Rajnikanth is one of the most influential and bankable movie stars in Indian cinema. Rajnikanth’s mass popularity and appeal is largely drawn from his mannerisms and stylised delivery of dialogue. He received India’s third highest honour, the Padma Bhushan, for his contribution to Indian cinema. Other than acting, he has worked as a screenwriter, film producer and also a playback singer.
He joined the Madras Film institute in 1973 with the help of his friend Raj Bahadur, a fellow bus driver and completed a basic course in acting. Rajnikanth has acted in a total 190 movies, which includes Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi, English and Bengali films. The legendary actor made a foray into Bollywood with Andha Kanoon, but did not make as much of an impact as he had in the south.
In Kabali, Rajni has played the role of a gangster, with swag. However, in comparison to his previous avatars, this time, he has certainly played his age. The 65-year-old rocks the bearded, old character look with grace. The award-winning actor has uniquely delivered dialogues, creating believable facial expressions. Using these effectively, Rajnikanth increases the credibility and sincerity of his various characters. Overall, his ability to express the inner expressions of all genres, comedy, horror, sci-fi, and crime, with equivalent ease, attracts people of all generations.
This is the movie that catapulted Rajnikanth from superstardom to demi-god status. It is the movie that made Rajnikanth, the Rajinikanth. The cult movie has since inspired many imitations, but nobody has matched the electrifying energy of the legend in the movie.
The film was a blockbuster and completed a 175-day run at the box office. It was later released in Japanese as Muthu Odoru Maharaja which means Muthu – The Dancing Maharaja. The film grossed a record US $1.6 million in Japan in 1998 and was responsible for creating a large Japanese fan-base for the actor. Muthu’s success in Japan led American news magazine Newsweek to comment in a 1999 article that Rajnikanth had “supplanted Leonardo DiCaprio as Japan’s trendiest heartthrob.”
4. Sivaji The Boss
A software engineer returning to his country to contribute to nation-building is met with resistance. He opts for bribery to further his novel intentions. And he is robbed of all his money and thrown onto the streets. But corrupt bureaucrats didn’t know that they have woken up a sleeping lion. A righteous man avenging misdeeds of those in power is something that could give us satisfaction.
5. Enthiran (Robot)
We never needed a superhero movie because Rajnikanth did everything a Marvel or a DC comic hero could do. But this is the first movie which gave a scientific explanation for superhuman Rajnikanth. An advanced humanoid robot falling in love with its master’s girlfriend will set your screens on fire.
Mahendran film in which Rajnikanth essayed two different roles – a small-time conman and a hardened criminal. It was another rare film where Rajnikanth was not the macho hero that he would later be. In Johnny, Rajinikanth would eloquently portray the role of a vulnerable human being struggling to reciprocate the heroine’s (Sridevi) feelings for him – only because he is a conman not fit for a reputed singer like her.
In this horror comedy flick, Rajnikanth carried off the Indian-American psychiatrist look. Illustratively, he visited an abandoned mansion for creepy happenings, attributed to a ghost courtesan. With his trademark charisma and impeccable performance, the award-winning film star once again won the Tamil Nadu State Film Awards 2005, as the best actor. Chandramukhi was his third all-time blockbuster movie. It completed a massive 700 day run at the box office, with reports of around 20 million tickets sold worldwide.