Why Even Singapore Worships Indian Superstar Rajnikanth!
Rajnikanth, a Bangalore-born Tamil actor, is one of India’s biggest superstars who commands fame and respect all over the world. The Thalaiva, as he is fondly called, turns 66 today, PP pays an ode to the flamboyant and colourful actor by highlighting some of the highs from his life.
- Rajnikath is a mix of three distinct cultures. Born in a Maharashtrian household at Bangalore in Karnataka, the actor made it big in Tamil cinema. As a child, he learned to speak Marathi at home and Kannada at school or with his friends and later on grew proficient in Tamil as well, which helped him cross language barriers and become the greatest star of Tamil cinema.
- He was named Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, after the famous Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
- Rajnikanth was not an actor from the beginning of his career. He dabbled in various professions and was a coolie, carpenter and later on a bus conductor employed with the Bangalore Transport Service (BTS), before entering Tamil cinema.
- Even during his days as a bus conductor, Rajnikanth did not allow his profession to rule over his interests. When he was not selling tickets to passengers, he would act in Kannada stage plays.
- Although he is mostly associated with Tamil cinema, Rajnikanth has also acted in Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, Bengali and Hindi films. In 1988, he had also acted in an American film Bloodstone, in which he had a prominent role as a street-smart taxi driver.
- One of his highly acclaimed films, Enthiran, has been added in the syllabus of an IIM-A postgraduate elective course, Contemporary Film Industry: A Business Perspective.
- Enthiran was originally supposed to be done by another Tamil superstar Kamal Hassan, who is in fact Rajnikanth’s favourite actor. The two have worked in quite a few movies together.
- Rajnikanth is worshipped by the masses, literally! When his latest film Kabali released this year, prayers were held inside and outside theatres not only in India, but even in Singapore!
- The talented actor received the Padma Bhushan in 2000 and the Padma Vibhushan this year from the Government of India.