The undisputed superstar of Bollywood and Tamil cinemas for over 45 years, Rajinikanth continues to rule the hearts of his fans across the world. He isn’t just loved, admired and appreciated, but also worshipped as the Thalaivaa down south. Words often fall short when one has to define this legendary actor, such has been the impact of his films. Astoundingly, Rajinikanth wasn’t born with a proverbial silver spoon in his mouth. On the contrary, he had to face a lot of hardships.
Rajnikanth roots to a family that was financially very unsound, he took any and every job that came his way. From being a coolie, a carpenter, to a bus conductor, Rajinikanth saw the worst of days until he started playing small roles in mythological plays. It was his interest in acting that took him to the movies and before you know, he was ruling this world!
Modesty, humility, patience, and perseverance are a few lessons we can learn from Rajinikanth’s life story. Today we tell you what makes him a true real-life hero.
A Glimpse Of Rajnikanth’s Life Story
Everyone knows him by his mononymous name “Rajnikanth”, but his real name is “Shivaji Rao Gaekwad”. Born in a very poor Marathi family, his parents named him after the Maratha warrior, Chhatrapati Shivaji. Rajnikanth was forced to work during his childhood and took up several odd jobs. He began his career as a coolie to ensure his family could afford three meals a day. Post that, he was employed by Bangalore Transport Service (BTS), where he worked as a bus conductor. Then financial stability was a distant dream for the man who would one day earn in crores.
Rajinikanth never allowed his life challenges to break his spirit and continued to search for a better future. As such, it would be safe to say that the veteran star is the very personification of fortitude. While supporting his family, he fostered his acting talent by participating in several school plays. One of the most notable roles he played was that of Duryodhana in Kurukshetra. Later, he felt drawn to the stage again and began acting in theatre (Kannada) plays. In 1973, he joined the Madras Film Institute in 1973 and pursued a diploma in acting. K.Balachander, an Indian director working primarily in the Tamil industry was the first person to discover his intrinsic flair for acting.
In 1975, Rajinikanth debuted in Balachander’s Tamil classic ‘Apoorva Raagangal’ which was followed by a string of tiny roles in his upcoming movies. Rajnikanth’s breakthrough role in Tamil cinemas was with ‘Bairavi’ where he played the lead role for the first time.
After delivering a series of successful movies, Rajinikanth finally made his entry to Bollywood movies with Andha Kanoon, alongside Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini. His immaculate dialogue delivery and stylish walk earned him the title of “SUPERSTAR”- Rest is history! Even today his witty humor, his signature style of flipping the cigarette is a hit with the masses.
When it comes to awards and accolades, Rajinikanth has won more than his fair share. He has won six Tamil Nadu State Film Awards – four Best Actor Awards and two Special Awards for Best Actor – and a Filmfare Best Tamil Actor Award. He is also a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian honor.
While he is known for his vivacious action sequences and gritty dialogues, in real life Rajinikanth sports a soft-hearted persona and indulges in lots of philanthropic activities. Rajinikanth is someone who has not let stardom or fame take a toll on his humility. During the Chennai floods, he cancelled his birthday celebrations and donated Rs. 10 crores towards relief. He asked his fans to celebrate his birthday by participating in the relief activities. Also, the actor went on a daylong fast to protest the Karnataka government’s decision to not release Kaveri River into Tamil Nadu.
He has been a textbook definition of selflessness and he proved this when he offered financial help to the makers of his movie ‘Baba’ when the film underperformed at the box office. Furthermore, it’s not just the superstar, but also his fans who are greatly involved in social causes. His fan associations frequently organize blood donation and eye donation camps in his name. These actions are a strong mark of his generous nature.
In The End …
Success isn’t dependent on one’s origin. He came from a humble background, weathered hardships and became one of the most loved filmstars both on and off-screen.
A true legend, a true superstar, and a true icon – This is Rajnikanth’s life story.