When passengers 'flocked' Rajinikanth the conductor!

Rajinikanth

The superstar remembers clearly his time of flux before he joined the BTS in the book.

"I'm an ordinary person. Before I was a bus conductor, I was an office boy, a coolie, a carpenter," he recalls. It was at the BTS that Shivaji met the person who he describes today as his best friend - Raja Badhar.

After duty, he and Badhar would go to their respective homes and rest for a while. The actor would make his way over to Badhar's home in Hanumanthnagar every evening and they would go to rehearse for the plays they acted in from time to time which were organised under the aegis of the BTS Association.

Rehearsals were in a hall next to the Chamrajpet police station and would go on from 5 pm till 8 pm. After that, they would walk over to the market in Kalasipalyam and have a few drinks.

"He would drink arrack and I would drink beer," recalls Badhar. After drinking they would walk back and eat dinner at their respective homes.

The long conversations that the friends had were almost exclusively about cinema. They would watch almost every film that released each week, with Rajinikanth continuing to enjoy Sivaji Ganesan, Rajkumar and MGR starrers. After watching the movies, he would enact scenes in the manner of these stars.

Paying tribute to the late Ganesan, Rajinikanth says, "I watched him, I imitated him. He is the reason I am in the cinema industry."

He also acknowledges the role theatre played in shaping his acting career. "The stage is my mother," he says.

"When I was a conductor, after I'd acted in more than 25 plays, my friends, the drivers and other conductors asked me why I shouldn't go into cinema. You'll become a famous villain, they said. They gave me a boost.

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