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Rajinikanth (born Sivaji Rao Gaekwad, December 12, 1949) is the Highest paid actor in India, and one of the most influential and bankable actors in the Indian film industry. He received India's third highest honour, the Padma Bhushan, for his contribution to Indian cinema in 2000. He was reportedly paid Rs. 15 crores for his latest blockbuster Sivaji.

Early life

Rajinikanth was born to a Kannada speaking Maratha family in Karnataka. He was the fourth child of his parents, Jijabai and Ramojirao Gaekwad. He was named Shivajirao Gaekwad. Gaekwad is a family name. He lost his mother at the age of five. He did his schooling at the Acharya Paatshala in Bangalore and then at the Vivekananda Balak Sangh, a unit of the Ramakrishna Mission. Rajnikanth struggled a lot during his early age because of poverty. Although his mother-tongue is Marathi, he has not acted in any Marathi movies yet.

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 Transport Service in Bangalore It was during this time that he nurtured his acting interests by performing in various stage plays.


He married Latha on February 26, 1981, at the age of 31 in Tirumala - Tirupati and they have two children: Aishwarya and Soundarya. Latha currently runs a school named - The Ashram. His daughter Aishwarya married actor Dhanush on November 18, 2004 and they have one son, Yathra.

Acting career - 1975-1979

He joined the Madras Film institute in 1973 with the help of a friend and completed a basic course in acting. Rajnikanth's first film was in Kannada, Katha Sangama directed by Puttanna Kanagal in the year 1976. In Tamil cinema he was initially cast in the supporting roles, the first being that of a cancer patient in Apoorva Raagangal (1975), directed by the director K. Balachander. Though Rajinikanth persistently refers to K. Balachander as his "guru" or mentor, it was director S. P. Muthuraman who actually revamped Rajinikanth’s image entirely. Muthuraman first experimented with him in a positive role in Bhuvana Oru Kelvikkuri (1977), as a villain in the first half and a do-gooder in the second, accepting a woman with a child abandoned by her lover.Around this time Mullum Malarum (1978), directed by J. Mahendran, established Rajinikanth on the Tamil film arena. The success of Bhuvana Oru Kelvikkuri prompted Muthuraman to make a mushy melodrama with Rajinikanth as a hero sacrificing everything for his siblings in Aarilirunthu Arubathu Varai (1979). Even while the film was in the making, Rajinikanth had misgivings about whether the audience would accept him in tear jerkers of this kind. But its box-office success made Rajinikanth popular among women audience. These films were the turning points in Rajinikanth’s career — he changed from an actor who merely enthralled the audiences, to one who could also make them cry. The acceptance of Rajinikanth sans his mannerisms proved he had at last become an "star" from a "common actor." His film roles were mainly as a villain during the period 1975 to 1977, frequently with Kamal Hassan as the hero, in movies like Pathinaaru Vayadhinilae , Moondru Mudichu and Avargal (all 1977).

Acting career - 1980-1989

During this phase of his career when he was reaching dizzying heights, Rajinikanth abruptly chose to quit acting, but was coaxed back. He started again with Billa, which was a remake of Amitabh Bachchan starrer Don. With its phenomenal success he was accepted as a full-fledged hero. Billa was followed by a row of hits like Murattukaalai,Pokkiri Raja, Thanikattu Raja, Naan Mahaan Alla and Moondru Mugam. K. Balachander’s first home production, Netrikan proved to be yet another milestone in Rajini’s career. He even acted as himself alongside Meena, who was a child actor then, in the movie Anbulla Rajinikanth (1984). More box-office hits dominated the 80's with Padikkathavan, Thee, Velaikkaran, Dharmathin Thalaivan, Mr. Bharath, Maaveeran, few of them were re-makes of hit Bollywood Amitabh Bachchan starrers. In his 100th movie, Sri Raghavendra, he played the Hindu saint Raghavendra Swami.

Acting career - 1990 - To date

Most of his movies during the nineties were also successful, like Mannan, Muthu, Baashha, Annamalai , Veera and Padayappa. Rajinikanth wrote his first screenplay for the film Valli (1993). His film Muthu was the first Tamil film to be dubbed into Japanese as Muthu: The Dancing Maharajah and became very popular in Japan. When he was 53, Baba released amidst much fanfare. Although the film grossed enough to cover its budget, it was viewed as one of the most disastrous in his moie career. It fell short of market expectations and high bids reportedly accumulating to heavy losses for the distributors. It is also rumoured that Rajinikanth repaid the losses incurred by the distributors who laid immense faith in him. His latest film, Sivaji: The Boss, directed by S. Shankar released on June 15, 2007, has become the first Tamil movie to make the UK and South Africa Top 10. Rajnikanth will now be lending his voice to the lead character (based on himself) in an animation film for Adlabs titled Sultan:The Warrior to be directed by his daughter Soundarya Rajinikanth. The movie is scheduled for a 2008 release. Rajnikanth's next movie with Kavithalaya Productions and produced by his mentor director K.Balachander. This movie is named as "Kuselan". Rajnikanth is going to make another film with Shankar - Robot, which will be produce by Ayngaran International and EROS. He is one actor who has one of the largest fan following in India.

Other work

Apart from acting in Tamil, Rajinikanth has acted in 173 movies, including Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi and Bengali. Rajinikanth made a foray into Bollywood with Andha Kanoon but couldn't make as much of an impact as he had in the south. He still made a few films in Hindi, like Chaalbaaz with Sridevi, 'Uttar Dakshin', Girafthar and Hum. He also had a brief stint in Hollywood with the movie Bloodstone in 1988.

Awards and honours

Rajinikanth was named as one of the influential persons in South Asia by Asiaweek. He has won the Filmfare Best Actor award and many other awards during his acting career.

Between 1977 and 2005 Rajinikanth received awards from several organizations, like Tamil Nadu State Government Award, Cinema Express, Filmfans Association, Filmfare etc., for his on-screen performances and off-screen contributions in writing and producing. He has received awards in the Best Actor category for his performance in the films Chandramukhi, Padayappa, Peddarayudu, Basha, Muthu, Annamalai, Thalapathy, Velaikaran, Sri Raghavendra, Nallavanuku Nallavan, Moondru Mugam, Engeyo Ketta Kural, Aarilirunthu Arubathu Varai, Mullum Malarum and 16 Vayathinile. He received an award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Bhuvana Oru Kelvi Kuri. He has also received awards in Best Story Writer and Best Producer categories for Valli.

He has also received other honours such as Raj Kapoor Award (2007) from the Government of Maharastra, Padma Bhushan (2000)[5] from Government of India, 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 Tamilnadu.

Recently (September 2007) Rajinikanth won the Best Actor award, given by the Government of Tamil Nadu for his role in the film Chandramukhi(2005). Recently, he has been selected as best movie entertainer in India for the year 2007 by NDTV


1995 - Announced that he is willing to support the Congress party after meeting Prime Minister Narasimha Rao.[33] An opinion poll conducted by Kumudam magazine predicted that Congress with Rajinikanth support may win up to 130 seats in Tamilnadu Assembly

1996 - Congress decided to align with AIADMK. Rajinikanth supported DMK-TMC alliance. The TMC used the Bicycle as their election symbol and used Rajinikanth's riding Bicycle in Annamalai movie in their posters. Rajinikanth uttered "Even God cannot save Tamilnadu if AIADMK returns to power".

1998 - Rajinikanth supported the DMK-TMC alliance in parliamentary elections. SUN TV broadcast Rajini's speech throughout the day of the election. AIADMK-BJP alliance won around 30 out of 39 seats riding on sympathy wave generated by Coimbatore bomb blasts.

2002 - Rajinikanth undertook a day-long fast to protest Karnataka's decision to not to release Cauvery water to Tamilnadu. Announced that he would contribute 10 Million rupees towards interlinking of Indian rivers scheme. He met Prime Minister Vajpayee and many experts to canvass support for Interlinking Indian rivers scheme.

2004 - Supported BJP-AIADMK alliance in Parliamentary elections and quoted PMK's violence and BJP's support to interlinking of Indian rivers as reason for his support. But the alliance failed to win any seats.

Political Controversies

He did not participate in the agitation sponsored by Tamil film artists in Neyveli protesting against Karnataka's refusal to release Cauvery water. Instead he participated in token fasting at Chennai. Bharathiraja who organized agitation attacked him vehemently and assigned bad intentions for his non participation in the agitation.

PMK leader Ramadas condemned him for smoking and posing with Beedi's in his film Baba. He was criticised for spoiling Tamil youth by glorifying smoking and drinking. PMK volunteers attacked theatres which screened the movie Baba and usurped film rolls and burnt it. Famous film producers like M. Saravanan accused that cigarette smoking and drinking are shown in all movies and Rajini's film was chosen by the PMK leader because of his popularity in Vanniar areas which is considered PMK bastion. To stop the controversies, rajini announced that in his future films, he won't act on the scenes involving him smoking or drinking. As a fact of keeping his words, he doesn't included a single frame of smoking or drinking in his recent films like chandramukhi and Sivaji - The Boss. Rajinikanths future film Manas Kundal starring Vijay will be released on Decmember 12th as this will be his first film he will direct in his film career.

Philanthropic Activities

Recently he converted his Raghavendra Marriage Hall to a charitable trust to help the needy.

He shared his income from the film "Arunachalam" with eight other people from the film industry as profit shares.

He is planning to construct a new hospital and a new school on a piece of land near Chennai.

He has distributed Rs 12 Lakhs as relief to the family members of the bereaved in the Coimbatore bomb blast.

Filmography - As Actor


Sultan: The Warrior - Filming

Robot - Filming

Sivaji (2007) .... Shivaji Arumugam

Chandramukhi (2005) (as Super Star Rajinikanth) .... Dr.Saravanan/Vettaiyan Raja

Baba (2002) (as Super Star Rajnikanth) .... Baba

Bulandi (2000) (as Superstar Rajnikant) .... Ghajraj Thakur

Padaiyappa (1999) .... Padaiyappa

Krantikari (1997) (as Rajnikant)

Arunachalam (1997) .... Arunachalam

Aatank Hi Aatank (1995) .... Munna

Badsha (1995) .... Badsha/Manickam

Muthu (1995) .... Muthu

Peda Rayudu (1995) .... Murdered Village Chief

Zameen (1995) (as Rajnikant)

Veera (1994) .... Muthuveerappan "Veera"

Ejamaan (1993) .... Vanavarayan

Insaniyat Ke Devta (1993) .... Anwar

Uzhaippaali (1993)

Valli (1993)

Tyagi (1992) .... Shankar G. 'Dadhu' Dayal

Mannan (1992) .... Krishna

Annamalai (1992) .... Annamalai

Pandian (1992) .... Pandiyan

Thalapathi (1991) .... Surya

Nattukku Oru Nallavan (1991)

Khoon Ka Karz (1991) .... Kishan/Assistant Commissioner Yamdoot

Farishtay (1991) .... Inspector Arjun Singh Tange

Hum (1991) (as Rajnikant) .... Kumar

Dharma Dorai (1991)

Phool Bane Angaarey (1991) (as Rajnikant) .... Inspector Ranjeet Singh

Shanti Kranti (1991)

Adisaya Piravi (1990)

ChaalBaaz (1989) (as Rajinikant) .... Jaggu

Bhrashtachar (1989) .... Abdul Sattar

Gair Kaanooni (1989) (as Rajani Kant) .... Azam Khan

Kodiparakkudu (1989) .... Erode Shivagiri/Dada

Mappilai (1989)

Raajadhi Raaja (1989)

Raja Chinna Roja (1989)

Siva (1989)

Bloodstone (1988) (as Rajni Kanth) .... Shyam Sabu

Tamacha (1988) (as Rajanikant) .... Vikram Pratap Singh 'Vicky'

Dharmathin Thalaivan (1988)

Guru Sisyan (1988)

Uttar Dakshin (1987)

Daku Hasina (1987) .... Mangal Singh

Velaikkaaran (1987)

Asli Naqli (1986) (as Rajnikant) .... Birju Ustad

Bhagwan Dada (1986) .... Bhagwaan Dada

Dosti Dushmani (1986)

Maaveran (1986)

Mr. Bharath (1986/I)

Naan Adimai Illai (1986)

Geraftaar (1985) (as Rajanikanth) .... Inspector Hussein (Guest Appearance)

Wafadaar (1985) (as Rajani Kant) .... Ranga

Bewafai (1985) .... Ranvir

Mahaguru (1985) .... Vijay (Maha Guru)

Aaj Ka Dada (1985)

Ek Saudagar (1985) .... Kishore

Naan Sigappu Manithan (1985)

Padikkathavan (1985)

Sree Raaghavendar (1985) .... Venkatanathan

Unn Kannil Neer Vazhindal (1985)

John Jani Janardhan (1984) .... Janardhan B. Gupta/Inspector John A. Mendez/Jani

Gangvaa (1984)

Insaaf Kaun Karega (1984) (as Rajnikant) .... Police Inspector Vikram Singh

Meri Adalat (1984) (as Rajnikant)

Aakhri Sangram (1984) .... Bholu Pandit

Anbulla Rajanikant (1984)

Bhooka Sher (1984)

Dushmano Ka Dushman (1984) .... Manohar

Kai Kodukkam Kai (1984) .... Kaalimuthu

Naan Mahaan Alla (1984)

Nallavanukku Nallavan (1984)

Thambikku Entha Ooru (1984)

Zulm Ki Zanjeer (1984)

Jeet Hamaari (1983) (as Rajinikanth) .... Raju

Adutha Varisu (1983)

Andhaa Kanoon (1983) .... Vijay Kumar Singh

Moondru Mugham (1983) .... Alex Pandiyan

Paayum Puli (1983) (as Rajinikant)

Sivappu Sooriyan (1983)

Thanga Magan (1983)

Agni Sakshi (1982)

Engeyo Ketta Kural (1982)

Pokkiri Raja (1982)

Pudhu Kavithai (1982)

Ranga (1982)

Thanikatu Raja (1982)

Thee (1981)

Black Cobra (1981)

Garjanai (1981)

Kazhagu (1981)

Netri Kann (1981)

Ranuva Veeran (1981)

Thillu Mullu (1981) .... Chandran/Indiran

Kaali (1980) .... Kaali

Anbukku Naan Adimai (1980)

Billa (1980) .... Billa

Ellaam Un Kairaasi (1980)

Johnny/Jani (1980)

Murattu Kaalai (1980) .... Kaaliyan

Naan Potta Savaal (1980)

Ram Robert Rahim (1980) .... Ram

Aarilirindhu Aruvathu Varai (1979)

Alavuddinum Athbutha Vilakkum (1979) .... Kamruddin

Annai Oru Aalayam (1979)

Dharma Yuddham (1979)

Johnny (1979)

Kuppathu Raja (1979)

Naan Vaazha Vaippen (1979) .... Michael

Ninaithale Inikkum (1979)

Thai Illamal Naan Illai (1979)

Shankar Saleem Simon (1978)

Aval Appadithaan (1978) .... Advertising Boss

Bhairavi (1978)

Ilamai Oonjal Aadukirathu (1978) .... Murli

Mullum Malarum (1978) .... Kali

Priya (1978)

Thappitha Thala (1978)

Aadu Puli Atham (1977)

Avargal (1977) .... Ramnath

Bhuvana Oru Kelvikkuri (1977)

Chilakamma Cheppindi (1977) .... Kasi

Gayatri (1977)

Pathinaru Vayathinile (1977) .... Parattayan

Anthuleni Katha (1976) .... Murthy

Moondru Mudichu (1976)

Apoorva Raagangal (1975)

Katha Sangama (1975)

Filmography - As Writer

Baba (2002) (screenplay) (story)

Filmography - As Producer

Baba (2002)

Filmography - As Self

Aaghaaz (2000) .... Himself (a scene from a movie)

Kishen Kanhaiya (1990) .... Himself (a scene from a movie)

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