New Delhi: When he used to be a conductor in buses plying through Chennai, Rajinikanth used to entertain passengers by his enactment of cine stars. The man who has become a legend and has simultaneously acquired a cult status just turns 62 today. On his birthday, we take you through his journey of being a bus conductor to the phenomenon that he is right now.
Rajinikanth was born on 12 December 1950 as Shivaji Rao Gaikwad. He debuted as an actor in the National Film Award–winning Tamil film Apoorva Raagangal (1975), directed by K. Balachander, whom the actor considers his mentor.
Rajinikanth has worked in over 150 films across various film industries of India. He has won six Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, four Best Actor Awards and two Special Awards for Best Actor and a Filmfare Best Tamil Actor Award. He was bestowed the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian honour in 2000. Other than acting, Rajinikanth has also worked as a producer and screenwriter.
Rajinikanth has been called the most popular Indian film actor of his time. His popularity has been attributed to "his uniquely styled dialogues and idiosyncrasies in films, as well as his political statements and philanthropy". Many also cite reasons for Rajinikanth's popularity as coming from his larger-than-life super-hero appearance in many films, supported by gravity-defying stunts and charismatic expressions, all while attempting to maintain modesty in real-life.
Almost every film of Rajinikanth has punchlines delivered by him in an inimitable style, and these punchlines often have a message or even to warn the film's antagonists. These dialogues are usually fabricated to create new ones or even taken in a comical way, but do not fail to create a sense of entertainment among viewers. It is suggested by the media that some popular actors who worked with Rajinikanth earlier in their careers, such as Gouthami Tadimalla and Nayanthara, were recognised because of their association with Rajinikanth, giving other aspiring actors the urge to work with him.
It may be interesting to note that 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.
Rajinikanth married Latha Rangachari on 26 February 1981, at the age of 31 in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. The couple has two daughters named Aishwarya Rajinikanth and Soundarya Rajinikanth.
There are two other special things lined up for Rajinikanth's birthday - the 3D version of his blockbuster film "Sivaji" will be released on the same day, and another Tamil film titled "Alex Pandian", which is named after the character the actor essayed in the Tamil film "Moondru Mugam", will release its audio.