In Photos: Top 5 highest-grossing Rajinikanth films of all time

Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, aka Rajinikanth, was born in a middle-class Marathi family in Bengaluru, on November 12, 1950. Despite his humble beginnings, the young Shivaji dared to dream and toiled hard to fulfill them for himself. The 70-year-old, who is now regarded as one of the greatest Indian actors of all times, started off with routine roles in plays at the Ramakrishna Math during his teenage. While he continued being a part of several plays and his roles became more significant with time, he performed several odd jobs to sustain his family, including that of a coolie and a bus conductor with the Bangalore Transport Service.

It was then that he decided to take up an acting course in the newly formed Madras Film Institute after coming across an advertisement, and while his decision was not initially supported by his family, it was his friend who motivated him to go ahead.

Rajinikanth marked his debut with K Balachander’s 1975 Tamil drama Apoorva Raagangal, in which he played a minor role of an abusive husband. He had his first major role in Balachander’s Telugu drama film Anthuleni Katha (1976), and got his breakthrough in Tamil with Moondru Mudichu (1976) — also directed by Balachander.

In a career spanning over 45 years, the ‘Thalaiva’ has acted in over 160 films, predominantly in Tamil cinema. He has also worked in other Indian film industries such as Bollywood, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Bengali.

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