Rajinikanth, fondly called Thalaivar by his fans, was born on December 12, 1950 to a Maharashtrian family in Bangalore. He was the fourth child of his parents, Jijabai and Ramojirao Gaekwad, who was a police constable.
Rajinikanth in his younger days, primarily worked as a bus conductor for the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation in Bangalore. His style and mannerisms were noted by the passengers who travelled with him and they suggested that he try acting.
Rajini struggled a lot when he was young because of his family's modest background. He did many odd jobs in Bangalore and participated in stage plays at a local theatre.
Rajinikanth has received India's third highest honour, the Padma Bhushan, for his contribution to Indian cinema. He is best known for his mass popularity, largely drawn from his delivery of dialogues in films.
Apart from his career in acting, Rajinikanth is a philanthropist and an influential figure in Tamil Nadu politics.
In 1974, Rajinikanth joined the Madras Film Institute. He has since acted in over 160 films including Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi, English and Bengali movies. Rajinikanth debuted as an actor in 1975 under director K Balachander.
Rajinikanth's first film is 'Apoorva Raagangal' in 1975. The film was directed by K Balachander, who Rajinikanth refers to as his "guru".
In 1976, 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 even though Rajinikanth referrers to director K Balachander.
'Mullum Malarum' (1978), directed by J Mahendran, established Rajinikanth in the Tamil film industry as a film hero. After the release of his 1978 film 'Bhairavi', he became known as the "superstar" of Tamil cinema.
Rajinikanth proved he had at last become a 'star' from a 'common actor.' His film roles were mainly that of a villain during the period 1975 to 1977, co-starring regularly with Kamal Haasan as the protagonist, in movies like 16 Vayadhinilae, Moondru
Rajinikanth was paid Rs 26 crores for 'Sivaji: The Boss', making him the highest paid actor in Asia after Jackie Chan. The movie turned out be be one of the highest grossing movies of 2007.
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Rajini made his Bollywood debut with 'Andha Kanoon' but the film tanked at the box office. He went on to act in several more Hindi films, such as 'Chaalbaaz', 'Uttar Dakshin', 'Giraftaar' and 'Hum'.
In his 100th movie, 'Sri Raghavendra', he played the Hindu saint Raghavendra Swami.
Rajinikanth acted in director P. Vasu's Tamil remake of 'Manichithrathazhu', 'Chandramukhi'. The movie was released on 14 April 2005, and went on to create box office records, and ran in theatres until 2007.
In 2010, Rajinikanth teamed up with S Shankar and AR Rahman for 'Endhiran'. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan starred alongside the superstar for the first time. Rajnikanth's last full feature film released, was a huge hit at the box office.
His son-in-law Dhanush has recently made waves with the song 'Kolaveri Di'. Dhanush is married to Rajini's daughter Aishwarya and will also be starring in her directorial debut '3'
The superstar has however been plagued by bouts of ill health this year. He was rushed the hospital, after he experienced uneasiness on the sets of 'Rana' and spent a while in medical facilities in India and Singapore, being treated for respiratory
In the film 'Rana', Rajini will take on three different roles. For one of the them, Rajini needed to lose 15 kilos and hence started off with a strict diet regime a month earlier. He will star opposite Deepika Padukone in the movie.
Rajinikanth also made a guest appearance as Chitti from 'Endhiran' in Shah Rukh Khan's Diwali blockbuster 'Ra.One'
Rajinikanth in his career has received awards in the Best Actor category for his performance in the films Sivaji, Chandramukhi, Padayappa,Peddarayudu, Baasha, Muthu, Annamalai, Thalapathy, Velaikaran, Sri Raghavendra, Nallavanuku Nallavan, Moondru