Born on 12 July 1961 in Chennai, Nagaraju Shiva Puttaswamy was the eldest son of film and theatre veteran, Dr. Rajkumar. With a rich legacy to live up to, Nagaraju had already completed a degree in chemistry from the New College, University of Madras, when he stepped into the world of cinema on the advice of the eminent Tamil director K Balachander, who encouraged him to enrol at the MGR Government Film and Television Training Institute. Soon after, Singeetham Srinivasa Rao cast him in Anand (1986), and from there, there was no looking back for the newly christened Shiva Rajkumar. Remembered by millions of his fans as Shivanna, this scion of the first family of Sandalwood had several other sobriquets to his credit. One of them was ‘Hattrick Hero’, bestowed upon him after his next two films, Ratha Sapthami(1986) and Mana Mecchida Hudugi (1987) also topped the box office.
In a career spanning over five decades, Shiva Rajkumar's filmography boasts an impressive 125 movies and more. Like his father, Shiva Rajkumar dabbled in playback singing as well and featured in trailblazing films like Om (1995), Janumada Jodi (1996), Nammoora Mandara Hoove (1996), A.K. 47 (1999), Jogi (2005), Bhajarangi (2013), Killing Veerappan (2016), Shivalinga(2016) and Tagaru (2018). Shiva Rajkumar was also trained in Kuchipudi under the tutelage of Vempetti Chinni Sathyam in Chennai while he was in college, equipping him with dancing skills that would serve him well on the screen. Over the course of his career, Shiva Rajkumar followed in the footsteps of his illustrious father as a voice of the Kannada film industry, particularly vocal in favour of its cause when issues of dubbing came up.