45 years of Rajinikanth, and counting!
By Siddharth Singh and Joshy John
It has been 45 years since Superstar Rajinikanth has been a part of the Indian film industry. His noticeable quality is felt all across India. Rajinikanth is affectionately called Thalaiva by his fans. Thalaiva implies leader, and Rajinikanth's fans think of him as their leader. It is most likely a modest representation of the truth to call them fans or supporters since he has a demi-God status among them.
Sivaji Rao Gaekwad, professionally known as Superstar Rajinikanth, was born into a Marathi family in Mysore State. In school, Rajinikanth was a fairly mischievous yet studious fellow, with special interest in theatre and dramas. Upon completion of his school education, Rajinikanth performed several odd jobs, including that of a coolie, before getting a job as a bus conductor in the Bangalore Transport Service. He also continued doing street plays and dramas before getting into the newly formed Madras Film Institute. At his time in the institute, Tamil director K. Balachandran noticed him flipping a cigarette and holding it perfectly right between the lips. The director advised him to learn Tamil, and soon we saw Rajinikanth working in K. Balachandran’s romantic-drama Apoorva Raagangal, which was released on 15 th August, 1975. Although he didn’t have a big part in the film, with Kamal Hassan at the centre, the film became a huge hit and went on to win a National Award. This launched Rajinikanth into the film industry.
Rajinikanth is the only actor in the Indian film fraternity who has acted in movies of seven distinct languages. He also made his Hollywood debut in 1988 with the film Bloodstone, directed by Dwight H. Little. Muthu (1995) was the first Indian film to be dubbed in Japanese on account of Rajinikanth. He has a gigantic fan following in Japan, and also all over the world. Whatever Rajnikanth does in his movies, it turns into a subculture in itself. His trademark cigarette flip, his style of walking, his shirt- hurling attitude, special mention to his hairdos – even his bald “hairstyle” (indeed, it is ironic) was celebrated by his fans when his blockbuster Sivaji: The Boss (2007) was released. His last film Darbar
(2019) was a smashing blockbuster in the south.
Rajinikanth came into the industry alongside Kamal Hassan, and later, he filled the gap with the 'angry young man' roles in Tamil Cinema the same way that Amitabh Bachchan did in Hindi films. Rajnikanth, through his movies, has caused his fans to accept that the sky is the limit. His vibe has been amazing to such an extent, that the characters which he depict are only a substance to carry
him to his crowd – with the goal that they could relish a similar experience like they had in their previous viewings of his films throughout the years. In southern part of the country, his releases are like festivities, with decorated cinema halls, huge cut-outs of him, and thousands of his fans. His fans line up from the midnight to get a stub for one of the morning shows which are frequently planned at 4.30 am, that too goes houseful. That is the Rajinikanth Fever.
He has mostly played a guy-next-door, an everyday-man who rises from his humble origins to great heights. Also, after years of fair-skinned heroes, here was a man who actually looked like the common man watching his movies, and people loved seeing a representative of themselves on screen. His jobs and movies are extremely well known for being overwhelming, yet Thalaiva is absolutely inverse. His off-screen un-pretentiousness and his refusal to wear wigs, makeups, and designer clothes make him more endearing to the common man. Also, that naturally prompts them to grasp his on-screen way of life. The aura around him has a charming serenity, which metaphorically implies that the man has a sense of contentment and is easily available to the world with no restraints and confusions.
As much as he is adored by his fans and devotees, he is additionally cherished and regarded by his fellow actors and artist. A week ago, whizzes from all over Indian entertainment world shared an image which was #45YearsofRajinismCDP (common display picture), and this common DP took
twitter by storm as his followers changed their profile picture to the CDP. Superstar Rajinikanth expressed gratitude toward his fans and well-wishers, who have been feeling celebratory, on social media as he successfully finished 45 years in Indian film industry. In a sincere post in Tamil shared on Twitter, Rajinikanth expressed: "This day denotes the forty fifth anniversary of my theatrical journey. I thank all the good hearts who greeted me and my fan base who keep me alive. I won't be here if not for you."
After all he is people’s Thalaiva. To 45 years and counting!