Before Rajinikanth got trapped into the Superstar image, he played characters that were flawed, vulnerable and morally ambiguous. It was long ago when he was not expected to play roles that could rival all the comic book superheroes from both the Marvel and the DC universe. When he was not worshipped by tens of millions of fans who cannot stand the idea of him dying in films. The fans who know Rajinikanth from the Chuck Norris-esque internet jokes and films which showed him as someone larger than life, may not know that Rajinikanth was a good character artiste. About three decades ago, he featured in movies where the content of the film overpowered the star in him.
It is not to say that Rajinikanth stopped amusing us after he became a demi-god both on and offscreen. But, the fans that have followed his work from the past will know that the film industry lost a good actor to stardom and blockbusters.
Here is the list of five films you should watch to know what kind of an actor Rajinikanth was before he started using his boots as a boomerang to knock people out.
Mullum Malarum (1978): In this film, Rajinikanth played Kali who make hasty decisions in a fit of anger and even pays dearly.
Bairavi (1978): This film marked Rajinikanth’s debut as the lead actor. He was until Bairavi playing second fiddle to many leading heroes in Tamil, Telugu and Kaanda. Rajinikanth’s Mookaiyah is a loyal servant who turns a blind eye to all the bad things done by his master. He even abducts a girl following his master’s orders.
Johnny (1980): This drama had Rajinikanth playing a double role – a thief and a murderer. Of course, they both get a shot at redemption.
Netrikkan (1981): Another film with Rajinikanth playing a double role – father and son. And the story revolves around an arrogant, aging businessman Chakravarthy, who is also a womanizer and his family feud with his morally upright son Santosh. What happens when the father assaults son’s love interest? All hell will break loose.
Moondru Mudichu (1976): If you want to really know how well Rajinikanth played negative roles, this film must be on your watch list. Along with Rajinikanth and Sridevi, the film also starred Kamal Haasan in an extended cameo.