Being Rajnikanth: Life Lessons From The SUPERSTAR

7 minutes

Vaipugal Amayadhu, Namdhan amaithukolla vendum (Opportunities don’t just happen; One has to make them happen) – Kochadaiyaan 

His aura, his presence makes the crowd go frenzy. His larger than life persona can absorb anyone. His movies have special screenings, some as early as 4 a.m. People bathe his cutouts with milk, holidays get declared when his movies release. Some hail him as a SUPERSTAR, while to others he is a GOD. But to a whole lot of us, he is a mystery! He is RAJNIKANTH!


rajnikanth milk cutout
Rajnikanth fans pour milk on his cutouts. Image source:Linked
women fans
Women Fans of Rajnikanth. Image source: Quora
japanese fans of Rajnikanth
Rajnikanth fans in Japan. Image source:
Long queue in Oman to buy movie tickets for a Rajnikanth movie. Image Source: Twitter
young Rajnikanth Fan
A young Rajnikanth Fan. Image source: Twitter

Rajnikanth, born as Shivaji Rao Gaikwad’s, story is no fairy tale. It’s full of struggle and hardship. Born on 12th December 1950, in a Marathi family, he is the youngest of four siblings. He was named after the famous Marathi king, Shivaji. His mother died when he was very young and his family went through severe financial crisis; that’s when he was forced to take odd jobs like carpentry, coolie to support his family, while he was still a kid. But even as a kid he was deeply inclined towards cinema and would often participate in school plays. It’s probably where he nurtured his acting talents.

rajni young
Image source:

When he grew up he began working as a bus conductor for The Bangalore Transport Service. It was the time when he was drawn to the stage and he began acting in Kannada plays.  In 1973, he joined the Madras Film Institute. During that time, he got in touch with K. Balachander, an Indian Film director who worked primarily in Tamil film industry. He wasn’t instantly impressed with Rajnikanth and advised him to develop his own unique style. In 1975, when they met again, Rajnikanth was able to impress K. Balachander and bagged a small role. His first success came through Bharavi, where he was first cast in a lead role. The world soon recognized his acting prowess and the rest, as we know, is history. 

K.Balachander quotes 

“Rajinikanth claims that I am his school. But I must admit that this wasn’t the Rajinikanth I introduced. He has evolved on his own merits and strengths. I gave him an opportunity and unveiled him to the world. He went and conquered it.”

During the next many years, he gave many super hits and performed in movies other languages as well. Through the 1990s, he established himself as a commercial entertainer and worked on many commercially successful and critically acclaimed movies such as Thalapathi (1991), Annamalai (1992), Baasha (1995) and Padayappa (1999). This lifted his status from an actor to an icon. His dialogues and style resonated with everyone be it a six-year-old, or a sixty.


In 2000, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan award by The Government of India. Since then he has been part of many philanthropic activities and gave even more hits such as Shivaji (2007) and Enthiran (2010), enchanting everyone with his style, pulsating action sequence, and dialogues.

En vazhi thani vazhi  (My way, is the original (unique) way!)

But it’s not just his onscreen persona that drives people crazy. He is a SUPERSTAR in real life as well.

Let’s derive some lessons through his life journey, something which we all can learn from.

  • Your origin has very little to do with success: 

Hailing from a very modest and humble background, Rajnikanth has to go through a lot of hardship and failure and take up odd jobs to support himself and his family. Against all odd, he persisted and became the superstar as we know him, It’s a clear testament that one’s success depends on one’s hardwork and willpower. 

  • Failure is a part of success

When K. Balachander rejected him, Rajnikanth did not give up. He worked hard on his skills and craft, developed his own style and came back. If he would have given up then, the world could never see his genius. The important lesson to learn is that failure is as important as success, and one should not lose hope and confidence when encountered by it. 

  • Be original

In this copycat world, when everyone is trying to imitate others, it’s difficult to be yourself. But that’s the biggest recipe for success and Rajnikanth has proved it. He carved his own unique style and didn’t copy anyone, and that’s why he became a legend.

  • Have a strong work ethic

He follows a rigorous schedule like waking up at 5 in the morning and doing exercise and meditation everyday. Also while filming  it’s believed that he is extremely punctual and treats everyone with respect and courtesy, so whether it is a fellow star or spot boy. He has no starry air around him. While working he motivates his fellow co-stars and others even if they make a mistake. If his movie doesn’t do well, he pays for the losses from his own pocket.

Here’s a tweet by another film actor Hrithik Roshan about him:

tweet about hrithk
Tweet from fellow actor
  • Have utmost respect for mentors and contemporaries. 

Even after achieving so much, Rajnikanth still looks upto his mentor K. Balachander. Being a superstar, he is extremely grounded and never forgets his roots. He seeks his feedback and let him scold today if he makes a mistake. 

rajni mentor
Rajnikanth with his mentor

Likewise, he has huge respect for his contemporaries and other icons such as Mr. Amitabh Bachchan and Mr. Kamaal Hasan. 

Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan
  •  How you carry success matters more than how successful you are

Being in the industry for 40 years is no mean feat. And being consistently successful is even a bigger feat to achieve. But Rajnikanth has done it. Amidst all popularity and stardom, he has always been extremely humble and simply. Outside work, he wears simple dhoti and kurta. He has equal respect for his fans as they have for him.

cancer patient
Rajnikanth with his fan who was suffering from cancer

Here is Salman Khan talking about Rajnikanth and his simplicity. He is a hero off-screen.

  • Give back to the society

Rajnikanth is widely recognized for his philanthropic endeavors as well. Last year, when Chennai was worst affected by floods, he donated 10 Crore INR towards its relief. 

There is and will always be just one Rajnikanth. But we can all learn a lot from him. Here’s wishing him a very best!


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