Southern Supernova

His cut-outs are bathed in milk, his dialogues draw thunderous applause, and theatres will be burnt down if the character he is enacting as is killed. He is a cult actor India, and is a blockbuster supernova.

Worshipped as demi-god, the conductor-turned megastar can switch with ease from comedies to drama and suspense.

He is a philanthropist, spiritualist and was recipient of the Padma Bhushan in 2000.

Childhood

Rajinikanth was born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad on December 12, 1950 in Bangalore to a Marathi family. He lost his mother when he was eleven. Rajinikanth struggled as an impoverished child.

He received his primary education from Gavipuram Government Kannada Model Primary School and a few years later he was enrolled at the Ramakrishna Math, a Hindu monastery where he was taught Vedas.

Upon completion of his education, he performed various jobs including that of a coolie, carpenter and bus conductor. He caught the fancy of the bus travelers with his mannerisms and style of issuing tickets and blowing the whistle.

Career

Looking to become an actor, he joined the Madras Film institute in 1973. At the institute, he caught the attention of a Tamil director who asked him to join Tamil film industry.

His first film was ‘Apoorva Raagangal’ for which he was critically acclaimed. Rajnikanth soon graduated to playing villains and unique brand of villainy vowed the movie-going public. Be it the sadistic husband in ‘Avargal’ or the wolf in sheep’s clothing in ‘Moondru Mudichu’, Rajnikanth was the villain the people loved to hate.

With its phenomenal success he was accepted as a full-fledged hero. The period from 1980 to1989 was the turning point in the career of Rajnikanth as his popularity grew tremendously. However, he abruptly decided to leave acting, but ultimately was coaxed back into it after sometime.

He starred in ‘Billa’ which was a remake of Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Don’. It turned out to be a blockbuster hit which silenced all his critiques. He firmly captured the vacant, action-hero slot in tamil movies with more successful films like Murattukaalai, Pokkiri Raja, Thanikattu Raja.

Rajinikanth wrote his first screenplay and acted in the film Valli (1993) which failed at box office. His film ‘Muthu’ was the first Tamil film to be dubbed into Japanese.

His few movies did not live up to the expectations of the people. When his films didnt do well, he returns the money to his distributors from his own pocket.

However, he made his comeback with

‘Chandramukhi’— the movie created ecords at the box office.

His next movie, “Sivaj: The Boss”, went on to become a major blockbuster. It became the first Tamil movie to be charted as one of the top-ten best films of UK and South Africa box-offices upon release.

Philanthropy

Rajinikanth has given away half of his income to charities. He took the case of campaigning in support of corneal transplantation via television and public speeches.

In 2011, Rajinikanth announced his support for the anti-corruption movement.

Personal Life

Rajinikanth married Latha Rangachari in 1981. The couple has two daughters named Aishwarya Rajinikanth and Soundarya Rajinikanth. Latha runs a school named “The Ashram”.

Ego and starry airs are unknown to this evergreen actor. During breaks he hardly ever rushes to his air-conditioned makeup room. Instead, he prefers to sleep on the sets, even without a pillow, merely covering his eyes with a wet cloth. 

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