Bhagyaraj was born in Vellankoil 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 who débuted in the 2006 film Parijatham and a son Shanthnu Bhagyaraj who made his début in Sakkarakatti which released in 2008. 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. His first debut film 16 Vayathnile. 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.
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