Superstar Rajinikanth, the Living Legend, turns 62 today (December 12, 2011). He may be getting old but his appeal is strong as it has ever been. When he fell critically ill recently, his million of fans all over the world held their collective breath. Many fans of his, tonsured heads at various temples to pray for his recovery. No other actor in Indian cinema enjoys this kind of frenzied fan following and there are reasons aplenty why.
Some of his unique mannerisms, like tossing up the cigarette to his mouth, endeared him to the masses, especially among youth, who in course of time accorded him a demi-god status. His style is matchless and his persona incredibly attractive. Generations of fans who have been mesmerised by his cigarette-flicking or goggle-tossing are only further enthused by his ‘Idhu epdi irukku?’ (How is it?).
Undoubtedly, Rajinikanth is the greatest rebel that any cinema has ever witnessed. Starting his career appropriately with a rebel called K. Balachander in the mid 1970s, he moves up to become the sole rebel in the conformist, Hollywood-like epics of Shankar.
We have compiled a collection of Style Guru Rajinikanth’s rare pics. Please check out the gallery below.
All that he displayed on screen was raw energy and no filmmaker could articulate his unique self-consciousness. Although filmmakers try their best to maintain his ‘youthful’ rebel image on-screen, strangely he never hides his aging process off-screen. He still rules the hearts of millions and is followed by a sea of humanity even if he is sporting grey stubble and a bald head.
Born as Shivaji Rao Gaikwad, in a lower middle class Maharashtrian family on Dec 12, 1949, he had worked as a clerk and a coolie before landing the job of a bus conductor with the Karnataka transport corporation. The superstar of tomorrow, Shivaji took keen interest in theatre and once played Duryodhana in Topi Muniappa’s play. Raj Bahadur, a co-worker and a friend of his, recognized the exceptional talent in him and encouraged Shivaji to join the Madras Film Institute. And that is how the ace filmmaker K Balachander discovered him. The rest is history.
Despite playing an antagonist in his debut film Apoorva Rahangal, Rajini stole people’s hearts. Rajinikanth’s transformation from the mean-looking, pan-chewing villain in Padhinaru Vaidhinile, Gayathri, Moondru Mudichu and Avargal to the swashbuckling do-gooder was remarkable. His ‘Rajini style’ mannerisms caught the fancy of the masses.
A Man of Simplicity
Ego and starry airs are unknown to Rajinikanth. During breaks he hardly ever rushes to his air-conditioned makeup room. Instead, he prefers to sleep on the sets, even without a pillow, merely covering his eyes with a wet cloth. He never comes to functions with a retinue behind him and even prefers to drive his own car.
Post recovery from his illness, Rajinikanth addressed his fans for their unconditional love and support saying, “I am talking to you after speaking to the chief minister who had assured government`s help and to Kalaignar (Karunanidhi) who has immense affection for me. Sorry for not talking to you first.”
That’s Rajinikanth for everyone- someone who is as humble as a modest commoner.
In a very moving speech during the celebration of Ulaga Nayagan Kamal Haasan‘s 50 years in cinema, he declared that he owed his career growth largely to the advice given by Kamal Haasan in his early stage. That was the humble Rajini speaking, acknowledging the fact that the iconic Rajinikanth existed exclusively in the realm of popular cinema and his fans alone.
On the politicial front, Rajinikanth stirred up the hornet’s nest in the 1990s when he slammed the law and order situation in the state under the Chief Ministership of AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa. In the 1996 Assembly elections, he announced his support to the DMK-TMC combine which swept the polls.
Thanks to some strong political lines in some of his films, reports on his political aspirations surfaced frequently. His last political statement was in Padayappa in which he declares ‘yen vazhi tani vazhi’ (My path is a unique way). However, the actor has kept his fans guessing.
For all his gregariousness on screen, Rajinikanth is a recluse in real life. Known to be a religious man, Rajnikanth regularly visits the Himalayas. He has always owned up his faith. “I was brought up by the Ramakrishna Mission and it’s from there that I have inherited this religious frame of mind,” he keeps saying. Even his films have him openly sharing his faith. In Arunachalam he mouths that famous line, “God decides and Arunachalam executes it.” His public meetings are always spiced with humour and embellished with anecdotes from mythology.
Box Office King
The new trend where his films’ collections exceed normal regional film expectations started off with Badsaah, continues till his latest Phenemenol hit Enthiran-The Robot. It’s now an accepted fact that only a Rajnikanth film can break records set by his own films(‘first day first show’ (FDFS) tickets for the film are going at $ 40 in the USA).
Some of Rajini’s best ‘punch’ Dialogues
- “Idhu Epdi Irukku” (How is it?) from 16 Vayathinile(1977)
- “Naan solrathaiyum seiven, sollathathiyum seiven.” (I will do what I
say, I will also do what I don’t say.) from Annamalai (1992).
- “Naan oru dhadavai sonna nooru dhadavai sonna madhiri.” (If I say it once,
I’ve said it a hundred times.) from Baashha(1995) (There is an interesting story behind the origin of this quote. While at home, Rajini, once overheard his wife Latha scolding their children, when they were showing slackness in doing their homework. Like a school teacher, she told them angrily, “I can’t repeat things again and again. If I explain something once then that means I have explained to you hundred times!”)
- “Aandavan Solran Arunachalam Mudikiran” (God tells, Arunachalam executes it.) from Arunachalam(1997)
- “Adhighama Aasappadra Aambleyum Adhighama Kovappedra Pombleyum Nalla Vaazhntha Charithrame Kedayadhu” from Padyappa(1999).
- “Hi, I am Robot. Speed 1 Tera Hertz and Memory 1 Zetta Byte” from Enthiran – The Robot(2010).
Some interesting facts about Rajinikanth, the only superstar who has been reigning for more than 25 years.
- He is the highest paid actor in the country.He has more than 50,000 fan clubs around the world.
- He has acted in one English film, ‘Blood Stone’, where he played a cab driver.
- He has sung a song in the film Mannan (Adikkuthu Kuliru)
- He has written the screenplay for Valli(1993) and Baba(2002). But both the films didn’t do well.
- Named by Forbes India as the Most Influential Indian of the year 2010.
- He was awarded the Entertainer of the Decade Award by NDTV in 2011 by Indian Home Minister of Affairs P. Chidambaram.
Let’s wish the living legend a very happy birthday and long life.