The transition of Shivaji Rao Gaekwad to Rajinikanth: Tracing the Superstar’s journey in cinema

One of the highest paid actor in Asia, Rajinikanth began his acting career with K Balachander's Tamil drama 'Apoorva Raagangal' in a supporting role.

Published: 08th June 2018 12:53 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th June 2018 03:39 PM   |  A+A-

Superstar Rajinikanth (File | EPS)

Online Desk

After a controversial week, Rajinikanth's Kaala has finally released and the public has already declared it a superhit!

Shivaji Rao Gaekwad aka Rajinikanth’s journey from a bus conductor to a superstar to a politician has been tumultuous.

One of the highest paid actor in Asia, Rajinikanth began his acting career with K Balachander's Tamil drama 'Apoorva Raagangal' in a supporting role. The Hindu branded newcomer Rajini’s effort as “dignified and impressive”.

Superstar Rajinikanth (File | EPS)

The audience took notice of young Rajinikanth when he sexily flicked his cigarette in Moondru Mudichu (1976), like no other. The Rajini trademark, the first of many more, was established after this scene.

In 'Dharma Yuddam', 39 years back, when this man flipped his sunglasses, fans went berserk. His unmatched style coupled with his acting skills was the perfect recipe for a superstar in making.

Once he shot into the limelight, the climb up the popularity ladder was swift – Rajini's fanbase expanded from the south to the north and even overseas.

His Bollywood debut opposite Amitabh Bachchan in 'Andha Kanoon' was well received and became the highest grossing film at that time. He maintained his constancy with Amitabh Bachchan in movies like 'Hum' (1991) and Geraftaar (1985).

His 1998 Tamil film "Muthu" directed by KS Ravikumar became the first Tamil film to be dubbed in Japanese. Since then, many of his Japanese fans have been learning Tamil and are quite fluent!

The craze for Superstar only went on to grow thereafter. Even 20 years after the release of "Muthu" many of his Japanese fans still flew all the way to Chennai to watch the first show of 'Thalaivar' latest flick Kaala which released on Thursday.

Superstar Rajinikanth (File | EPS)

His 2010 movie, Enthiran (Robot) opposite Aishwarya Rai was made on a budget of  Rs 150-crore and is considered India's costliest. Facebook and Instagram converted his ‘superpowers’ into memes, furthering  his popularity.

Shah Rukh Khan's iconic ‘Lungi Dance’ sequence and failed attempts at flipping sunglasses in 'Chennai Express' was seen as a tribute to Rajinikanth.

The scene during the release of a Rajini movie in the state is one to behold: Huge cut-outs with layers of garlands adorn the streets of Tamil Nadu accompanied with loud music and dancing. 

Litres of milk is poured on the huge life-like posters and celebrations begin soon after. ‘Devotees’ worship him with lit diyas on bare hands, something not seen before.

Superstar Rajinikanth (File | EPS)

Rajinikanth’s fanbase is not just a concept, it is digital! The official fan page has 20,000 followers on Twitter, 30,000 on Facebook and 50,000 members are part of the official Rajinikanth fan club. The All India Rajinikanth fan association is an active participant in every movie release of the star's and religiously arranges fan meets with Rajnikanth. The administrator of the fan club, Sudhakar says that Coimbatore alone has 1,000 fan clubs solely dedicated to Rajini, according to a TNM report.

Kaala is expected to shatter many box-office records and the film is definitely on top priority for the fans to celebrate their star who will appear on the big screens after two years.


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