Unarguably the biggest superstar in India, Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, better
known by his screen name, Rajinikanth is an iconic Indian film actor who
primarily works in the Tamil film industry. The superstar is referred
to as 'Thalaiva' (meaning Boss or leader) - a title given to him by his
fans who revere him as god,
After making his debut in K. Balanchander's Tamil drama film, Apoorva Raagangal in 1975, for a brief period the actor went on to portray anti-hero and antagonist characters in several films. His best role as a villain was in 'Kalyanaraman' starring Kamal Haasan and Sridevi Kapoor. For his immaculate contribution to the Indian cinema, the actor has been conferred with the coveted Padma Bhushan (2000) and Padma Vibhushan Awards (2016). In 2014, Rajinikanth was conferred with the 'Centenary Award for Indian Film Personality of the Year' award at the 45th International Film Festival of India. Apart from his film career, Rajinikanth is a spiritualist and an altruist.
Rajinikanth was born in a Maharashtrian family. His father Ramoji Rao Gaekwad, worked as a police constable in Bangalore and his mother Ramabai was a housewife. Rajinikanth's parents named him Shivaji Rao Gaekwad after the Maratha warrior king, Chhatrapati Shivaji and he grew up speaking Marathi and Kannada at home. He is the youngest of the four siblings, he has two elder brothers, Satyanarayana Rao and Nageshwara Rao and a sister named Aswath Balubhai. When Rajinikanth was about nine years old, his father moved the family to Hanumantha Nagar, a suburban region in Bangalore.
The superstar actor attended the Gaivpuram Government Kannada Model Primary School where he completed his primary education. As a child, Rajinikanth was very studious and he took great interest in sports like basketball, football, and cricket. After completing his primary education, his brother enrolled him at the Ramakrishna Math, a Hindu monastery set up by the Ramakrishna Mission. At the Math, he studied Vedas and history, which instilled a deep sense of spiritualism in him. Apart from taking lessons in spirituality, Rajinikanth began to act in various plays at the Math.
After completing his sixth grade, the actor went to study at the Acharya Pathasala Public School and studied there until he completed his pre-university course. After completing his education, he took up many jobs; he worked as a coolie and then as a carpenter before eventually taking a job as a bus conductor in Bangalore Transport Service (BTS). While working as a conductor, he simultaneously began taking part in stage plays and he got a chance to act in a mythological play run by Topi Muniappa, a popular Kannada playwright artist. During this time, the actor came across an advertisement by the newly formed Madras Film Institute, which offered courses in acting. Although Rajinikanth's family did not fully support his decision of joining the institute, he eventually enrolled for the course and he was encouraged by his friend and co-worker, Raj Bahadur who also provided him financial support. It was during his stay at the institute that he was noticed by the renowned director, K. Balachander who advised him to take lessons to improve his Tamil. The actor duly obliged and went on to become one of the most celebrated actors in India.
Rajinikanth is married to Latha Rangachari whom he met while she came to interview him for her college magazine. The two married on February 26th, 1981 in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh and they have two daughters Aishwarya Dhanush and Soundarya Rajinikanth. The elder daughter, Aishwarya who is a director in the Tamil film industry is married to actor, Dhanush and they have two sons, Yathra and Linga. Soundarya is married to industrialist Ashwin Ramkumar and she works as a producer, director and graphics designer in Kollywood.
Superstar Rajinikanth began his career in the film industry with a small role in K. Balachander's Apoorva Raagangal. The film released in 1975 and it received wide critical acclaim, it won three National Film Awards and Rajinikanth was praised for his role as the abusive husband of Srividya. His next movie, Katha Sangama released in 1976 and it again had Rajinikanth in a small character as a village ruffian who rapes a blind woman. He then made Telugu film debut with Anthuleni Katha directed by K. Balachander, which was also his debut in a lead role. Post the success of the movie, the actor appeared mostly in negative roles. In Moondru Mudichu, he played the role of a sly who murders his fri