Srinivas was born to Muniswami and Parvathamma in 1943 as their fourth son. He had 8 siblings. He lost his parents at a young age. Right from his childhood days, Srinivas had always been interested in theatre and cinema and was a regular participant in his school and college plays. During one of these plays, he caught the eye of another theatre artist M. P. Shankar, with whom he later went on to star in many Kannada films. Srinivas then became a regular member of Shankar's camp and had to discontinue his education during his pursuing of Bachelor of Science from St. Philomena's College in Mysore.
Srinivas made his debut in film in 1966 with K. S. L. Swamy's Kannada language film Thoogudeepa. His was then on referred to as Thoogudeepa Srinivas. He went to appear in many other successful films like Mayor Muthanna, Bangaarada Panjara, Gandhada Gudi, Kalla Kulla, Vasantha Lakshmi and Sahasa Simha. He appeared in many films as a villain with Rajkumar as the lead actor and his partner in crime included other popular actors like Vajramuni, Doddanna and Dheerendra Gopal.