vaettiya Madichu Kattu. Failure of his Hindi directorial ventures Akhree Rasta and Mr Bechara made Bhagyaraj to decide that though he may only write scripts for Hindi films and that he would not direct by himself. He decided to remake Veetla Visheshanga as Mr Bechara in Hindi but again his directorial venture in Hindi was not successful. He cast his son Shanthanu Bhagyaraj as the child artist in Vaettiya Madichu Kattu in 1998 and the film dealt with father-son relationship. His successful Tamil films written by him continued to be in demand for Hindi remakes in the 1990s and were huge hits in Hindi – with Avasara Police 100 remade into Gopi Kishen, Sundara Kandam remade as Andaz (1994), Raasukutti remade as Raja Babu, Vaettiya Madichu Kattu remade as Papa The Great which were successful. He also wrote the script for Tamil film Thaikulame Thaikulame (1995) starring Pandiarajan, whose actor-director was not himself in Hindi as Gharwali-Baharwali (1998).
His assistant directors for his directorial ventures Darling Darling Darling, Dhavani Kannavukal, Munthanai Mudichu, Mayadari Mogudu was Pandiarajan whereas Parthiban was his assistant director for Dhavani Kannavukal; later both Pandirajan and Parthiban went on to become director and actors.
He took a break from acting as the lead hero in Tamil films after release of Vaettiya Madichu Kattu (1998) and Suyamvaram (1999) as he was not happy with new scripts from other banners offered to him in 2000 and so from 2000 to 2006 he did not accept any film as the lead hero. Instead he directed TV shows Neenga Nenaicha Saadhikkalanga, Idhu Oru Kadhayin Kadhai (for DD Podhigai) and appeared in Apapadi Podu in Jaya TV in this period. His tele-serial 'Rules Rangachari' as very famous in DD channel & it completed 390 episodes. He wrote and directed the average hit 2003 film Chokka Thangam, an action film starring Vijayakanth. He launched his daughter Saranya Bhagyaraj with Parijatham, which he wrote and directed in 2006 and was a huge flop. He returned to acting with Something Something... Unakkum Enakkum and Rendu in a supporting role and with Kaasu Irukkanum as the lead hero in 2007. From 2007 to present he has been seen in more films as an actor in supporting roles. He directed his adult son Shanthanu Bhagyaraj in a romantic film Siddhu +2 in 2010. He ventured into Malayalam films as supporting actor with Mr Marumakan.
He wrote books like Vaanga Cinemavai Pattri Pesalam, Neenga Nenaicha Saadikkalaam, Ungal Bhagyaraj in Kezhvi Bhadhil (Five Parts) and has written seven novels.Television Shows as judge
Junior Super Star
Junior Super Stars (season 2)