On his 62nd birthday, Tamil cinema icon Rajnikanth greeted fans who gathered outside his home in Chennai.
"12.12.12 is a very significant day in my life. My heartfelt thanks to all," said Rajnikanth.
Born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, Rajnikanth transformed his simple life from a bus conductor in Bangalore to a much followed superstar a decade later, with a larger than life style and mannerisms in his films. Discovered by celebrated director K Balachander, a recipient of Dadasaheb Phalke Award, and cast along another top star of Indian cinema Kamal Haasan in his 'Apoorva Raagangal' in the mid 70s, Rajnikanth shaped his initial career with negative roles, including in 'Moondru Mudichu', also starring Haasan.
The duo, often referred to as pivotal points in Tamil cinema after the MGR-Sivaji era, shared space in a number of films before each carved a place for themselves in the industry. With his gimmicks and dialogue delivery instantly touching a chord with the younger audience, Rajnikanth delivered some of the biggest blockbusters, including 'Thalapathi' directed by Mani Ratnam, 'Annamalai', 'Basha', 'Padayappa' and the more recent 'Endhiran', a sci-fi thriller. He had his tryst with Hindi cinema also, featuring in movies including the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer 'Hum', besides doing a cameo in Shah Rukh Khan's 'Ra.One'. A very religious man, he was cast as Saint Raghavendra in the film named after the guru.
Rajnikanth faced a health scare due to a reported kidney ailment last year, but was soon back in action. He is presently shooting for his daughter Soundarya's much-hyped 'Kochadaiyaan'.
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