The superstar Rajinikanth turns 62. Here’s a look at his spectacular life & journey.
His mannerisms and stylized delivery of dialogue in films attributes to his mass popularity and appeal. He was named one of the most influential persons in South Asia by Asiaweek. His supporters and fans says that Rajinikanth has the potential to be successful in Indian politics due to his popularity and fan base alone.
Rajini made his debut as an actor in ‘Apoorva Raagangal (1975)’, a Tamil film directed by K. Balachander, whom the actor considers his mentor. He then worked in Tamil cinema often portraying antagonistic characters and gradually rose to acting in lead roles. Apart from his film career, he is also a philanthropist, spiritualist and serves as an influence in the politics of Tamil Nadu.
Worked as bus conductor….
Rajinikanth was born Shivaji Rao Gaikwad in a Maharashtrian family, on December 12, 1949 in Bangalore.
He was the youngest of four children and has two older brothers and a sister. After the death of his mother he struggled with an impoverished lifestyle during his childhood. During that time, he often did odd jobs as a coolie in his community. He attended the Acharya Patasala for elementary education and had his higher education at the Ramakrishna Mission in Bangalore.
Between 1968 and 1973 he worked in many places in Chennai, thus moving continuously from Bangalore to Chennai. He performed various jobs before joining the then Bangalore Transport Service (BTS) as a bus conductor. In 1973, his friend and co-worker Raj Bahadur motivated him to join the Madras Film Institute and also financially supported him for 2 years.
Rajinikanth has acted in over 150 films, including Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi, English, andBengali films. He also appeared in a supporting role in the American film ‘Bloodstone’.Also made brief stints in theGerman and Japanese film industries. His film Muthu was dubbed into Japanese and became a major hit in Japan. In 2005, his film Chandramukhi was dubbed in German and released in all German-speaking nations.
Highest paid Indian Actor
After being paid Indian rupees 26 cr for his role in Sivaji (2007), he became the highest paid actor in Asia after Jackie Chan.
Turning point of his career : In 1978, Rajinikanth acted in the film ‘Bairavi’. This was the first Tamil film to cast him as a solo hero. Later ‘Mullum Malarum’ won him critical acclaim. The success of ‘Bhuvana Oru Kelvikkuri’prompted Muthuraman to make a mushy melodrama with Rajinikanth as a hero sacrificing everything for his siblings in ‘Aarilirunthu Arubathu Varai (1979)’. These films were the turning points in Rajinikanth’s career; he changed from an actor who merely enthralled the audiences to one who could also evoke emotions. The acceptance of Rajinikanth sans his stylized mannerisms proved he had at last become a “super star” from a “common actor.”
During this phase, when he was reaching dazzling heights, Rajinikanth abruptly chose to quit acting, but was coaxed back. He continued acting with the blockbuster Tamil film ‘Billa’, which was a remake of the blockbuster Bollywood movie‘Don’. ‘Billa’ was followed by a row of hits, namely ‘Murattu Kaalai’, ‘Pokkiri Raja’, ‘Thanikattu Raja’, ‘Naan Mahaan Alla’ and ‘Moondru Mugam’. K. Balachander’s first home production, ‘Netrikan’ proved to be yet another milestone in Rajni’s career. He acted in his first cameo role alongside Meena Durairaj, who was a child actor then, in the movie ‘Anbulla Rajinikanth (1984)’.
The majority of his movies released during the nineties were extremely successful, notably ‘Thalapathy’, ‘Mannan’,‘Annamalai’, ‘Veera’, ‘Badsha’, ‘Muthu’, and ‘Padayappa’. Rajinikanth wrote his first screenplay and made a special appearance in the film ‘Valli (1993)’, which failed to make an impact at the box office. His film ‘Badsha’ emerged as an industrial record. His film ‘Muthu’ was the first Tamil film to be dubbed into Japanese (as ‘Mutu: Odoru Maharaja’) and grossed a record $1.6 million in Japan in 1998. In fact, its success in Japan led the American news magazine Newsweek to comment in a 1999 article that Rajinikanth had “supplanted Leonardo DiCaprio as Japan’s trendiest heartthrob”.
During a visit to Japan in 2006, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh acknowledged the success of ‘Muthu’ in the country during a speech, justifying the positive relationship between the two nations. ‘Chandramukhi’ is notable for being the longest-running Tamil film in India, playing for a total of over 800 days. ‘Sivaji‘ was instrumental in making one of the largest releases for an Indian film in the world; the film entered the list of top ten films of the United Kingdom upon release. ‘Chandramukhi’ and ‘Sivaji’ were also released in South Africa, where they eventually became high box-office grossers. A clip from his 1990 Tamil film ‘Adhisaya Piravi’ became a hugely popular viral video Little Superstar, an internet phenomenon in 2006.
Involvement in Politics
Several local fan associations of Rajinikanth in Tamil Nadu have continuously wanted him to take active participation in politics. In this regard, a few fans in Coimbatore started their own political party in 2008 for Rajinikanth, in an attempt to pressure his entry in politics. The party was named the ‘Desiya Dravadar Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (DDMMK)’, introducing its own flag and symbol for the party.After learning about this, Rajinikanth wrote an open letter to the media and declared that he had no connection with these events and warned fans not to indulge in such activities and that he would take legal action if they failed to adhere. He also mentioned that he was not interested in politics and thus, was only committed to working in films. He added that nobody can force him to enter politics, just as no one can stop him from entering it.
Rajinikanth joined in support of Tamil actor Ajith Kumar, who spoke against the forceful inclusion of Tamil cinema personae in political affairs. He attended an event organised in support of the Sri Lankan Tamil cause with the Tamil film fraternity in late 2008, taking part in a one-day fast demanding the government of Sri Lanka to stop the war, the murder of innocent civilians and to give Tamils their rights and their traditional land, stating this was in the best interests for the people of the island.
Why Rajini is special?
Rajinikanth doesn’t care about fame. He is the only Indian super-star actor who will appear in public without his wig, Rajinikanth humbly separates the real and the reel with no hang-ups to show for it and smiles and jigs his way to box-office success almost every time.
And that’s why millions love him.
by…. Vamshi Paruchuri