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SUPERSTAR RAJINIKANTH (born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad on December 12, 1949) is an Indian film actor and Tamil cinema super star, media personality, and cultural icon. He made his debut as an actor in APOORVA RAAGANGAL [1975], a Tamil film directed by Kollywood fame Balachander, whom the actor considers his mentor. He then continued to work in Tamil cinema, often portraying antagonistic characters and gradually rose to acting in lead roles. Other than acting, Rajinikanth also worked as a producer and screenwriter. Apart from his film career, he is also a philanthropist, spiritualist and serves as an influence in the Politics of Tamil Nadu.

Rajinikanth is a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian honor, for his contribution to Indian cinema. Post-1978, he became known as the "superstar" of Tamil cinema and has held a matinee idol status in the popular culture of India. His mannerisms and stylized delivery of dialogue in films attribute to his mass popularity and appeal. He was named one of the most influential persons in South Asia by Asia week. While acting in many Indian languages, he has also appeared in the cinemas of other nations, including the United States. After being paid Indian Rupee 26 crores (US$5.9 million) for his role in Sivaji (2007), he became the highest paid actor in Asia after Jackie Chan.

Early life:

Shivaji Rao Gaekwad

12 December 1949 (1949-12-12) (age 61)

Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Film actor, producer, screenwriter
Years active
Latha Rangachari

Aishwarya Rajinikanth

(born 1982)

Soundarya Rajinikanth

(born 1983)

Rajinikanth was born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad in a Maharashtrian family, to mother Jijabai and father Ramoji Rao Gaekwad, on December 12, 1949 in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. He was the youngest of four children and has two older brothers and a sister. After the death of his mother at the age of 5, he struggled with an impoverished lifestyle during his childhood. During that time, he often did odd jobs as a coolie in his community. He attended the Acharya Patasala for elementary education and had his higher education at the Ramakrishna Mission in Bangalore.

Between 1966 and 1973 he worked in many places in Chennai and Bangalore. He performed various jobs before joining the then BANGALORE TRANSPORT SERVICE (BTS) as a bus conductor in Bangalore. In 1973, his friend and co-worker RAJ BAHADUR motivated him to join the Madras Film Institute and also financially supported him for 2 years during his studies. During this time when he was acting in a Kannada play at the Film Institute in Chennai he caught the eye of K. BALACHANDER, a director known for introducing talented, new faces into the Tamil film industry. The director advised him to learn to speak Tamil, a recommendation that Rajinikanth quickly followed and which proved to be extremely useful in his career.

As of 2010, Rajinikanth has acted in over 150 films, including Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Hindi, Malayalam, English, and Bengali films. After the release of his first Bollywood film, Andha Kanoon, Rajinikanth did not make as much of an impact in the Mumbai-based industry as he did in the south. He still appeared in several Hindi films, such as Chaalbaaz, Uttar Dakshin, Giraftaar and Hum. He appeared in a supporting role in the American film Bloodstone, co-produced by Ashok Amritraj in 1988, with much fanfare in India at the time of its release. He also made brief stints in the German and Japanese film industries. His film MUTHU was dubbed into Japanese and became a major hit in Japan. In 2005, his film CHANDRAMUKHI was dubbed in German and released in all German-speaking nations. Despite his first language being Marathi, Rajinikanth has not yet acted in any Marathi films.


Rajinikanth debuted in Tamil cinema as a cancer patient in APOORVA RAAGANGAL in 1975 alongside Kamal Haasan. K. Balachander gave him a small role as the no-good husband of Srividya. The following year he acted in his first Kannada film, Katha Sangama which was directed by Puttanna Kanagal. In the same year, he entered Telugu cinema through Anthuleni Katha, which was directed by his mentor K. Balachander. The film was also the first film to cast him in a major role. Be it the sadistic husband of Sujatha in Avargal or the wolf in sheep's clothing in Moondru Mudichu or the lust-filled village rowdy in Bharathiraja's 16 Vayadhinile, he did with so much perfection. In 1977 he got his first break as a lead actor in the Telugu film Chilakamma Cheppindi. At the same time, he acted in films like Sahodarara Savaal, Kumkuma Rakshe in Kannada and Tholireyi Gadichindi, Annadammula Savaal in Telugu. Muthuraman first experimented with him in a positive role in BHUVANA ORU KELVIKKURI (1977), as a failed lover in the first half of the film and a protagonist in the second half. The duo went on to work in 25 films till the 90s.

RISE TO FAME: 1978-1990

The 1978 Tamil film BAIRAVI was the first Tamil film to cast him as a solo hero. Later MULLUM MALARUM won him critical acclaim. In 1978, he had 20 releases. The success of Bhuvana Oru Kelvikkuri prompted Muthuraman to make a mushy melodrama with Rajinikanth as a hero sacrificing everything for his siblings in AARILIRUNTHU ARUBATHU VARAI (1979). In 1979, he made his Malayalam debut through ALLAUDDINUM ALBHUTHA VILAKKUM. In 1979, he acted in Dharma Yuddam in which he acted as a mentally disturbed person taking revenge for his parent’s death. He also shared the screen with N. T. Rama Rao in his 50th film titled Tiger. In 1981 he appeared in Garjanai which was shot simultaneously in Kannada and Malayalam, making it his last film in those two languages till date. By the end of 70s, he became a popular star in 4 South Indian languages. Some of the popular films that released during this period are the youthful entertainer NINAITHALE INIKKUM, PRIYA and the Telugu film AMMA EVARIKKAINA AMMA.


During this phase of his career Rajinikanth abruptly chose to quit acting, but was coaxed back. He made a comeback with the Tamil film BILLA, which was a remake of the Bollywood movie Don. During this time he was paired frequently opposite Sridevi and Sripriya. MURATTU KAALAI made him a major commercial star which was followed by a row of hits, POKKIRI RAJA, THANIKATTU RAJA, MOONDRU MUGAM and NAAN MAHAAN ALLA in the subsequent years. His pairing with Sridevi continued in JOHNNY where he was once again cast in a double role. K. Balachander’s first home production, NETRIKAN proved to be yet another milestone in Rajni’s career, where he performed dual roles as a WOMANIZING father and a responsible son. In 1981, he acted in THILLU MULLU directed by K. Balachander. This movie is Rajinikanth's first full-length comedy, and he agreed to it solely due to the strong suggestion by his "Guru" K.Balachander that he should do non-commercial roles, to break the stereotyped action-hero mould by which he was getting famous at the time. The movie went on to become one of the biggest hits of the year and regarded as a cult-classic. He acted in his first cameo role alongside Meena Durairaj, who was a child actor then, in the movie ANBULLA RAJINIKANTH (1984).
In 1983, he starred in his first Hindi film and continued to star in as many films till the early 90s.Some of his notable films include Jeet Hamaari, Gangvaa, John Jani Janardhan, Bhagwan Dada, Insaff Kaun Karega, Chaalbaaz and Tyagi. He has worked with almost all leading actors except ShahRukh Khan. Next to Tamil, he has acted more in Hindi, where he did around 27 films. In 1984, Rajinikanth played a triple role in John JANI JANARDHAN, thus becoming the first actor in Hindi to give a hit in triple role, previously AMITABH'S TRISHUL and DILIP KUMAR'S BAIRAAG bombed at the box-office.



The majority of his movies released during the nineties were extremely successful, notably THALAPATHY, MANNAN, ANNAMALAI, VEERA, BADSHA, MUTHU AND PADAYAPPA. Rajinikanth wrote his first screenplay and made a special appearance in the film VALLI (1993). His film BADSHA emerged as an industrial record. His film MUTHU was the first Tamil film to be dubbed into Japanese (as Mutu: Odoru Maharaja) and grossed a record $1.6 million in Japan in 1998. In fact, its success in Japan led the American news magazine Newsweek to comment in a 1999 article that Rajinikanth had "supplanted Leonardo DiCaprio as Japan's trendiest heartthrob".

CAREER BREAK: 2002-2005

He starred in BABA (2002) for which he had also written the screenplay. The story revolved around a gangster who later engages in spirituality. It 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.


The film was received with comments such as "the bloom was off the rose" and that "the gold does not glitter anymore". PATTALI MAKKAL KATCHI LEADER S. RAMADOSS condemned him for smoking and posing with beedis in the film. He was criticized for spoiling Tamil youth by glorifying smoking and drinking. PMK volunteers attacked theatres which screened the movie Baba and usurped film rolls and burnt it.

After rumours that Rajinikanth would next work with K. S. Ravikumar again, it was finally revealed that he was signed up for Chandramukhi, to be directed by P. Vasu. The film eventually broke the record of being the longest running Tamil film as of 2007.


Just after Chandramukhi's' release, it was reported that AVM Productions were to produce a film directed by S. Shankar starring Rajinikanth, the largest collaboration yet for a Tamil film. The film was titled Sivaji and released on June 15, 2007 after two years of filming and production. It became the first Tamil movie to be charted as one of the top-ten best films of United Kingdom and South Africa box-offices upon release. Rajinikanth received a salary of Indian Rupee 26 crores, approximately US $5.3 million at the time, for his role the film, which made him become the second highest paid actor in all of Asia.

He worked with P. Vasu again for Kuselan, a remake of the Malayalam film KADHA PARAYUMBOL, in which Rajinikanth played an extended cameo role as himself, a star in the Indian film industry, and as a best friend to the main character. According to Rajinikanth, the film somewhat narrates his early life. The film performed poorly at box offices; many distributors incurred major losses due to the film, which Rajinikanth voluntarily settled with his own budget after pressure from different sections of the film world. Rajinikanth also stated that he would work with Pyramid Saimira again in order to compensate for Kuselan. Following the release of Kuselan in Karnataka Rajinikanth made a public statement, thanking the Kannada film industry for allowing the release of the film and lifting the ban, which was imposed following his speech at the South Indian Film Artistes' Association's hunger strike supporting the Hogenakkal Integrated Drinking Water Project, which many Kannada activists and politicians found offending. Actors Sathyaraj, Radha Ravi, and R. Sarathkumar condemned the apology as a "disgrace to Tamils."

Rajinikanth worked again with director Shankar for the science fiction film, ENTHIRAN. The film was released worldwide in 2010 as the costliest Indian film ever made with a budget of Indian Rupee 162 crores (US $36 million), ultimately becoming the highest-grossing film in India of its time. Rajinikanth was paid a remuneration of Indian Rupee 45 crores for the film.
In January 2010, Rajinikanth was slated for appearance in Rana, a period film to be produced by his daughter and directed by K. S. Ravikumar. During the production of Sivaji, Soundarya Rajinikanth announced her intention of producing Hara an animation film starring an animated version of her father. As of 2011, the film is still under production.


Rajinikanth seen in the audio launch of his latest film, ENTHIRAN (2010)
Rajinikanth has been called the most popular South Indian film actor of his time.Rajinikanth's popularity has been attributed to "his uniquely styled dialogues and idiosyncrasies in films, as well as his political statements and charity". It is also suggested by the media that some popular actors who worked with Rajinikanth earlier in their careers, such as Gouthami Tadimalla and Nayanthara, were recognized because of their association with Rajinikanth, giving other aspiring actors the advice to work with him. Some fellow actors, such as Cho Ramaswamy, have commentated that Rajinikanth has the potential to be successful in Indian politics due to his popularity and fan base alone.
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.Chandramukhi is notable for being the longest-running Tamil film in India, playing for a total of over 800 days. Sivaji was instrumental in making one of the largest releases for an Indian film in the world; the film entered the list of top ten films of the United Kingdom upon release. Chandramukhi and Sivaji were also released in South Africa, where they eventually became high box-office grossers.

In October 2010, Grady Hendrix, a writer from the New York Asian Film Festival produced an article about Rajinikanth, describing his mass appeal in India. The article and its writer were featured on WNYC, a local American radio station based in New York City, New York, United States, in an 11-minute commentary on Rajinikanth.
Rajinikanth facts or Rajinikanth jokes are satirical factoids about Rajinikanth. They are widely circulated in text messages and over the internet. Many Rajinikanth jokes are said to be inspired by Chuck Norris facts.Rajinikanth jokes usually surface before the expected release of one of his movies. These satirical jokes have also inspired an iPad application.



He married Latha Rangachari, an Iyengar, on February 26, 1981, at the age of 31 in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. They have two daughters named AISHWARYA RAJINIKANTH and SOUNDARYA RAJINIKANTH. His wife, LATHA RAJINIKANTH, currently runs a school named The Ashram. His elder daughter, Aishwarya Rajinikanth, married actor Dhanush on November 18, 2004 and they have two sons named YATHRA AND LINGA. His younger daughter, Soundarya Rajinikanth, works in the film industry as a director, producer and graphic designer. She married industrialist Ashwin Ramkumar on September 3, 2010.


Rajinikanth is a follower of Hinduism, spiritualism, and a strong believer of spirituality. As a reader, he also enjoys books on such topics. He is also a practitioner of yoga and meditation.Rajinikanth is known for visiting temples prior to the release of each of his films; for instance he visited the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple before the release of Sivaji in 2007 and visited Sathya Sai Baba at Prasanthi Nilayam in Andhra Pradesh before the release of Kuselan the following year. He also occasionally leaves for pilgrimage to the Himalayas. He has often referred to Swami Satchidananda, Ragavendra Swami, Mahavatar Babaji, and Ramana Maharishi as his favorite spiritual leaders.


In 1995, Rajinikanth began supporting the Indian National Congress after meeting Prime Minister NARASIMHA RAO. An opinion poll conducted by the magazine Kumudam predicted that Congress with Rajinikanth's support might win up to 130 seats in Tamil Nadu Assembly. In 1996, when the Congress Party decided to align with All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), RAJINIKANTH SUPPORTED DRAVIDA MUNNETRA KAZHAGAM (DMK)-Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) alliance. The TMC used a bicycle as their election symbol and used an image of Rajinikanth riding a bicycle from the film Annamalai in their posters. Rajinikanth said, "Even God cannot save Tamil Nadu if AIADMK returns to power." Rajinikanth wholeheartedly supported the DMK and TMC alliance and asked the people of Tamil Nadu and his fans to vote for that alliance. This alliance had a complete victory in 1996. In 1996, Rajinikanth supported the DMK-TMC alliance in parliamentary elections.

In 2002, Rajinikanth undertook a daylong fast to protest the Government of Karnataka's decision to not release Kaveri River water into Tamil Nadu and announced that he would contribute Indian Rupee 10,000,000 toward a plan to interlink the Indian rivers. He met with Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and many experts to canvass support for the project. However, most other members of the Tamil film industry, including members of the South Indian Film Artistes' Association (SIFAA), organized their own solidarity protest. Film director Bharathi Raja stated that Rajinikanth was on the verge of dividing the film industry and called him "traitor who had a tacit understanding with the Karnataka government".

During the 2008 hunger strike organized by SIFAA during the Hogenakkal water dispute, he reprimanded Karnataka politicians. Further, he appealed to leaders not to inflame the water project issue for political gains and requested that the issue should be resolved soon. He urged the Karnataka politicians "to speak the truth." "People are equal to God. They cannot be fooled and will not remain silent if you continue to act in such manner," he stated. Leader of the Pro-Kannada group Karnataka Rakshana Vedike Vatal Nagaraj demanded an apology from Rajinikanth and threatened that he would not be allowed in the state of Karnataka and all his films would be boycotted for Rajinikanth's speech against Kannada politicians.

Several local fan associations of Rajinikanth in Tamil Nadu have continuously wanted him to take active participation in politics. In this regard, a few fans in Coimbatore started their own political party in 2008 for Rajinikanth, in an attempt to pressure his entry in politics. The party was named the Desiya Dravadar Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (DDMMK), introducing its own flag and symbol for the party. After learning about this, Rajinikanth wrote an open letter to the media and declared that he had no connection with these events and warned fans not to indulge in such activities and that he would take legal action if they failed to adhere. He also mentioned that he was not interested in politics and thus, was only committed to working in films. He added that nobody can force him to enter politics, just as no one can stop him from entering it.

RAJINIKANTH JOINED IN SUPPORT OF TAMIL ACTOR AJITH KUMAR, who spoke against the forceful inclusion of Tamil cinema personae in political affairs. He attended an event organized in support of the Sri Lankan Tamil cause with the Tamil film fraternity in late 2008, taking part in a one-day fast demanding the government of Sri Lanka to stop the war, the murder of innocent civilians and to give Tamils their rights and their traditional land, stating this was in the best interests for the people of the island.



Rajinikanth received his first Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Actor in 1984 for NALLAVANUKU NALLAVAN. He later received Filmfare Award nominations for his performances in MUTHU (1995) AND SIVAJI (2007). Rajinikanth also received Tamil Nadu State Film Awards in the Best Actor category for his roles in MOONDRU MUGAM (1982), MUTHU (1995), PADAYAPPA (1999), CHANDRAMUKHI (2005), AND SIVAJI (2007). He also received awards from Cinema Express and Filmfans Association for his on-screen performances and off-screen contributions in writing and producing.

Rajinikanth received the Kalaimamani award in 1984 and the M. G. R. Award in 1989, both from the Government of Tamil Nadu. In 1995, the South Indian Film Artistes' Association presented him with the Kalaichelvam Award. He was named and honoured with the Padma Bhushan award, India's third highest civilian honour, in 2000 from the Government of India.He was selected as the Indian Entertainer of the Year for 2007 by NDTV, and competing against the likes of Shahrukh Khan.T he Government of Maharashtra honoured him with the Raj Kapoor Award the same year. He received the Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan Award for Excellence in Indian Cinema at the 2010 ceremony of the Vijay Awards.

Rajinikanth was awarded the Entertainer of the Decade Award by NDTV in 2011 by Indian Home Minister of Affairs P. Chidambaram.



1975 Apoorva Raagangal Abaswaram Tamil
1976 Anthuleni Katha Murthy Telugu
Moondru Mudichu Prasad Tamil
1977 16 Vayathinile Parattai Tamil
Bhuvana Oru Kelvikkuri Sampath Tamil
1978 Mullum Malarum Kaali Tamil
1979 Ninaithale Inikkum Deepak Tamil
Aarilirunthu Arubathu Varai Santhanam Tamil
1980 Billa Billa

Murattu Kaalai Kaalaiyan Tamil
1981 Thillu Mullu Indran/

1982 Moondru Mugam Alex Pandian,


1984 Nallavanuku Nallavan Manickam Tamil
1985 Sri Raghavendra Raghavendra Swami Tamil
1991 Thalapathi Surya Tamil
1992 Annamalai Annamalai Tamil
1995 Badsha Manickam/

Manick Badsha
1996 Muthu Muthu,

1997 Arunachalam Arunachalam Tamil
1999 Padayappa Aarupadayappan Tamil
2005 Chandramukhi Dr. Saravanan,

King Vettaiyan
2007 Sivaji Sivaji Arumugam Tamil
2010 Enthiran Dr. Vaseegaran,

Chitti Babu


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