Superstar Rajinikanth, the carpenter-turned-coolie-turned-conductor-turned Super Star’s real name was Shivaji Rao Gaekwad. Rajinikanth literally rules over the millions of hearts of his fans who not only love him but also worship him. Although, his mother tongue is Marathi but still he has not done any movie in it.
The famous Tamil film director, Aishwarya R. Dhanush is Rajinikanth’s daughter and been married to film actor Dhanush. Aishwarya has a younger sister, Soundarya, who works in the Tamil film industry as well.
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Rajnikanth was always a shy and reserved kind of person. Anyone, who had the privilege of a meeting the ‘Thalaivar’ has come away with a spring in his step and a warm glow in the heart. He is praised as a warm, friendly and affable human being. The popular Rajinikanth’s movies include Kabali, Enthiran, Lingaa, Baasha and much more to count.
Rajnikanth’s Early Life
Rajnikanth was born on December 12, 1950, in a Marathi family. Rajinikanth was the fourth child of his parents Ramabai and Ramoji Rao Gaekwad. His father was a police constable in police and mother as a housewife. He has two brothers and a sister. At the age of five, he lost his mother. One of his brothers got admitted him to the Acharya Pathasala for primary schooling, where he started his schooling before moving to Vivekananda Balaka Sangha, a branch of the Ramakrishna Mission. Many people connect his humble nature and religious frame of mind to his education at the Ramakrishna Mission.
From the very childhood, Superstar Rajnikanth was an avid movie watcher and gradually, he got involved in dramas and plays. After the retirement of his father, the financial condition of the family deteriorated. Hence, he took various odd jobs- worked as a carpenter and then as a coolie to fund his further education. Soon, he became notable among the passengers due to his unique style of issuing tickets, returning change and whistling. After completing his job hours, Rajnikanth used to nurture his acting skills by participating in local stage plays.
He had to take up all sorts of odd jobs, before starting his career in the film industry. To make his ends meet, he took up a bus conductor job in Karnataka state transport corporation, Bangalore. During this time, he got into acting and nurtured his acting interests by performing in various stage plays. He started his journey with minor roles and gradually rose to the status of hero and then the ultimate superhero of the film industry.
Rajnikanth’s Career Phase
The legend of the Tamil movie industry was launched in the movie ‘Aboorva Raagangal’ by the renowned director, K.Balachandar. It’s been 45 years that the Super Star made his debut with an inconsequential role in a Tamil film. From the role of villain to a blockbuster hero, the gifted actor has made the most of every outing. And he truly deserves every bit of it. His life is no less than a fairy tale. He came from a lower middle-class family without any links in the film industry.
In 1973, after going through an advertisement in a local newspaper about admissions in the Madras Film Institute, he got himself enrolled in it. For this, he took the financial help from one of his colleague and also resigned from the conductor job. Although, he family was against his decision of quitting the conductor’s job due to the poor financial condition but Rajnikanth didn’t budge on his stand.
At that time, K. Balachander was a well-known movie maker and was famed for launching new talents in the Tamil film industry. Fortunately, superstar Rajnikanth got K. Balachander’s attention and got a role offered on the condition that he would achieve good proficiency in the Tamil language.
The movie, Apoorva Raagangal was launched in 1975 with Kamal Hassan in the lead role. In the whole movie, Rajnikanth had the appearance of hardly 15 minutes. In spite of his roles, Rajnikanth showed his screen presence and was signed by producers to portray anti-hero roles in the next handful of movies. He got his role makeover form the movie Bhuvana Oru Kelvi Kuri in 1977, which was box office success. After this hit, he got the lead role of an elder brother who sacrifices everything for his siblings made him very popular among women audience and considered as a turning point in his career. This role got him accolades from the film industry and as well as the audience.
Rajinikanth’s Signature Moves
- Cigarette flip- Nobody can come close to the sophistication by which Rajinikanth flips the cigarette to his lips.
- The elegant walk- The flare and grace illustrated in Rajini’s walk are simply incredible.
- Rolling the goggles- It’s not just about the cigarette, the way Rajini flips the goggles a few times before finally wearing them, it drives his fans crazy about his talent.
- Greeting- We all remember the way Rajini greets people with his trademark “Namaskar” style. It would be always on the right or left side of the chin, never at the centre.
- Signature salute-In the movie Padayappa, he quickly revolve his hands in circular motion to wave off his trademark salute
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Take a look at some of the splendid aspects of the multi-talented megastar of the Indian film industry:
- Rajinikanth spent his childhood in a very constraint environment. After the death of his mother, the whole family had to struggle to keep themselves going.
- It was Rajinikanth friend, Raj Bahadur, who asked him to enrol his name in the Madras Film Institute. We do owe a lot of gratitude to this man.
- Rajinikanth kick-started his acting career with the role of Duryodhan in a Kannada play at the Film Institute. During one of his performances in those plays, he was spotted by director K. Balachander. After that, there was no looking back!
- For his triple role for the very first time in any Tamil film, Tamil Nadu government bestowed him with the Best Actor award for the movie, Moondru Moogam.
- Rajinikanth completed the milestone of hundred films in mere 10 years since he made his debut. The movie had him as the on-screen avatar of Raghavendra Swami in the film Sri Raghavendra. Rajinikanth being spiritual in nature, helped him to slip into the character to the perfection.
- The movie ‘Baasha’ earned Rajinikanth the title of the superstar in the year 1995. The film broke several box office records and established him as one of the best actors in the Indian film industry.
- Rajinikanth movie ‘Muthu’ was the first Tamil film to be showcased on the international stage and was the very first film to be released in Japan.
- According to Newsweek magazine in 1999, Rajinikanth was stated to be the trendiest heartthrob of Japan.
- Rajinikanth is the only megastar to visit the Himalayan caves
- After every film, Rajinikanth visits the Himalayan caves, which according to him detoxifies his soul and he attains peace.
- The movie ‘Sivaji’ was the first Tamil movie to move to the top of the box office charts in the UK and South Africa.
- Rajinikanth’s Enthiran was the costliest Tamil movie till date and was released in 2010. It held the record for being the costliest Indian movie of that time.
- According to Forbes India, Rajinikanth was named as the most influential Indian in 2010.
- Rajinikanth has been honoured by the NDTV as the ‘Entertainer of the decade’ award in 2011.
- Rajinikanth is the first ever Indian actor to have acted in black-and-white, colour, 3-D as well as motion capture films.
- Rajinikanth’s Raja Chinna Roja was the first Tamil film to have included animation in it.
- Rajinikanth has his featured story in the CBSE syllabus for the 6th standard.
- A case study in an elective course of post-graduation has been included in IIM-Ahmedabad. It is named as Contemporary Film Industry: A Business Perspective.
- Rajinikanth got his first Filmfare Award from the film ‘Nallavanuku Nallavan’ in 1984.
- Rajinikanth has been awarded ‘Padma Vibhushan’ on April 12, 2016. And in 2000, as a token for his contributions to Indian cinema, he was felicitated with the ‘Padma Bhushan’.
So basically, Rajnikanth started his career with a very slow pace in 1975 but with his sheer talent and hard work, he stepped up the stairs of success very quickly and by the end of 1980 and went on to become a well-established star of the Tamil film industry. Rajinikanth’s movie got a lot of recognition not only in India but worldwide also.
Other than Tamil movies, he also acted in other language films including Hindi, Telugu and Kannada. But mainly, he displayed his skills in Tamil movies only. It was after 1995 that his work started getting appreciation and his movies started running all over India by dubbing in various languages. This led to his massive popularity beyond South India.