Vinaya Prasad is from the Udupi district in Karnataka and was brought up in Udupi. She is married to Jyotiprakash who directs television serials. Vinaya was earlier married to V.R.K Prasad, an award winning director and editor of Kannada films who expired in 1995 at a young age. Vinaya has an elder sister Vijaya Satyanarayana and twin sisters Kshama Bhat and Kripa Bhat. Her brother Ravi Bhat is in the television industry as an actor. Vinaya currently resides in Bangalore with her husband Jyotiprakash and daughter Prathama Prasad. Jyotiprakash has a son named Jay who is also in to film direction and writing in Mumbai
Vinaya Prasad made her film debut with a small role in G V Iyer’s Madhwacharya in 1988. She worked in smaller character roles before playing the leading lady in Ganeshana Maduve opposite Ananth Nag. The film was a huge success and she went on to act in more than 60 films in not only Kannada but also Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu. Some of her notable Kannada films include Neenu Nakkare Haalu Sakkare, Ganeshana Maduve, Gowri Ganesha, Mysore Jaana and Suryodaya. She won the Karnataka State's Best Actress Award for her performances in Aathanka (1993) and Bannada Hejje (2001). After a successful career as a heroine, Vinaya has now taken up character roles in South Indian films and remains a sought after actress in Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu movies. Vinaya is also an effective compere and singer. Vinaya has compered several important events like Vasantha Habba in Nrityagram and the annual Dasara procession in Mysore.
Vinaya Prasad starred in a few Malayalam films also before starring in the longest-running and most popular daily soap opera on Malayalam TV, Sthree which aired from late 1997 to mid 2000 on Asianet. The Kannada version of this serial was also made. The popularity of this soap made her a household name among Malayali.
In Tamil, Vinaya has acted as the heroine in the hit movie Thaikulame Thaikulame with Pandiyarajan and Urvasi. She starred in a supporting role in the all-time blockbuster Manichitrathazhu, which starred Mohanlal. In Telugu, Vinaya's movies include Indra, Donga Dongadi and Andhrudu for which her performance won a lot of praise.
In 2006, she returned to the Malayalam small screen to reprise her role as Indu in the sequel to the original Sthree, also named, Sthree.