Hailing from Lingarajpuram in North Bangalore, Devraj's sole passion was theatre. He was with B. Jayashree's theatre group Spandana and later with Shankar Nag's Sanket. An employee of HMT for nine years, he entered films through 'Trishula' as a supporting actor in a negative role. He continued as a supporting actor to eventually star in leading roles. In 1986, Devaraj married actress Chandralekha, whom he had met on the sets of his film Sikku. Following this, they appeared together in the 1987 film Kendada Male. After their marriage, Chandralekha quit acting. They have two sons, Prajwal and Pranam. Both sons are active in the Kannada film industry, with Prajwal having established himself as a lead actor. He has also featured in Tamil and Telugu films. Devaraj is popularly referred to as a "Dynamic Hero" in the Kannada film industry. His first released film was 27 Mavalli Circle in 1986. After the success of 27 Mavalli Circle Devaraj acted in many more films mainly in supporting roles. He worked in highly acclaimed films such as Naan Kadavul, Malaikottai and Villu in Tamil and Yagnam, Sri in Telugu.