Rajinikanth has not been named the world’s richest actor neither he frequently dominates the Forbes top 100 celebrities list in India. He doesn’t do TV commercials or talk shows. He doesn’t do extensive promotions for his films. But, the kind of popularity he enjoys across the world with movie goers is unparalleled. He is the powerful leader down south and a significant population take every word of his as gospel. Sample this: his speech at a public function altered the outcome of the Tamil Nadu elections in 1996. Tamil cinema would not be where it is today, without the contribution of the Thalaivar.
As he tuns 66 today, we give you 10 reasons why everybody unconditionally loves and respects a phenomenon called Rajinikanth.
Watch: Rajinikanth asks fans not to celebrate birthday
Rajinikanth’s life story
Who would have thought a former bus conductor would one day come to rule over the Indian film industry and attain the semi-divine status in the hearts and minds of millions of his fans.
Rajini, the style samrat
Rajinikanth was born with a distinctive sense of style, something which cannot be duplicated by others at any level. From flipping his cigarettes to his brisk walk, from wearing sun glasses in his trademark style to the way he looks at camera, the star has established his own brand of style.
During his early days of his career, Rajinikanth was schooled by legendary director KB Balachander. Fans who became aware of Rajinikanth from satirical factoids and funny memes of him or through blockbusters like Sivaji and Enthiran, may not know he has played some in-depth characters in movies where the content of the film overpowered his star power.
Rajinikanth’s passion for films
Rajinikanth wouldn’t be where he is today without his passion for acting, hard work and determination. In 1978, the year he became a hero with Bairavi, about 21 of his films were released and that’s a record in itself.
Rajinikanth promises a blockbuster at BO
While biggest Bollywood films with top star cast find it difficult to touch Rs 100 crore budget, producers don’t even think twice before pouring their wealth into Rajinikanth films. Because of him, director Shankar was able to make a film like Enthiran in 2010, which was the director’s dream project for several years. And he is the sole reason why 2.0 found no difficulty in finding a producer to dole out more than Rs 350 crore to make the second most expensive film in Asia.
Rajinikanth is expanding the market for Tamil films
Rajinikanth has opened up new markets for Tamil film industry. The popularity of Tamil films in Telugu, Kerala, Karnataka, other parts of the country grew by leaps and bounds because of his films. His films have also unlocked several international markets for southern cinema. His films are also a hit in Japan and China too.
His family values:
When he married Latha, he was struggling with a lot of personal issues and he found the force in her that can keep him from breaking in half. His family is his strength and he knows it. He is an exemplary husband, father and grandfather. One of his core principles and something that he often underlines while addressing his fans at public gatherings is to put their family before everything else.
Rajinikanth is a philanthropist with no PR
Rajinikanth showers his unconditional gratitude and love on his fans time and again. He is deeply involved in charity and he performs all his philanthropic responsibilities quietly and without much fan fare. He has reportedly given half of his income to charities. At a time when people refrained from donating eyes due to superstitious beliefs, he led a campaign for corneal transplantation by pledging to donate his eyes.
Rajinikanth is an inspiration
For generations of actor Rajinikanth is the benchmark. Every other actor in the film industry, be it a new kid on the block or the actor who has spent 20 years in the industry, dream of becoming Rajinikanth in their own rights. He also serves as a living example for millions of people that hard work pays off.
Rajinikanth’s wisdom and wit
Rajinikanth has an abundance of wisdom and he never shies away from sharing it with his fans. Watching him speak at a public podium is as thrilling an experience as watching him in action onscreen. He brings out a different side of him during such public meetings. At times even he openly challenges his detractors, just like he does in his films.
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