Born Shivajirao Gaikwad on this day in 1950, Padma Bhushan-Awardee Rajnikanth is the beloved of not just Tamilians but also people from the entire globe. Due to his antics in movies that are larger than life, there are several jokes on him, which are making rounds of the virtual as well as the real world. He has also won several awards for his acting prowess. He started acting in plays when he was still working as a bus conductor in the Bangalore Transport Service. He went to the Madras Film Institute for a diploma in acting. He debuted in Tamil movies with K Balachander’s Apoorva Ragangal (1975).
He was catapulted from his humble beginnings to fame with some negative roles. Soon, he was encouraged to take up the protagonist’s positive roles, which became hits. He debuted in Bollywood with the hit movie Andha Kanoon (1983). 1988 saw him working in the American film Bloodstone. He starred in several Tamil remakes of Amitabh Bachchan starrers in the lead roles. His 101st movie was the Hindi Bewafai (1985), which went on to be a success at the box office. He also starred in Hum (1991), which inspired his Tamil Baashha (1995). He entered Bengali movies with Bhagya Debata (1995).
In 1998, with Muthu: Odoru Maharaja, Rajnikanth consolidated his position internationally in Japan. This information is corroborated by a 1999 Newsweek article, which said that he “supplanted Leonardo DiCaprio as Japan’s trendiest heartthrob”. Hit Rajnikanth-starrer Chandramukhi (2005) set the record of the longest-running Tamil movie in 2007. This movie was also dubbed in Turkish and German. With the Tamil Sivaji (2007), he became the highest paid Asian actor after Jackie Chan. Enthiran (2010) dubbed into Hindi as Robot, became the second highest grossing movie of its time. After a brief period of illness in 2011, he did a cameo in the Hindi Ra One. He sang his first Hindi song for A R Rehman in the dubbed version of the Tamil Kochchadaiyan (2014). Currently, he is working on a spiritual sequel to Enthiran called 2.0.
Collywood and Rajnikanth: Some of my favorite Rajnikanth songs in Tamil are:
Adhisaya ragam… Apporva Ragangal (1975)
Asha Bhonsle and Madhu Balakrishnan rendered Konjaneram konjaneram… Chandramukhi (2005)
Devuda Devuda… Chandramukhi (2005)
Bollywood and Rajnikanth: Here are some of his Hindi songs:
Kilimanjaro… Robot (2010)
Boom boom robo da… Robot (2010)
Kehdo uttarwalon se… Uttar-Dakshin (1987)