Rajnikanth is a true rags to riches story. His histrionics onscreen have raised his status to that of a cult hero. His presence creates an excitement close to hysteria among his fans.
Basics on Rajnikanth
Rajnikanth was born on 12th December 1950 as Shivaji Rao Gaekwad to a Maratha family in Bangalore, Karnataka. His roots are in Nachikuppam, Krishnagiri District, Tamil Nadu. His father is Ramojirao Gaekwad, a police constable and his mother is Jijabai, who passed away when he was eight years old.
Rajnikanth studied at the Acharya Paathshala and Vivekananda Balaka Sangha in Bangalore. He worked as a bus conductor for the Bangalore Transport Service to earn a living. His love for acting was evident even then as he used to participate in stage plays and practice stunts at the Rama Hanuman Temple. In 1973, he joined the Madras Film Institute with a colleague to study acting and was mentored by A.Prabhakaran, his vice principal.
He married actor Y.G.Mahendran’s wife Latha Parthasarthy in 1981 in Tirupathi, Andhra Pradesh. She runs a school called The Ashram. They have two daughters Aishwarya and Soundarya. While Aishwarya is married to actor Dhanush, Soundarya is a director, producer and graphic designer.
Rajnikanth was honoured with the Padma Bhushan in 2000 for his contribution to cinema.
Rajnikanth – Politics, Social Service & Trouble
In 1995 Rajnikanth spoke to Prime Minister Narasimha Rao and confirmed that he’d support the Congress party. But when the Congress Party joined hands with AIADMK, he withdrew support and joined the DMK-TMC alliance. He later shifted loyalties and joined the BJP-AIADMK alliance. Though his fans look forward to see more of him in politics Rajnikanth is reluctant. His fans even started a political party in his name but he confirmed he has no hand in it.
He marked his protest against Karnataka’s decision not to release water to Tamil Nadu by fasting in 2002. His remarks regarding this issue angered the pro Karnataka group Rakshan Vedike which threatened that his movies would not be screened in Karnataka after which he issued an apology.
Rajnikanth has shown his generous side often. He used one of his banquet halls the Raghavendra Marriage Hall to help the needy. He plans to start a hospital and a school. He has made several donations – twelve lakh rupees to the family members of the victims of the Coimbatore bomb blasts, one crore rupees was handed to Chief Minister Jayalalitha for the Tsunami Relief Fund in 2004 and ten lakh rupees to the Sri Lankan Tamil humanitarian aid in 2008.
1975 to 1985 Rajnikanth’s first movie was K.Balachander’s Apoorva Ragangal in 1975 with Kamal Hassan. Katha Sangama was his first Kannada movie directed by Puttanna Kanagal in 1976. In 1977, he acted in a Kamal Hassan-Sridevi starrer 16 Vyathinile that was appreciated and others like Avargal, a Telugu movie Aame Katha and the Kannada movie Galate Samsara.
He was mostly cast in negative roles until Bhuvan Oru Kelvi Kuri. In 1978, among several other movies, he stood out in Mullum Malarum that won several awards. In 1979, he appeared in movies like Ninaithale Inikkum, Naan Vazhavaippen and Aarilirunthu Arubathu Varai.
His career was in it’s prime in the eighties. Billa, a remake of Bollywood hit Don, was a hit. This was followed by more success with Murattu Kalai (1980), Pokiri Raja (1982) and Mundru Mugam (1982). He made his debut in Bollywood with Andha Kanoon (1983).
His role in Anbulla Rajnikanth (1984) and Nallavanuku Nallavan (1984) were applauded. The latter fetched him his first Filmfare Best Tamil Actor Award. He acted in his 100th movie Sri Raghavendra in 1985.
1986 to 1995 He continued to act in a mix of Hindi and Tamil movies with releases like Dosti Dushman (1986), Viduthalai (1986), Velaikaran (1987), Tamacha (1978) and Kodi Parakuthu (1978). He acted in an English movie Blood Stone as a street smart taxi driver. Chaalbaaz in 1989 was a hit. In 1991, he was part of Hum with Amitabh Bacchan and worked with Mammootty in Thalapathi.
He wrote the screenplay and acted in the movie Veera (1994) that failed. His movie Muthu (1995) won him a Tamil Nadu Film Award for Best actor. The movie also has the distinction of being dubbed into Japanese and enjoying popularity in Japan.
1996 to 2005 The 1999 release Padayappa was his 150th movie and generated a lot of fanfare and became a hit of a huge magnitude. He won the Tamil Nadu Film Award for Best actor. He won the award again for Chandramukhi in 2005. His movies use and generate big bucks.
2006 to 2010
Sivaji: the Boss (2007) was in a league of it’s own while Kuselan (2008) didn’t fare well. His next release is a science fiction Endhiran with Aishwarya Rai is expected to be released in 2010.
in short he is a living legend.