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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1586

Sunday Celebrity: Rajini is simple, stylish, spiritual, that explains his uniqueness

By Gopal Ethiraj
Chennai, 14 December (

PIC-02v1.jpgThe matinee idol of Indian film industry, Rajinikanth, turned 60 yesterday. There were celebrations by his fans, fan clubs, welfare associations run in his name and his friends. Media, especially TV channels and FMs, dished out a lot of programmes on the superstar.

Generally, film stars worry about their image, and coming to revealing of their age, they would keep a lid on it. Here’s one who cares a little on that and just comes out even without make up, his semi bald-head and grey hair showing. He wants to be realistic.

He is simple, spiritual and stylish combined in one. And a down-to-earth film star. It is perhaps his rags-to-riches story makes the superstar a favourite of the masses. Such a colossus of a personality, he has a huge fan-following, post MGR- Sivaji era. He is best known for his mass popularity and appeal, largely drawn from his mannerisms and stylized delivery of dialogue in films.

Rajini does not want mislead his fans, take advantage of them or exploit them. He downplays even his birthdays. Usually, on his birthdays Rajinikanth would escape from the fanfare and hysteria whipped up by his fans in Chennai, to unknown Himalayan destinations for solitude and introspection, but this year he is very much at home.


His completing sixty is a land mark, still Rajini has not given call for a big celebration and all. Instead he sent out message, don’t rush to Chennai to greet him. That is his greatness. Last year, it is to be noted that the actor beseeched his fans to stay away from any celebrations considering the sufferings of Tamils in neighboring Sri Lanka. And he left for Hyderabad to take part in the shooting of his animation movie directed by his daughter Soundarya.

This year too, office bearers of the Superstar's fans club have asked fans not to come to Chennai to greet Rajini, as he will be out of town.

Film sources said a grand homam was performed by family members of Rajinikanth in which the top actor's wife Latha, daughters Aishwarya and Soundarya, son-in-law Dhanush and grandson Yathra took part. Vedic scholars performed poojas by chanting hymns as part of the 'Mruthyunjay Homam', they added.

His family and close friends have organized a Shashitabadapoorthi puja (60th birthday celebrations) at the famous Tirukkadiyur temple near Tiruchi.

Individual fans and artist who are close to him like Lawrence and director SP Muthuraman conducted their own “feeding the poor” programmes at Choolaimedu.

Fans’ frenzy celebrations.

Nothing stopping Rajini’s fans from celebrating. His birthday this year is double joy for them, as the superstar is stepping into his 60th year. And they also plan to celebrate 'Rajini-60' in a grand way.

Fans of the star in Sholinghur, a temple town in Vellore district, have come out with a book full of colourful paintings that depict Rajini as a revolutionary who would bring social equality for all.The book, ‘Rajini 60’, compiled by the fan club, captures different moods of the actor.

Besides, Rajini Fans Club has also decided to help fans belonging to poor families by taking life insurance policies for a sum of Rs 1.50 lakh in their names. The fans club would pay the premium amount for the beneficiaries of the scheme.

Not just in Sholinghur, but fans all over the country and abroad are planning big to celebrate their big day. "There will be various welfare activists and health camps. Special poojas were be performed in temples," say a fan club office-bearer.

Rajini fans chose to celebrate the day in a big manner in Karnataka, Kerala, few parts of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, according to newspaper reports. Reports say that in UK, USA, Canada, Japan, China and Australia too, Rajini fans greeted each other.

Fans of Rajinikanth celebrated his birthday by performing milk abhishekams to his banners and distributing sweets.

Not just fans, it is also the media in this part of the world going the whole hog to celebrate the birthday of Superstar Rajinikanth. Right from this morning, television channels and FM Radios have been airing special programmes to mark the day.

There are chat shows on FMs where fans express their views on the top actor while interacting with RJs. Music channels are full of songs featuring the Superstar, besides cashing in on by displaying SMSes from fans greeting Rajini.

There are also Rajinikanth starrer blockbusters on many television channels today to amuse fans on their Thalaivar’s birthday. Coming to the print media, most of the newspapers and magazines published special stories on the matinee idol. And what more? Web portals, the inevitable part of the new media, are carrying features and articles on Rajini (like this one you are reading now).


Fans call to Rajini to enter politics

Voices asking Superstar Rajinikanth to enter politics are high on air once again. Posters and banners requesting the matinee idol to test political waters are seen all over Tamil Nadu, on the occasion of his 60th birthday.

A mega size poster in many parts of Chennai had graphical work featuring Rajini sitting in the State Assembly, while the Governor is reading out a message.

'Thalaiva Va', 'Naalaiya Thamizhagam', '2010-il Arasiyal, 2011-il Aatchi' were some of the slogans that were present on banners and posters in many parts of the State.

A special annadhanam and laddu distribution took place on Saturday morning at the TTD Centre in T Nagar. Besides fans of Rajini in Thiruvallur district, donoted blood, organs and eyes, 60 persons each tdo mark Rajini’s 6oth year.

Welfare activities including note book distribution to students were carried out by Rajini fans associations at various places including ECR and OMR Roads, besides several suburban areas like Pallavaram, Thambaram, Ambattur and Avadi.

Celebrations at the districts of Tamil Nadu surpassed that of Chennai. Avid fans gathered at various district headquarters to put up huge hoardings wishing the Superstar besides bursting crackers and distributing sweets. Vociferous celebrations were reported from Trichy, Madurai, Thanjavur, Tirunelveli and other places.

His touch and go in politics

In 1995 Rajinikanth announced that he is willing to support the Congress party after meeting Narasimha Rao, the then Prime Minister. Opinion polls then predicted that Congress with Rajinikanth support may win up to 130 seats in Tamil Nadu Assembly.

In 1996, when the Congress Party decided to align with AIADMK, Rajinikanth supported DMK-TMC alliance. The TMC used a bicycle as their election symbol and used an image of Rajinikanth riding a bicycle from the film “Annamalai” in their posters.

Rajinikanth’s saying "Even God cannot save Tamil Nadu if AIADMK returns to power," was a catch word for elections then. Rajinikanth wholeheartedly supported the DMK and TMC alliance and asked the people of Tamil Nadu and his fans to vote for that alliance. This alliance had a complete victory in 1996. He supported the DMK-TMC alliance in parliamentary elections the same year.

In 2008 when a few of his enthusiastic fans in Coimbatore started their own political party in the name of Rajinikanth and introduced their own flags and symbols for the party, the actor wrote an open letter to the press and declared that he had no connection with these events and has strictly warned fans not to indulge in such activities, and failing to adhere would cause him to take up legal action against them.

He also mentioned that he was not interested in politics. He also added that nobody can force him to enter politics, as clear as the fact that none can stop him from entering it at the right time too.

In 2002 Rajinikanth undertook a day-long fast to protest Karnataka's decision to not to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. and announced that he would contribute Rs.10 million towards interlinking of Indian rivers scheme. He met Prime Minister Vajpayee and many experts to canvass support for interlinking Indian rivers scheme.

His dialogue lines stay on with youth

Rajni who followed the Sivaji style of acting developed his own style of acting in no time. In “16 Vayathinile”, his frequently used the dialogue “Idhu Eppadi Irrukku’ which means “How is it?’ became a style with the youngsters.

Similarly all his punch dialogue became the favorite catch phrase of teenagers of those days. His “Seeviduvein Seevi’ in “Murattu Kalai”, “I’ll do what I say and say what I’ll do” in “Manithan” and “If I say once, it is like 100 times” and "Andavan Solraan. Arunachalam Mudikiraan." (God proposes. Arunachalam disposes). boosted the energy of his fans. `Arul' too has a similar line: "Aniyayam Panna Andavanukku Porukaathu, Asingamapesina Arulukku Pudikaathu." (God can't tolerate injustice. Arul can't tolerate bad language). All these words were on the lips of his fans.

Rajini made a long way up Introduced by Director K. Balachander, Rajinikanth, captivated the audience with his individualistic style and dialogues that were delivered with a twist, in the film “Apoorva Raagangal’.

Minutes after the young man named Shivaji Rao Gaekwad walked out of his office, legendary director K Balachander reportedly told an associate, “There is fire in this young man’s eyes. One day, he will take Tamil cinema by storm.”

The filmmaker’s words were bang on target. Today, more than three decades later, Rajinikanth is truly a phenomenon.

Rajinikanth debuted as an actor in 1975 in supporting roles. He was later favoured in portraying antagonistic characters and gradually rose to acting in lead roles. After the release of his role in film”Bhairavi” in 1978, he became known as the “Super Star” of Tamil cinema, which was the title given to him by film producer S. Thanu and till this date used by many people to refer to him.

He also appeared in the cinemas of other nations, including American cinema. He was paid Rs. 26 crores (approximately USD 6 million) for “Sivaji, the Boss”, making him the highest paid actor in Asia after Jackie Chan.


Rajinikanth was born as Shivaji Rao Gaekwad into a Marathi family in Bangalore in Karnataka. He was the fourth child of his parents, Jijabai and Ramojirao Gaekwad, a police constable. He lost his mother at the age of five. He attended elementary school at the Acharya Paathshala in Basavanagudi in Bangalore and then at the Vivekananda Balaka Sangha. Rajinikanth struggled a lot during his early age because of his family's low income. Although Marathi is his mother-tongue he has not yet acted in any Marathi films.

He worked with various jobs in Bangalore and also attended a theatre for stage plays. Before starting his career in the film industry, he used to practice stunts at the Rama Hanuman Temple at a hill near his house. He then primarily worked as a bus conductor in Bangalore. His charisma and style were noted by the passengers who travelled with him and gave him suggestions in becoming an actor. It was during this time that he nurtured his acting interests by performing in various stage plays.

Rajinikanth joined the South Indian Film Chamber’s Film Institute in 1974. he has acted in nearly 200 films, which includes Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi, English and Bengali language films. Rajinikanth made his debut in Bollywood with “Andha Kanoon” but the film went on to become a poor grosser. His other Hindi films are “Chaalbaaz,” “Uttar Dakshin,” “ Giraftaar,” “ “Hum.”

He starred in the American film” Bloodstone” in 1988, which released with much fanfare in India, however, unsuccessful in the United States. He also made brief stints in the Japanese and German languge films. His 1995 film “ Muthu” was dubbed into Japanese while his 2005 film “Chandramukhi” was dubbed in German and released in all German-speaking nations.

Rajinikanth's first film in Tamil was “Apoorva Rahangal” where he was initially casted in supporting rolein 1975. The film was directed by K. Balachander, whom he is constantly referring as his own "guru" or mentor.]The following year, Rajinikanth acted in his first Kannada film “Katha Sangama”directed by Puttanna Kanagal. It was director SP Muthuraman who actually revamped Rajinikanth’s image entirely. Muthuraman first experimented with him in a positive role in “Bhuvana Oru Kelvikkuri” in 1977, as a villain in the first half of the film and a protagonist in the second. Around this time “Mullum Malarum” (1978), directed by J Mahendran, established Rajinikanth in the Tamil film arena as a film hero.

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 Arupathu Varai (1979). 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 evoke emotions. The acceptance of Rajinikanth sans his stylized mannerisms proved he had at last become a "star" from a "common actor." His film roles were mainly as a villain during the period 1975 to 1977, co-starring frequently with Kamal Hasan as the protagonist, in movies like “16 Vayathinele”, “ Mppndru Mudichu” and “Avargal”.

Rajinikanth abruptly chose to quit acting, after 1978. But he was coaxed back. He took up the blockbuster Tamil film ”Billa”, which was a remake of the Hindi movie “Don”. With its phenomenal success he was accepted as a full-fledged hero. This was followed by a row of hits, namely ‘Murattu Kalai,’ ‘ Pokkiri Raja’, ‘Thanikattu Raja’, ‘ Naan Mahan Alla’, ‘Pudikavithai’, and ‘Moondru Mogam’

K. Balachander’s first home production, “Netrikann” proved to be yet another milestone in Rajni’s career. He acted in his first cameo in the movie” anbculla Rajinikanth” (1984). More box-office hits dominated the 80's with’ Padikathavan’, ‘Thee’, ‘Velaikaran’, ‘Dharemathin TDhalaivan’ ‘Mrs.Bharath’ and ‘Maaveeran’. In his 100th movie, “Sri Ragdavendra”, he played the Hindu saint Ragavendra Swami..

The movies released during 1989 included ”Thalapathy’, ‘Mannan’, ‘Annamalai’ ‘Uzhaipali’, ‘Veera’, ‘Baasha’ (1995), ‘Muthu’, ‘arunachalam’ and ‘Padayappa’.

Rajinikanth wrote his first screenplay and acted as a special appearance in 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.

His “Chandramukhi” film released in April 2005, created a new box office records such as being the longest running Tamil film, as of 2007. The he acted in AVM Productions’ “Sivaji: The Boss” which went on to become ranked among other major Bollywood and Hollywood releases of the year. The film charted as one of the top-ten best films of United Kingdom and South Africa box-offices upon release.

When his starrer “Kuselan”, a remake of the Malayalam film “Katha Parayambol”, in which Rajinikanth played a cameo role as himself, a star in the Indian film industry, and as a best friend to the main character, incurred major losses Rajinikanth voluntarily settled the distributors from his budget..

Awards and honours

He received India's third highest honour, the Padma Bhushan in 2000 from Government of India for his contribution to Indian cinema. Last week he received the Best Actor award for the year 2007 from the Tamil Nadu State Films award from the hands of Chief Minister Karunanidhi. Rajinikanth was named as one of the influential persons in South Asia by Asiaweek. He won Filmfare Best Actor Award in 1984 for “ Nallavanukku Nallavan” and for “Muthu” in 1994.

He has also received other honours such as the Raj Kapoor Award in 2007 from the Government of Maharashtra. In September 2005, Rajinikanth won the Tamilnadu state best actor Award for his role in “Chandramukhi”. In 2008 he was selected as the Indian Entertainer of the Year for 2007 by NDTV, competing against the likes of Shahrukh Khan.

Between 1977 and 2005, Rajinikanth received several awards from Tamil Nadu State Film Awards and Filmfare awards. Cinema Express and Film fans Association 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.

He married Latha Rangachari, on 26 February 1981, at the age of 31 and they have two daughters named Aiswarya and Soundarya. Latha Rajinikanth, his wife, currently runs a school named The Ashram. His elder daughter Aishwarya is married actor Dhanush on 18 November 2004 and they have one son named Yathra. His second daughter, Soundarya works in the film industry as director, producer and graphic designer.

- Asian Tribune -

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