Bharathiraja was born as Chinnasamy to Periyamayakallar and Karuthammal. He is married to Chandra Leelavathi and has two children Manoj Bharathiraja and Janani. Manoj is an actor who was introduced in Tajmahal, he is married to actress Nandana. Janani is married to Malaysian Rajkumar Thambiraja. Bharathiraja's brother-in-law Manojkumar has directed films like Mannukkul Vairam, Vandicholai Chinraasu, Vaanavil and Guru Paarvai. His brother Jayaraj has made his acting debut with Kaththukkutti. His relative Stalin is a television actor who acted in serials like Saravanan Meenatchi and 7C. He entered into Tamil industry in the year 1977. His first directed film 16 Vayathinile. The movie is now regarded as a game-changer and a mile-stone in the modern history of Tamil Cinema. His next film Kizhake Pogum Rail produced similar results and eventually brought in criticisms that Bharathiraja was capable of catering only to village audiences. But, undoubtedly rural themes proved to be his forte as his biggest hits in the 1980s Alaigal Oivadhillai, Mann Vasanai and Muthal Mariyathai were strong love stories in a village backdrop.
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