'Rajinikanth' is the name that is known in every nook and corner of India. He is a popular Indian cinema star who has fans worldwide. Born as Shivajirao Gaekwad, this simple-human started his career as a bus conductor. He made his film debut in 1975 in ‘
Apoorva Raagangal’, starred by
Kamal Haasan and Srividya. Though he appeared in a small role in that film, he was noted for his style.
He is a good example for how to succeed in life with hard work and confidence. He did villainy roles in the beginning. He was applauded for his role in 16 Vayathinile, with Kamal and Sridevi. This trio has done many successful films together. Rajinikanth and Kamal were very close and they started to act in many films together. As per the advice of Kamal, Rajinikanth started to act as a solo hero. He became very popular and got diehard fans too.
Producer Balaji titled him as
Superstar, in his banner, and from then on, Rajinikanth is referred to as Superstar by the people. He is very simple and humble in nature, and right from his first film, till his latest venture, ‘Linga’, he maintained his character. Rajinikanth always thanked director Balachander, who introduced him to the film industry and blessed him saying that he will become a number one actor, one day. He has gotten many fans for his style and punch dialogues. Rajinikanth not only performs heroic roles, but does comedy too.
His sense of humor in
Ninaithale Inikkum and Thambikku Entha Ooru are notable. Rajini’s Baasha and Muthu, which were released during the same period, were the favorites of his fans. After watching Muthu, many Japanese became fans for Rajini. After a few years, Rajinikanth reduced his film count and started to provide one film per year.
He appeared in a guest role in Kuselan, which depicted friendship. The final speech by Rajinikanth as
Ashok Kumar in Kuselan brought tears from many eyes. Rajinikanth has two daughters, Aishwarya and Soundarya. Elder one, Aishwarya, is married to the film actor, Dhanush, and the younger one, Soundarya to Ashwin, a businessman. Rajini acted in an animation film, ‘Kochadayan’, directed by his daughter, Soundarya Ashwin. His elder daughter, Aishwarya, is also a director who has directed two films, 3 and Vai Raja Vai.
Another Version of this Bio...
Rajnikanth is a mega superstar of Indian cinema- he works in Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali, as well as the Hollywood film industry. Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, being his birth name, was born on 12th December, 1950, in Bangalore, then Mysore state, present Karnataka. His father, Ramoji Rao Gaekwad, was a police constable and his mother, Ramabai, was a housewife. His parents named him the Great Maratha warrior,
Chhatrapati Shivaji. As being from a Marathi family, he was brought up speaking Marathi at home, and used to speak the state language, Kannada, outside.
His parents have four children, Rajni being the youngest. He has two elder brothers, Satyanarayana Rao and Nageshwara Rao, and one sister, Aswath Balubhai. They lost their mother when Rajni was 9 years old. Rajni is married to Latha Rangachari. She interviewed him for her college magazine. They got married on 26th February, 1981, in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. They have two daughters, Aishwarya and Soundarya. Latha runs a school; it is named ‘The Ashram’. Aishwarya is married to actor Dhanush, and they have two sons, Yathra and Linga. Soundarya is married to industrialist Ashwin Ramkumar.
Rajni was sent to the ‘Gavipuram Government Kannada Model Primary School’ for his primary education. He was studious as well as mischievous in school, and also had a lot of interest in cricket, basketball, and football. His brother also engaged him by sending him to the Ramakrishna Math, a Hindu learning hub initiated by Ramakrishna Mission. In the Math, the sense of spirituality was sowed in Rajni through the learning of Vedas and the environment present there. There he also took part in acting in plays. Once he played the role of Eklavay’s friend in the play of the Hindu epic, Mahabharat. He was praised by the audience, especially the Kannada poet, D. R. Bendre.
Rajini was enrolled in Acharya Pathasala Public School from the seventh grade till his junior college. There, also, he spent most of the time acting in plays. After completing his education, Rajni did various jobs like being a coolie, carpenter and finally getting selected in the Bangalore Transport Service (BTS) as a bus conductor. During which, Topi Muniappa, a Kannada playwriter, offered him a chance to act in one of his plays. Though his family was not supportive of his acting interest, his friend and co-worker motivated him to join the Madras Film Institute and learn to act.
His friend financially supported him during the course. K Balachander, Tamil film director, noticed him and gave him the advice to learn the language, Tamil, which Rajni followed. Rajni made his debut in the year 1975 with the film, ‘Katha Sangama’. His career started by doing small roles. Rajni did 20 various films in Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada languages, in the year 1978. The film, ‘Bairavi’, became the first Tamil film as Rajni in the lead role; it was directed by M Bhaskar. By this film, he earned the title of ‘Superstar’. His film, ‘Vanakkatukuriya Kathaliye’, had a song for his entry; this became the trend in his later films.
The film, ‘
Mullum Malarum’, released during this period and had the screenplay adapted from a novel of the same name, which was acclaimed very well by the critics. This film won the Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Film, and Rajni won a special prize for Best Actor at the Tamil Nadu State Film Awards. After this, Rajni made his entry into Malayalam films through the film named ‘Allauddinum Albhutha Vilakkum’, which was based on a story from Arabian Nights. Till this time, Rajni had acted in over 50 films in around four languages. During 1980, Rajni was a big star in South Indian cinema.
He chose to quit acting then, but made a comeback with the film, ‘
Billa’, a remake of the Bollywood film, ‘
Don’ (1978). He played dual roles in the film. After some films, he did his first full-length comedy flick directed by K. Balachander named ‘Thillu Mullu'. In 1981, he did another remake of
Amitabh Bachchan’s film, ‘
Deewar’, which was named ‘
Thee’. In 1982, for the first time, Rajni did three roles for a film, ‘
Moondru Mugam’. In 1983, Rajni acted in his first Hindi film, ‘Andha Kanoon’, starring Amitabh Bachchan and
Hema Malini. The film became the biggest success at the box office at that time. Then, he played a triple role in John Jani Janardhan.
He grabbed the Filmfare Best Tamil Actor Award for the film, ‘Nallavanuku Nallavan’. He played the role of Hindu saint Raghavendra Swami in his 100th film, ‘Sri Raghavendra’ (1985). The same year, he played a negative role in a Hindi film, ‘Bewafai’, opposite
Rajesh Khanna. The film eventually became a mega hit. In the year 1988, he acted in his only American film, ‘Bloodstone’, playing the role of an English-speaking Indian taxi driver. The film, ‘Raja Chinna Roja’, was the first film to feature live action and animation. After 1990, Rajni was at the spot of commercial entertainer.
Maximum number of films were turning out well at the box office. The decade of Rajni kicked-off with another Amitabh Bachchan’s remake of ‘
Laawaris’, by the name, ‘Panakkaran’ (1990). Then in 1991, he worked with
Mani Ratnam in ‘Thalapathi’, which was inspired by Mahabharat. Rajni also wrote his first screenplay for the film, ‘
Valli’ (1993) and he made a special appearance in this film. Though with a controversial climax, the film ‘
Veera’ (1994) became one of the highest-grossing films of the year. The year 1995 turned out to be the year of his biggest hit till then, which was the film ‘Baasha’, with director
Suresh Krishna. This film is still considered to be a mega-blockbuster.
At the end of the year, Rajni did his first Bengali film, ‘Bhagya Debata’. After a long break, Rajni came up with the film, ‘Baba’, in 2002, for which he also wrote the screenplay. The film turned out to be an unsuccessful film and was highly criticized. Also, the fact that the film inspired the youth in a wrong way, by spoiling them by smoking. Some groups also attacked the theaters. Then, in 2005, Rajni did a film, ‘
Chandramukhi’, with P. Vasu. This film was highly successful and set the record for the longest running Tamil film.
The film ‘
Sivaji’ released in 2007, which became one of the top ten best films of the UK and South Africa box offices. For this film, Rajni received 26 crores as a fee, which made him the second highest paid actor of Asia after Jackie Chan. In 2010, Rajni did a science-fiction film, ‘
Enthiran’, with Shankar, which became the most expensive Indian film. Rajni was paid 45 crores for that film. Institute of Business Management, Ahmadabad used this film as a case study to analyze the business of cinema. In 2011, during the shoot of ‘Rana’, Rajni suffered a lot of health issues, which made him take many trips to the hospital, and finally get admitted to the ICU.
He was diagnosed with bronchitis and was in the hospital for a week. After that, he was again admitted for respiratory and gastrointestinal problems. He further went to Singapore for treatment on Amitabh Bachchan’s advice, and returned to Chennai on 13th July, 2011. Rajni is presently shooting for the film, ‘Enthiran 2’ (Robot 2) with
Akshay Kumar playing villain, and
Amy Jackson being the heroine.