The mega-star of Tamil movies, who has a plethora of Japanese fans and sells out movies theatres the world over when a film of his releases, known as Superstar Rajinikanth to his fans is having a quiet birthday this year.
The illustrious actor, who in his younger years acted as an anti-hero, captured the love of the masses with his style and sharp dialogue delivery in his Tamil roles. His next film, Shankar and AR Rahman’s Endhiran, with Aishwarya Rai is hugely anticipated and out in 2010, while his producer/animator daughter, Soundarya is immortalising him in the ‘first of it’s kind’ animated film, Sultan.
When his last hit, Sivaji (The Boss) came out, the fans went out in throngs to watch the film and it made the UK Top 10. The love that fans show Rajinikanth is parallel to the fees he commands, making him one of Asia’s highest paid actors.
In his private life, he is married to Lata, who is a philanthropist and his other talented daughter, Aishwarya Dhanush recently received the Kalaimamani award. His son-in-law is Tamil actor Dhanush and Aishwarya and his grandson is called Yathra.
A deeply spiritual man, his 2002 film Baba was devoted to Swami Satchidananda, who was his spiritual Guru just after his passing. He also made a similar themed movie, Sri Raghavendra in the 80s.
His real name is Shivaji Rao Gaekwad and he worked as a humble bus conductor in Bangalore. He is of Marathi origin, although his devotion is to Tamil cinema. Funnily enough, he has acted in Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi, English and Bengali films, but never in his own mother-tongue.
Rajinikanth is a great friend of actors Kamal Haasan and Amitabh Bachchan (Listen to Big B him wax lyrical about Rajini here http://www.thamarai.com/interview-details.php?id=15) and most recently, he praised Mr Bachchan’s excellent performance in Paa. It must also be noted that Amitabh Bachchan has acted alongside Rajinikanth in Hindi films like Andhaa Kanoon and Hum.
Fondly remembered for his roles in films like 16 Vayathinile, Billa, Johnny, Thalapathi, Muthu, Padayappa and Chandramukhi, we at Thamarai wish him another blessed year ahead.