Joined: 29 July 2009
Rajnikanth, the style icon and one of the most influential and bankable movie stars in Indian cinema, who is regarded as 'demigod' in South India, turns 60. He has acted in some 200 movies in nine languages. His mass popularity and appeal is largely drawn from his mannerisms and stylized delivery of dialogue.
Rajnikanth was born as Shivajirao Gaekwad in a Maratha family in Karnataka in 1950. He did his schooling at the Acharya Pathshala in Bangalore and then at the Vivekananda Balak Sangh, a unit of the Ramakrishna Mission. In his initial days, he struggled to fight poverty.
He began his career doing various jobs in Bangalore. He also attended a theatre for stage plays. Before starting his career in the film industry, he worked as a bus conductor for the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation in Bangalore. It was during this time that he nurtured his acting interests by performing in various stage plays. Powered by a strong desire to become an actor, Rajnikanth went to Madras, the tinsel town of Tamil Cinema.
He was helped by a friend to join the Madras Film institute and completed his acting course in 1974. Popularly referred to and credited in films as superstar and fondly called as "thalaivar" (meaning leader in Tamil), Rajnikanth debuted in Tamil films in 1975. He got his first break in Kannada movie 'Katha Sangama', in which he played a small role. Later he played as cancer-patient in the Tamil movie 'Apoorva Raagangal' (1975). This film was directed by K Balachandar, whom Rajnikanth considers his mentor, and who named him Rajnikanth.
He was later favoured in portraying antagonistic characters and gradually rose to acting in lead roles. Most of his movies during the nineties were successful, like Mannan, Padayappa, Muthu, Baashha, Annamalaiand Veera. Rajinikanth wrote his first screenplay for the film Valli. Rajnikanth has acted in over 170 films including movies in Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi and Bengali. He also acted in one Hollywood movie ' Bloodstone in 1988.
He has acted with notable actors like Sivaji Ganesan, Amitabh Bachchan, Kamal Hassan, Mammooty and Sridevi. He has worked with famous directors like Mani Ratnam and Bharatiraja. Besides being an actor, Rajnikant had also involved himself in politics.
In 2000, he received India's third highest honour, the Padma Bhushan, for his work in Indian cinema. He was reportedly paid Rs. 26 crores (about $6.25 million USD) for his last blockbuster Sivaji: The Boss, making him the highest paid actor in Asia after Jackie Chan.
Apart from a number of awards, he has also received other honours such as Raj Kapoor Award (2007) from the Government of Maharashtra, Kalaichelvam Award (1995) from the Nadigar Sangam, Oshobismit Award (1995) for Spirituality from Rajinish Ashram, MGR Award (1989) and Kalaimamani Award (1984) from the Government of Tamil Nadu. He also received India's third highest honour, the Padma Bhushan, for his contribution to Indian cinema. In 2007, he won the Best Actor award given by the Government of Tamil Nadu for his role in the film Chandramukhi (2005).
His upcoming projects include an animation film Sultan: The Warrior, which will be directed by his daughter Soundarya Rajinikanth. Rajnikanth has also been signed to work with the Sivaji team of S Shankar and AR Rahman once again for another magnum opus, an alleged science fiction thriller tentatively entitled Endhiran. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will play opposite Rajnikanth as heroine for the first time; the film is touted to be the biggest and costliest film venture yet in India.
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Happy 60th Birthday to Super star
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