Happy Birthday Rajinikanth: The superstar’s journey to stardom is as interesting as the man
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Happy Birthday Rajinikanth: The superstar’s journey to stardom is as interesting as the man

As Rajinikanth turns 67, here’s looking at some lesser-known facts about the superstar, and what makes him one of the biggest film icons of all time.

regional movies Updated: Dec 12, 2017 12:46 IST
Shreya Mukherjee
Shreya Mukherjee
Hindustan Times
Happy Birthday Rajnikanth,Rajnikanth,Rajnikanth turns 67
Superstar Rajnikanth turns 67 today.

From a bus conductor earning Rs 750 to becoming the highest paid Asian actor after Jackie Chan, South superstar Rajinikanth’s life is what dreams are made of.

Born to a Maharashtrian couple in Bangalore, Jijabai and Ramoji Rao Gaikwad, Rajini, whose real name is Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, was the youngest among four siblings. After completing class twelve at Acharya Pathashala, when his father asked him if he is interested to go to the university, he answered in the negative and instead began to act in plays. Meanwhile, the actor also did many odd jobs before his elder brother Satyanarayana decided to get him a proper employment. And that’s when he obtained a conductor’s licence with Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation. In one of his earlier interviews he had said, “I’m an ordinary person. Before I was a bus conductor, I was an office boy, a coolie, a carpenter.”

During his stint as a bus conductor, he met his best friend Raja Badhar. And he was the one who encouraged him to pursue his film acting dreams and also helped him financially when he left his job to join the film Institute in Chennai. After attaining success, Rajinikanth helped all his friends who had his back when he was struggling.

Interestingly, Rajinikanth began her professional career with mythological Kannada plays, in which he was popular for the portrayal of the character of Duryodhana, from the epic mythological book, Mahabharata.

As he turns 67 today, we celebrate his birthday by looking at some interesting facts about the actor. Read on:

1. Rajinikanth got noticed by director K Balachander during the performance in one of his Kannada plays at the film Institute. He liked his performance and before leaving told him, “Learn Tamil”. And the actor made his film debut in the Tamil language Apoorva Raagangal (1975) helmed by K Balachander.

2. The actor played many negative characters and roles, having grey shades, before landing his first positive character in S P Muthuraman’s Bhuvana Oru Kelvikkuri (1977).

3. Rajinikanth’s hit film Billa (1980), was a remake of the Amitabh Bachchan-starring Don (1978).

A still from Billa.

4. In the film Moondru Moogam (1982) Rajinikanth played a triple role, and that too for the first time. His performance in the film got him the Best Actor award from Tamil Nadu government.

5. Rajinikanth’s stepped into Bollywood with T Rama Rao’s Andha Kanoon (1983).

6. It was in 1988 that Rajinikanth made his first appearance in the English action adventure drama, Bloodstone.

7. Valli (1993) was the first movie for which Rajinikanth wrote the screenplay. He also had a guest appearance in the film.

Poster of the film Baasha.

8. The 1992 film Annamalai established Rajini as a superstar. And his 1995 film Baasha broke many box-office records, and strengthened his position as the leading man down south.

9. Besides starring in a Tamil language film, Rajinikanth did Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu movies. Rajinikanth also starred in the Bengali movie Bhagya Debata (1995).

10. His film Enthiran (2010) is the one and only Tamil film making it to the IMDb’s Top 50 films from all over the world list. Directed by Shankar it was also the most expensive and also the highest grossing Indian film.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was paired opposite Rajinikanth in Enthiran.

11. Reportedly, before and after the release of Enthiran, Rajinikanth jokes started circulating on the internet. They were inspired from the famous Chuck Norris jokes. It also flagged off an iPad application titled Rib-tickling Rajini Riot.

12. Interestingly, Rajinikanth was the second choice for the film Enthiran. The first was Kamal Haasan.

13. The film Enthiran IIM-A postgraduate elective course case study of Contemporary Film Industry: A Business Perspective.

14. Rajinikanth is the highest paid Indian actor and the second highest paid actor in Asia after Jackie Chan. According to reports, after the success of his film Sivaji (2007), the actor’s fee went up to Rs 26 crore for one film.

15. Rajinikanth usually goes for his spiritual trips to the Himalayas after his film releases. He also visits Bangalore to spend time with old friends.

16. He is the first Indian actor to have worked in films using various camera technologies such as black-and-white, colour, 3D and also the motion capture.

17. The actor’s Tamil film Raaja Chinna Roja (1989) was the first one to include animation in a movie.

18. The 1991 Thalapathi, also starring Mammooty, was the only film that Rajinikanth collaborated with popular director Mani Ratnam.

19. Rajinikanth’s K S Ravikumar’s Muthu (1995) was the first Tamil film that was dubbed and released in Japan. It made him very popular there, to the extent that the Newsweek magazine dubbed him as Japan’s trendiest heartthrob.

Rajinikanth with his family, wife Latha Rangachari and daughters, Soundarya and Aishwarya.

20. Rajinikanth met his wife Latha Rangachari, when she visited him to interview him for her college magazine. It was 1980 and the actor was busy with his mentor Balachander’s film Thillu Mullu (1981). They married the following year and have two daughters, Soundarya and Aishwarya.

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First Published: Dec 12, 2017 12:33 IST