Birthday: 12th December 1950
Known For: Before entering the film industry, Rajinikanth had humble beginnings. He used to work as a coolie, carpenter, and bus conductor.
Debut Film: Apoorva Raagangal
Marital Status: Married
Spouse: Latha Rajinikanth
Children: Aishwarya R. Dhanush, Soundarya Rajinikanth
Relationships: Silk Smitha, Latha Rajinikanth
Awards: Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, Kalaimamani, Rajiv Gandhi Award, NTR National Award, Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Filmfare Award South for Best Actor – Tamil, South Screen Award for Best Actor, 4 Tamil Nadu State Film Awards for Best Actor
Rajinikanth, born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, is an Indian actor, producer, and screenwriter who works predominantly in Tamil cinema. He began his film career with the Tamil film Apoorva Raagangal in 1975, directed by K. Balachander. He was cast in a small role as the ex-husband of the female lead played by Srividya. The film was deemed controversial upon release. However, it received critical acclaim and won three National Film Awards.
His next release was Puttanna Kanagal’s Kannada anthology film Katha Sangama in 1976. Rajinikanth then appeared in Anthuleni Katha, the Telugu remake of Tamil film Aval Oru Thodar Kathai (1974). Moondru Mudichu was his next film, and it was the first Tamil movie to feature him in a prominent role. His style of flipping the cigarette in the film made him popular among the audience. His final release of the year was Baalu Jenu.
The actor played similar roles in Balachander’s Avargal in 1977, and Bharathiraja’s 16 Vayadhinile. That same year, he made his first-ever appearance as a lead actor in the Telugu film Chilakamma Cheppindi. S. P. Muthuraman experimented with Rajinikanth in a positive role in Bhuvana Oru Kelvi Kuri in 1977. The success of the film brought the duo together for 24 more films till the 1990s
In Gaayathri he was cast as a pornographer who secretly films his relationship with his wife without her knowledge and in Galate Samsara he played the role of a married man who develops an affair with a cabaret dancer. He had 15 of his films released during the year.
In 1978, Rajinikanth had 20 releases across Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada. His first film of the year was P. Madhavan's, Shankar Salim Simon. Following that, he co-starred alongside Vishnuvardhan in the Kannada film Kiladi Kittu. He played the second lead in Annadammula Savaal, Rajinikanth reprised his role from the Kannada original.
He then played an important role in the supernatural thriller Aayiram Jenmangal. In Maathu Tappada Maga, he was the main antagonist. Bairavi, directed by M.Bhaskar, was the first Tamil film to cast Rajinikanth as a solo hero. It was for this film that he earned the sobriquet “Superstar”. His next appearance Ilamai Oonjal Aadukirathu, directed by C. V. Sridhar, saw him play the role of a man who sacrifices his love for his friend, played by Kamal Haasan.
The film’s success prompted Sridhar to remake the film in Telugu, VayasuPilichindi, which retained the original cast of the Tamil film. The actor’s next film, VanakkatukuriyaKathaliye, had an introductory song to mark his entry, a trend that would soon catch on with his later films. MullumMalarum, released during the same period, received critical acclaim. It won that year’s Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Film.
Following this, he made a foray into Malayalam cinema with I. V. Sasi’s fantasy film Allauddinum Albhutha Vilakkum, which was based on a story from the Arabian Nights. The same year, he acted in Dharma Yuddam. He then co-starred with N. T. Rama Rao in Tiger. Upon completion of Tiger, Rajinikanth had acted in 50 films over four years, and in four languages.
Some other popular films released during this period are the youthful entertainer NinaithaleInikkum, the Tamil–Kannada bilingual Priya, the Telugu film Amma Evarikkaina Amma and the melodrama Aarilirunthu Arubathu Varai. Priya, based on a detective novel by Sujatha, had the distinction of being the first film of Rajinikanth to be shot mostly outside India, mainly in Southeast Asia.
Rajinikanth, who credited Hindi film star Amitabh Bachchan as his inspiration, began playing Amitabh Bachchan’s roles in Tamil remakes of his films. This began with Shankar Salim Simon (1978), a remake of Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), followed by NaanVazhavaippen (1979), a remake of Majboor (1974).
He was subsequently cast in a series of roles modelled after Amitabh Bachchan in Tamil remakes of his films. Rajinikanth starred in eleven Tamil remakes of Amitabh Bachchan films, as well as a Telugu remake of Amar Akbar Anthony, Ram Robert Rahim (1980), alongside Sridevi. The most successful of these were remakes of Salim–Javed films, such as Billa (1980), Thee (1981), and Mr.Bharath (1986).
During this phase of his career, Rajinikanth abruptly chose to quit acting but was coaxed to return with the Tamil film Billa (1980), a remake of the Bollywood blockbuster Don (1978), written by Salim-Javed and starring Amitabh Bachchan. Billa had Rajinikanth playing dual roles and eventually became his first-ever commercial success. His pairing with Sridevi continued in Johnny, where he was once again cast in a double role. He also starred in MurattuKaalai which was a commercial success.
The success of Billa was a turning point in Rajinikanth’s career, and established him as the top star of South Indian cinema, overtaking Kamal Haasan. In 1981, he appeared in Garjanai which was shot simultaneously in Kannada and Malayalam. In K. Balachander’s first home production, Netrikan, he played dual roles as a womanising father and a responsible son.
His first full-length comedy was ThilluMullu, directed by K. Balachander. He agreed to it solely due to the strong suggestion by his mentor that he should do non-commercial roles, to break the stereotyped action-hero mold by which he was getting famous at the time. 1981 also saw the release of Thee, a remake of the 1975 Bollywood blockbuster Deewaar, also originally written by Salim-Javed and starring Amitabh Bachchan; in Thee, Rajinikanth reprised the role of Bachchan in the original.
In 1982, he starred in Pokkiri Raja, Moondru Mugam, Thanikattu Raja, Puthukavithai and EnkeyoKettaKural. MoondruMugam had Rajinikanth playing three roles for the first time. By 1983, he was a popular actor across South Indian cinema, including Telugu and Kannada films.
In 1983, he starred in his first Bollywood film, Andha Kanoon, alongside Amitabh Bachchan and HemaMalini. The film went on to become one of the highest-grossing films of that time. His 1984 film Naan MahaanAlla, was directed by Muturaman and produced by K. Balachander. He acted in his first cameo role in the film Anbulla Rajinikanth. He played a triple role in John Jani Janardhan.
His performance in Nallavanuku Nallavan earned him a Filmfare Best Tamil Actor Award. His 100th film was Sri Raghavendra, released in 1985. His greatest success in Hindi films was his 101st film Bewafai. Released in 1985 with Rajesh Khanna as the lead hero and Rajinikanth as the villain, it became a success and grossed Rs 11.95 crore at the box office that year.
In the second half of the 1980s, Rajinikanth acted in commercially successful films such as Naan Sigappu Manithan (1985), Padikkathavan (1985), Mr.Bharath (1986), Velaikaran (1987), Guru Sishyan (1988), and Dharmathin Thalaivan (1988).
In 1988, he made his only American film appearance in Bloodstone, directed by Dwight Little, in which he played an English-speaking Indian taxi driver. Rajinikanth finished the decade with films including Rajadhi Raja, Siva, Raja ChinnaRoja, and Mappillai while also starring in a few Bollywood productions. Raja ChinnaRoja was the first Indian film to feature live-action and animation.
By the 1990s, Rajinikanth established himself as a commercial entertainer. Almost all the films released during this period were highly successful at the box office. He began the decade with a blockbuster in Panakkaran in 1990, which was a remake of Amitabh Bachchan’s 1981 film Laawaris.
His next two Tamil films, the fantasy comedy Athisaya Piravi, which was a remake of Chiranjeevi’s 1988 film Yamudiki Mogudu, was also released in 1990, and the family drama Dharmadorai in 1991, did above-average business at the box office. His stint with Bollywood continued for the past decade as he went on to star in more Hindi films.
Hum released in 1991 saw him doing the second main lead with Amitabh Bachchan. In 1991, he also worked with Mani Ratnam in Thalapathi, heavily inspired by the Mahabharata, in which he co-starred with actor Mammooty; the film was both critically acclaimed and successful upon release.
He went on to appear in remakes of films from other languages, mostly from Hindi and Telugu. Annamalai, which was released in 1992, was loosely based on the 1987 Bollywood film Khudgarz. Mannan, directed by P. Vasu, a remake of Kannada actor Rajkumar’s 1986 blockbuster Anuraga Aralithu, also was released in 1992 and became a box office success.
Rajinikanth wrote his first screenplay for the film Valli in 1993, in which he also made a special appearance. He also starred in the film Yejaman. His romantic-comedy Veera in 1994 was controversial for its climax but went on to become one of the highest-grossing films.
He joined hands with Suresh Krishna for Baashha in 1995, which emerged as an industry record, and is routinely touted by fans and critics alike as a major hit, as the film elevated him from being just another very popular actor to nearly demigod status among the masses. He made a cameo in Peddarayudu for his friend Mohan Babu and also helped him in obtaining the remake rights.
The same year, he acted in yet another gangster film, Aatank Hi Aatank with Aamir Khan which was also his last Hindi film in a major role to date. His film Muthu, a remake of Mohanlal’s blockbuster Malayalam movie Thenmavin Kombathu, was another commercial success, directed by K. S. Ravikumar, it became the first Tamil film to be dubbed into Japanese, as Mutu: Odoru Maharaja.
The film grossed a record US$1.6 million in Japan in 1998 and was responsible for creating a large Japanese fan base for the actor. 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. He also entered Bengali cinema through Bhagya Debata, which was released at the end of 1995.
1997’s Arunachalam was another commercial success. Rajinikanth released his last film of the millennium with Padayappa in 1999, which went on to become a blockbuster success. It starred Ramya Krishnan and Soundarya, the former critically acclaimed for her performance.
After a brief pause, Rajinikanth starred in Baba in 2002, for which he had also written the screenplay. Released with much fanfare and hype at the time, the film fell short of market expectations, and the high bids reportedly translated to heavy losses for the distributors. Rajinikanth himself repaid the losses incurred by the distributors.
PattaliMakkalKatchi (PMK) leader S. Ramadoss condemned him for smoking and posing with beedis in the film. He was criticised for spoiling the Tamil youth by glorifying smoking and drinking. PMK volunteers attacked the theatres which screened the film and usurped film rolls and burned them.
Two years later, Rajinikanth signed up for P. Vasu’s Chandramukhi in 2005, a remake of the Malayalam film Manichitrathazhu. Upon release, the film was highly successful at the box office, and in 2007 it set the record of being the longest-running Tamil film. Chandramukhiwas also dubbed in Turkish and in German as Der Geisterjäger and released in the respective nations.
Following Chandramukhi’s release, it was reported that AVM Productions was set to produce a film directed by Shankar starring Rajinikanth – the largest collaboration yet for a Tamil film. The film was titled Sivaji and was released in the summer of 2007, following two years of filming and production. It became the first Tamil film to be charted as one of the “top-ten best films” of the United Kingdom and South Africa box offices upon release.
Rajinikanth received a salary of ₹26 crores, for his role in the film highest in his film career at that time. He worked with P. Vasu again for Kuselan, a remake of the Malayalam film Kadha Parayumbol, which was made simultaneously in Telugu as Kathanayakudu. According to Rajinikanth, the film somewhat narrated his early life. The film, however, performed poorly at box offices and led to many distributors incurring major losses. Rajinikanth also stated that he would work with Pyramid Saimira again to compensate for Kuselan.
Rajinikanth worked again with Shankar for the science fiction film Enthiran. The film was released worldwide in 2010 as the most expensive Indian film ever made, ultimately becoming the second highest-grossing film in India of its time. Rajinikanth was paid a remuneration of ₹45 crores for the film.
In 2011, Rajinikanth was slated to appear in Rana, a period film to be produced by Soundarya Rajinikanth and directed by K. S. Ravikumar, who would work with the actor for the third time. During the principal photography of the film on 29 April 2011, he suffered a mild foodborne illness on the sets, which led to vomiting, dehydration, and exhaustion. For months after that, the Superstar was admitted to the hospital due to critical health.
The actor went to Singapore for further treatments and returned to Chennai on 13 July 2011. Despite several failed attempts to restart Rana upon his return, Rajinikanth reprised his Enthiran character, Chitti, in the Bollywood science-fiction film Ra. One (2011) in a guest appearance alongside Shah Rukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor.
In November 2011, it was decided that Rana would be shelved in favour of a new project, titled Kochadaiiyaan. The motion capture film, which is the first of its kind in India, was released in 2014 with positive reviews. Kochadaiiyaan, and the 3D release of Sivaji in 2012, made Rajinikanth the first Indian actor to have appeared in four different forms of world cinema: black-and-white, colour, 3D, and motion capture.
Following the completion of Kochadaiiyaan, Rajinikanth began work in Ravikumar’s next directorial venture, titled Lingaa alongside Anushka Shetty and Sonakshi Sinha. The film was released in 2014 and received mixed reviews from critics. Rajinikanth’s next film was director Pa. Ranjith’s crime drama Kabali, produced by S. Thanu. The film was released in 2016.
In 2016, it was also announced that Rajinikanth and Ranjith would work together again for a film with Dhanush as producer, titled Kaala. The film was officially released in 2018. That same year Rajinikanth also appeared in S. Shankar’s 2.0 reprising the roles of Dr. Vaseegaran and Chitti, alongside Akshay Kumar and Amy Jackson.
In 2019, Rajinikanth starred in Karthik Subbaraj’s Petta, in which his performance received praise for his return to his vintage stereotypical style of acting. The combined gross earnings of Kaala, 2.0, and Petta by the end of January 2019 were determined to be over ₹ 1000 crore according to trade analysts. Rajinikanth worked with AR Murugadoss in the film Darbar, which was released in 2020. The next project of Rajinikanth was with director Siva, the film titled Annaatthe where he played the role of a protective brother, and the film was successful.
Controversy: After the Thoothukudi Massacre in 2018, Rajinikanth visited the place and met the people who were injured in the anti-Sterlite protests. Previously while speaking about the incident,Rajinikanth mentioned that a few anti-social elements infiltrated the protest. This statement became controversial. He also lost his temper when a reporter asked explanation for this statement and later issued an apology for the outburst directed at the reporters.
Latest News: Rajinikanth just appeared on the news for attending the wedding of Tamil film producer and financier G.N. AnbuChezhian’s daughter, A. Sushmita. Many more stars were spotted there, including Kamal Haasan, Prabhu, and Boney Kapoor.
Latest Movies: Annaatthe
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