Rajinikanth is widely regarded as one of the most popular actors in the history of Indian cinema. His popularity has been attributed to his uniquely styled dialogues and idiosyncrasies in films, as well as his political statements and philanthropy. A philanthropist, he undertook a day-long fast in 2002 to protest the Government of Karnataka‘s decision to not release Kaveri River water into Tamil Nadu, and donated ₹10 million (US$130,000) toward a plan to interlink Indian rivers. Rajinikanth is the only Indian actor to be featured in the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) syllabus, in a lesson titled From Bus Conductor to Superstar. In 2015, a film about his fandom, For the Love of a Man, premiered at the 71st Venice International Film Festival.
Born Dec 12, 1950 (age 71) · Bengaluru, India Height 5 feet 7 inches (1.70 m)Spouse Lata Rajinikanth (Since 1981) Children Aishwarya R. Dhanush (Daughter) · Soundarya Rajinikanth (Daughter) Education Government Model Primary School · M. G. R Film and Television Institute of Tamil Nadu Parents Ramoji Rao Gaekwad (Father) · Jijabai (Mother)
Rajinikanth was born as Shivaji Rao Gaekwad on 12 December 1950 in a Marathi family in Bangalore, Mysore State (present day Karnataka). He was named after the Maratha Empire king Shivaji, and was brought up speaking Marathi at home and Kannada outside. His mother was a housewife, and his father Ramoji Rao Gaekwad was a police constable. His ancestors hailed from Mavadi Kadepathar, Pune, Maharashtra. He is the youngest of four siblings in a family consisting of two elder brothers (Satyanarayana Rao and Nageshwara Rao) and a sister (Aswath Babubhai).After his father’s retirement from work in 1956, the family moved to the suburb of Hanumantha Nagar in Bangalore and built a house there. He lost his mother at the age of nine.
Rajinikanth had his primary education at the Gavi Puram Government Kannada Model Primary School in Bangalore. As a child, he was “studious and mischievous” with a great interest in cricket, football and basketball. During this time, his brother enrolled him at the Ramakrishna Math, a Hindu monastery set up by the Ramakrishna Mission. In the math, he was taught Vedas, tradition and history, which eventually instilled a sense of spirituality in him. In addition to spiritual lessons, he also began acting in plays at the math. His aspiration towards theatre grew at the math and was once given an opportunity to enact the role of Ekalavya‘s friend from the Hindu epic Mahabharata. His performance in the play received praise from the Kannada poet D. R. Bendre. After sixth grade, Rajinikanth was enrolled at the Acharya Pathasala Public School and studied there till completion of his pre-university course. During his schooling at the Acharya Pathasala, he spent a lot of time acting in plays.
Upon completion of his school education, Rajinikanth performed several jobs including that of a coolie,before getting a job in the Bangalore Transport Service (BTS) as a bus conductor. He continued to take part in plays after the Kannada playwright Topi Muniappa offered him a chance to act in one of his mythological plays. He decided to take up an acting course in the newly formed Madras Film Institute after coming across an advertisement. Though his family was not fully supportive of his decision to join the institute, his friend and co-worker Raj Bahadur motivated him to join the institute and financially supported him during this phase. During his stay at the institute, he was noticed by the Tamil film director K. Balachander. The director advised him to learn to speak Tamil, a recommendation that Rajinikanth quickly followed. Though he can read the language, he cannot write in it.