Rajinikanth: I never thought I will become a hero

Rajinikanth is a man of the masses and a phenomenon that has transcended borders. At 68, he’s still active in films. Recently, the superstar opened up about his journey in films, K Balachander and what keeps him going.

In an interview to Doordarshan, a nostalgic Rajinikanth took everyone on a trip down memory lane.

The superstar was recently conferred with the Icon of Golden Jubilee award at IFFI (International Film Festival of India) 2019. Thanking the Indian government, Rajinikanth said, “First, when they announced the award, it was a pleasant shock. I really thought if I deserve this honour. So, then I humbly accepted this award.”

Rajinikanth is known for his humility. “I am natural. Nowadays, being unnatural becomes common. So, I’m living my life like how other people live. So, it looks different. But, I’m just myself,” he explained.

The Baasha actor has had humble beginnings in films and rose to fame after facing a fair share of troubles. “Regarding my roots, all credit goes to my parents, God’s blessings and, of course, the film fraternity, directors and my fans who have supported me from the beginning,” he remarked.

Rajinikanth said that meeting K Balachander was the turning point in his life. “He completely changed my life. I came to Chennai and joined the film institute to become an actor, but I never thought I will become a hero. Even when I was in the film institute I was in the Kannada batch. I didn’t even know Tamil back then. Balachander sir noticed me and said, ‘You learn Tamil, then you see where I’m taking you.’ He had so much confidence in me. He identified and he showed what I am to me,” he added.

K Balachander introduced Rajinikanth as an actor in Apoorva Raganangal, which released in 1975. “It was a very small character in Apoorva Ragangal. While signing the film itself, Balachander sir told me that it’s only a trial. It was Moondru Moodichu which was a proper introduction. I played an anti-hero character. Even KB sir never thought I’d become a hero. He identified and wanted to mould me into a good character artist. Producer Kalaignanam offered me a proposal to play the hero. Then the picture clicked and the hero brand took off. From that day onwards, by God’s grace, it still continues,” he stated.

Initially, Rajinikanth was busy in multiple languages. “Language is a problem, but the emotions are all the same. Initially, it was very difficult to work in Hindi films. Later, I picked up. Between 83 to 90, I was concentrating more on Tamil and Hindi films. It was becoming challenging. In Bombay, they consider South people are planned. Now, things have changed. Then, I stopped acting in Hindi films and concentrated on Tamil films,” said the Kaala actor.

Rajinikanth is a person who values friendship more than anything. Speaking about his close friends, he revealed, “That is my real fortune. I relax with my friends even today. I’m myself, Shivaji Rao Gaikwad with them. The Rajinikanth image is different. I really enjoy with them.”

The Rajinikanth that we know is a phenomenal actor. But, there is more to him. He is a doting father, lovable husband, a trustworthy friend too. “Everything is acting in life. Off-camera, everything is acting and the only difference is that you have to do it the whole day. Only thing is you have to do it honestly and sincerely,” he quipped.

Calling himself a director’s actor, he said that he gives first preference to the director. “When a script comes to me, I see the director first. If I have some suggestion, I convey it to them. If they accept, it’s a yes. Basically, I improvise a lot. If I just do what the director says, then what is my input there. So, I improvise and I do it where it is required,” he disclosed.

Rajinikanth is known for his inimitable style and his antics. Little did we know that there is a conscious effort behind it. “In the beginning, I made it a point to introduce a gimmick in every film. For a hero, these gimmicks won’t suit. It will suit for villain characters. For such characters, there are no boundaries. So, in every film, I wanted to introduce a new gimmick. A lot of practice goes into it,” he said.

Rajinikanth also opened up about being in the industry for four decades. “I enjoy my acting and I won’t take it as a burden. That’s why I don’t have any tensions. Creativity will come to you when you start enjoying your work. Anything that you do, you have to enjoy your work,” he told the channel.

Rajinikanth stated that he’s forever indebted to his fans. “Sometimes, it makes me emotional the way they love me. I don’t know how to give it back to them. I can do a movie after a movie to please them. I can only do that for them,” he stated.

Thalaivar is a spiritual person and he has made it obvious in most of his public speeches. “I’m a spiritual person, a strong believer. That’s why I go to the Himalayas to recharge myself,” he said.

Talking about his inspiration, Rajinikanth stated, “One should be busy. When you are above 40, you should be busy. Mr Amitabh Bachchan is my biggest inspiration. He’s a very good friend and he advised me to keep myself busy. I’m in constant touch with him. Do what you want to do and don’t care about what other people say.”

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