On the occasion of Tamil superstar Rajinikanth's 63rd birthday, we take a trip down memory lane and reminisce about his best-played characters that hold a special place in our hearts.
Billa (1980): A remake of the 1978 Amitabh Bachchan starrer, 'Don', 'Billa' had Rajinikanth playing a powerful mafia don. The film featured Rajinikanth in a double role and went on to become the actor’s first-ever commercial success.
Geraftaar (1985): Though Rajinikanth made a guest appearance in ‘Geraftaar’ as Inspector Hussein, the film went on to become a major box office hit. While Rajini played the extended cameo, Amitabh Bachchan and Kamal Haasan played the leads.
Johnny, 1980: Directed by Mahendran, ‘Johnny’ featured Rajinikanth in a double role - a con artist and another a barber. The film also had actress Sridevi who played Rajinikanth’s love interest in the film.
Thalapathi, 1991: Rajinikanth joined hands with Mani Ratnam for ‘Thalapathi’, in which he played the role of an abandoned teenager who grows up to be a slum lord. The film, which was heavily inspired from the Sanskrit epic, Mahabharata, also starred Malayalam superstar Mammooty.
Muthu (1995): The following year, Rajinikanth once again appeared in a double role for K.S. Ravikumar's 'Muthu'. It was the first Tamil film to be dubbed into Japanese, as 'Mutu: Odoru Maharaja'. The film grossed a record $ 1.6 million in Japan in 1998 and was hugely responsible for creating a large Japanese fan-base for Rajinikanth.
'Muthu' was also the first Rajinikanth film to have music by composer AR Rahman.
Baasha (1995): Rajinikanth's character of a humble auto driver is one of his most remembered roles especially for its dialogues and mannerisms. 'Baasha', which is an adaptation of Amitabh Bachchan starrer 'Hum' is the film that raised Rajinikanth from being just another popular actor, earning him the status of a demigod.
Padayappa (1999): The drama film features Rajinikanth playing the role of Aarupadayappan, an engineer who returns to his hometown to attend his sister’s wedding. Rajinikanth earned immense praise for his high-energy performance in the film, which ran for nearly 275 days, earning the actor the title of Box office King.
Chandramukhi (2005): The comedy-horror flick has Rajinikanth playing the role of Saravanan, an Indian-American psychiatrist who is on a vacation in India. The film, which is a remake of the Malayalam hit classic ‘Manichitrathazhu’, became the longest running Tamil film as of 2007. It also went on to be dubbed in Turkish and German.
Sivaji (2007): Rajinikanth played the role of Sivaji Arumugam, a smart NRI who wins hearts with his unique style and endearing personality. It became the first Tamil film to be charted as one of the top-10 best films of United Kingdom and South Africa box offices upon release and earned Ranjinikanth a salary of INR20 crore (US$3.1 million), for his role in the film, which made him become the second highest paid actor in all of Asia, at the time.
Enthiran (2010): Rajinikanth teamed up with Shankar for the sci-fi film 'Enthiran', which at the time was the most expensive Indian film ever made.
The technical marvel that also starred Aishwarya Rai Bachchan had the actor playing the role of Dr. Vaseegaran, a science genius who creates a sophisticated android robot in his own likeness. The film became the highest-grossing tamil film in India of its time.