Endearingly referred to as the Thalaiva, Rajinikanth is a legendary South-Indian superstar and is one of the industry’s highest-earning celebrities. His journey from being a bus conductor to ruling the film industry in South India is phenomenal and has inspired many! It’s because of absolute persistence and dedication that through unending hardships, he could achieve his goal unperturbed. Thus, celebrating his 70th birthday coming next week, we are here to present you with the inspiring story of Rajinikanth and life lessons to take away from his persevering and relentless work ethic!
“When ambition ends that’s when peace begins.” – Rajinikanth
Birth and Early Life
Rajinikanth, born as Shivaji Rao Gaikwad on 12 December 1950, was the youngest of the four siblings in the Marathi household. His father was a Police Head Constable and his mother, Jijabai, died when he was quite young due to which his family went through a deep economic crisis. Due to the crisis, he was forced to work in unusual occupations, such as an office boy, a coolie, a carpenter, in Mysore Machinery, and earned the money by packing rice bags at one time. But this was only the beginning of the persevering story of Rajinikanth as he went on to become an inspirational personality many look up to today!
Entering the Film Industry
Even as a conductor, Rajinikanth no less than a celebrity. Among tourists and other bus drivers, he was well-known for his ways of giving bus tickets and whistling. He acted in a few Kannada theatre plays during this time, saw a lot of movies and tried to emulate Sivaji Ganesan, Rajkumar and M.G Ramachandran. The love for movies and performing was always there because of inane talent and the same desire eventually transformed into enthusiasm.
He joined the Film Institute of Adyar, Chennai. During a performance at the Institute, Rajinikanth was spotted by K.K. Balachander, the popular movie director, who was so fascinated by him that he agreed to play a role in his script. Though, Rajinikanth mainly played supporting and negative roles at this time, it was when his acting career kickstarted turning into a phenomenal success story to remember!
“You won’t get anything without hard work. What you get without hard work will never fructify.” – Rajinikanth
The Thalaiva’s Rise to Superstardom
His first breakthrough came from the movie Bhairavi, where he was cast in the lead role for the first time. His acting talent was quickly noticed by the nation. Afterwards, Rajinikanth didn’t look back and queued up hundreds of hit movies. Baasha (1995), Padayappa (1999), Arunachalam, Thalapathy (1991) are some of his biggest moves. His movie Muthu became popular in Japan and soon Rajinikanth gained a huge fan following there.
Rajinikanth has shown that age is just a number and that it does not really apply if a person is committed to doing something great. His age is startling if anyone compares it to his current projects and the latest movies. At the age of 68, he has always had the power to make hits like Shivaji – The Boss, Robot, and Kabali. He was paid $8.6 million for the movie Sivaji and became the second-most-paid star in Asia since Jackie Chan. He has taught us that with perseverance and dedication, you can surely come up in life.
Inspired by the amazing life story of Rajinikanth? Don’t forget to check out our exclusive read on Education of Shahrukh Khan!
Achievements and Accolades
Besides being a well-compensated star, Rajinikanth is also admired by his fans for his simple nature and compassion. He is known to always help people and never leave them empty-handed. Rajinikanth has starred in around 190 movies. These include languages like Tamil, Kannada, Hindi English, Telugu, Malayalam and Bengali.
Rajinikanth has also won many awards, laurels and nominations for many of his movies. The awards that he won range from National Awards, Filmfares and regional awards. He was also conferred the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2000. He is also the first Indian film actor to be included in the curriculum of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in a lesson entitled From Bus Conductor to Superstar.
“There is nothing wrong in dreaming a luxurious life. What needs to be taken care of is not let need become greed. Because needs can always be met, but greed can never be fulfilled.” – Superstar Rajinikanth
Life Lessons to Learn from Rajinikanth
A humbled superstar revered by many across the country and the world, Rajinikanth has always lived a simpler life and is always eager to help out people in times of need. Now that you know the amazing story of Rajinikanth, here are the top life lessons to take away from the Thalaiva!
- Don’t Give Up on Your Passion: Rajinikanth had always been interested in acting and even through his younger years, when he couldn’t afford to acting classes, he worked as a conductor and carpenter before one of his friends loaned him the money to join Madras Film Institute. He was especially known for his entertaining demeanour as a bus conductor and through his struggling years, he followed a never-give-up attitude towards pursuing his dreams.
- Stay Open to Learning New Things: Once he joined the theatre and took up acting projects, he stayed open learning new things be it mastering the Tamil language for the films in the South to working on his acting art.
- Find Your Own Style: Rajinikanth’s style of acting on-screen is unique and inspiring in itself and makes him different from other actors, and his own style was the major reason of him becoming a global superstar! The story of Rajinikanth teaches you to find your own forte and style because that’s what sets you apart from the crowd.
- See Failure as Stepping Stones: There came a time in Rajinikanth’s career when many of his films like Baba and Kuselan bombed on the box office. But he compensated the losses from his own and kept honing his art and style and then made a comeback with P Vasu’s Chandramukhi!
Being an enthusiastic actor who started out as a bus conductor, charting the journey to becoming the huge superstar that he is today, Rajinikanth earned his name for his simple and humble nature. The story of Rajinikanth is truly spectacular and breathtaking! Want to pursue a career in Acting or Filmmaking? Reach out to our Leverage Edu experts and we will help you find the right program and university to actualise your career aspirations! Sign up for a free session with us now!