Birthday special: 5 reasons that make Rajinikanth the undisputed “Thalaivar” of Tamil cinema
Rajinikanth is hands down one of the most revered and famous names in Indian cinema. The quintessential artist enjoys an enviable audience due to his unique reel manners, energetic on-screen presence, “massive” dialogue, and humble nature. The legend, who began his career in 1975, remains the undisputed “Thalaivar” of Kollywood despite the emergence of young stars. In fact, his latest film Annaatthe raised almost Rs 35 crore on day one, becoming the industry’s biggest opener in Tamil Nadu. On Sunday, as the mass hero turns 71, here’s a look at the reasons for his rise from an “outsider” to “Thalaivar”
Rajinikanth has never really shied away from experimenting with his reel image. The star played negative roles during the early stages of his career before becoming a real star in the 80s. He proved his credentials as a mass hero with his work in blockbusters such as Billa, You, Polladhavan, Muthu, and of course the cult classic Baashha. However, he never limited himself to mass roles. ‘Superstar’ starred in the film Light Thillu Mullu, a remake of the Bollywood classic Gol Maal. It was played in Anbulla Rajinikanth, a film about the tender friendship between a sick girl and a movie star. The K Natraj-directed film didn’t perform very well at the box office, but received praise for its sensitive storyline. Johnny and Mullum Malarum also didn’t cast him as a macho man.
Man for all formats
Rajinikanth is the only Indian star to have acted in the four major formats of world cinema: black and white, color, 3D and motion capture. The Morning Idol began her career with the black and white film Apoorva Raagangal. He went on to star in films such as Avargal and Moondru Mudichu , which were shot in the same format. Most of his filmography includes color films, which also applies to other stars. The star scored a big win over her peers in 2014 when he appeared in the photorealistic motion capture Kochadaiiyaan. Rajini added another feather to his cap when he played four separate roles in 2.0. which was filmed using 3D technology.
Contrary to popular belief, Rajinikanth has no qualms about not being the “star” of the film, which has encouraged him to take on multi-stars. The veteran was seen alongside Malayalam Cinema’s ‘Megastar’ Mammootty in Thalapathi, which hit screens in 1991. He took a step back to let Jyothika shine as the main character in scenes from Chandramukhi. Likewise, Akshay Kumar Pakshi rajan– an undead vigilante – was Shankar’s typical hero in 2.0. The writers have built an “aura” around the character through several terrifying sequences and flashback scenes.
Language no barrier
Rajinikanth, unlike some of his contemporaries, is a household name in Bollywood and the Telugu film industry. He made his presence felt in the Hindi industry with films such as Andhaa Kanoon, Chaal Baaz and Hmm. His notable Telugu films include Ram robert rahim and Anthuleni Katha. He also starred in a few Kannada films and the English film Blood stone, pushing its limits.
Ready to support young blood
Rajinikanth, who has a sense of talent, is more than willing to collaborate with young filmmakers. He worked with Pa Ranjith in Kabali and Kaala much to the surprise of moviegoers. While gangster dramas have received mixed reviews, they have helped the director gain a lot of attention at the Pan-Indian level. In the same way, Petta remains Karthik Subbaraj’s biggest project to date.