Bhagyaraj was born to Krishnaswamy and Amaravathiamma. 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. The couple have a daughter Saranya Bhagyaraj who debuted in the 2006 film Parijatham and a son Shanthnu Bhagyaraj who made his debut in Sakkarakatti. He made his debut as a composer in the film Idhu Namma Aalu in 1988. He also composed musics for the films Pavunnu Pavunuthan, Gnanapazham. Beginning his career as an assistant to directors G Ramakrishnan and Bharathiraja, Bhagyaraj became recognised for his scriptwriting talent. He made his directorial début with Suvarillatha Chiththirangal in 1979 and also his debut as the leading man in Puthiya Vaarpugal in 1979 directed by Bharatiraja. His first commercially successful main lead hero film was Bhama Rukmini in 1980. Success of Bhama Rukmini was followed by 12 films directed by him – starring him as the main lead which were box-office hits are 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. 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 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.