There's part of a lyrics to renowned Tamil song - debuted in 1989 in the movie Raja Chinna Roja -
which roughly translates to: "When you ask around who is the Superstar, even a child can tell, when you say his name, even the grass will stand tall
The song speaks volumes about the fame and reputation of the man dubbed as the ‘God of Tamil cinema’: Superstar Rajinikanth
Everytime he does something in one of his movies, his fans go crazy; especially when he throws a cigarette that will spin in the air before landing perfectly in his mouth, or when he throws a punch and the bad fellows will fly ten feet in the air.
Yes, the same man who is fondly called as ‘Thalaiva’ (leader) by his fans and the same man who mesmerised millions of fans worldwide with his flamboyance, turns 67 today (12 December).
Happy birthday, Thalaiva!
To celebrate the legend's birthday, we thought we would present to you ten facts your probably did not know about Superstar Rajinikanth, one of India’s most influential and bankable actors.
#1 Rajinikanth is not his real name
Rajinikanth was born on 12 December 1950 in a Marathi family in Bangalore, and his real name is Shivaji Rao Gaekwad
. He was named after Maratha warrior ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji. He was the fourth child to his parents, police constable Ramojirao Rao Gaekwad and housewife Jijabai Rao Gaekwad. His mother died when he was nine.
He studied at the Acharya Pathasala Public School in Bangalore until pre-university level.
His screen name, Rajinikanth, was actually given to him by his mentor, Tamil film director K. Balachander.
#2 He used to work as a bus conductor
During his early days, the actor and his family struggled financially. As such, he had to take up odd jobs to make ends meet.
He worked as a carpenter. He also worked as a coolie (an unskilled native labourer in India).
His most famous and probably his most humbling stint was when he worked as a bus conductor
with the Bangalore Transport Service (BTS) in 1973. It was during this time he developed a keen interest in acting and he started to take part in stage plays.
#3 He was a pretty huge deal on Twitter
The actor offically started his official Twitter page in May 2014, which also marked his debut in the digital space, and his fans went totally berserk. The actor’s twitter handle @superstarrajini
was trending shortly after it went live and it was quickly verified.
Before he even tweeted his first characters on Twitter, he had over 10,000 followers. On the debut day itself, Rajinikanth had more than 2,150,000 followers, breaking the first day records of other popular Bollywood actors.
His debut also made the top ten first-day Twitter record internationally, where it was ranked the sixth most popular Twitter debut of all time.
Currently, he has 4.3 million followers on his Twitter page. That's more than the likes of Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Bruno Mars and of course, fellow Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan.
#4 Rajinikanth has acted in more than 100 films
The actor made his cinematic debut in his mentor K. Balachander's 1975 Tamil film ‘Apoorva Raagangal
’, in which he played a minor role of an abusive husband.
From that debut, he went on to act in various films in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and even in Bollywood films. Among his most famous movies include 'Baasha'
The last movie that he acted in was 2016’s blockbuster movie, 'Kabali'
, in which he portrayed a Malaysian thug. The movie was also dubbed from Tamil to Bahasa Malaysia and released in local cinemas.
With over 100 movies under his belt, his fans are eagerly awaiting his next releases. His next movie is '2.0'
, which is a sequel to 'Enthiran
' and 'Kaala'
#5 Rajinikanth’s daughters are film directors
The actor has two daughters, Aishwarya Rajinikanth Dhanush and Soundarya Rajinikanth, both of whom are actively involved in the film fraternity.
Aishwarya directed the movie ‘3
’ in which her husband Dhanush played the hero, while Soundarya directed her father’s ‘Kochadaiyan
#6 Rajinikanth is somehow connected to India's most searched YouTube video
Rajinikanth’s son-in-law is well-known actor, Dhanush. Dhanush married one of Rajinikanth’s daughter, Aishwarya, on 18 November 2004. The pair is blessed with two sons, Yatra and Linga.
Dhanush is known for being the singer of the song that went viral on social media, "Why This Kolaveri Di
". The song became the most searched YouTube video in India and a huge phenomenon in Asia.
We guess you can call it the "Despacito
" of India.
#7 Rajinikanth has received countless awards
You name it, Rajinikanth has probably received it. The star is the recipient of numerous awards in India and internationally. He is a nine-time recipient of the ‘Tamil Nadu State Film Awards’, out of which six are under the ‘Best Actor’ category.
In 2014, he won the ‘Centenary Award for Indian Film Personality of the Year’. He had also won the ‘Entertainer of the Decade’ award in 2011.
Rajinikanth was also named one of the most influential people in South Asia by Asiaweek and was named by Forbes India as the most influential Indian of the year in 2010.
#8 Some Indian companies declared a holiday to celebrate his film's release
As they say, there are fans, and then, there are Rajinikanth fans. Fans go crazy over him and they certainly do crazy things for him. He has a cult-like following not only in India but also worldwide, including in Japan and here in Malaysia.
For example, during one of the superstar's birthdays, his fans organised blood donation drives.
Fresh milk will be poured on his life-sized posters, a gesture that is usually reserved for Hindu gods and idols.
When his movie "Kabali"
was released, several companies in India declared a holiday for the employees join in the celebration.
You can say that he is celebrated like a demi-god all over the world.
#9 Rajinikanth is a huge fan of yoga
Yes, he does not let all that fan glory go to his head. He remains humble and down to earth by involving in spirituality.
In an interview, he has said: “I value spirituality more than name, fame and money. I am drawn towards the power of spirituality and derive a lot of energy from it.”
On top of that, the actor once revealed that he practices yoga and meditation when he can. He also occasionally leaves for pilgrimage to the Himalayas.
#10 He could be India's next Prime Minister
For some time now, speculation are rife that the star will join politics. Many political parties have invited him to join them, however, the guessing game is still on. To date, Rajinikanth has been tight-lipped about his move.
But he once said: “If there is a situation where I have to enter politics, I will never let such people (who are interested in politics for money) even come near me.”
That being said, Rajinikanth has many times been spotted rubbing shoulders with politicians all over the world, including our very own Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.