The Thalaiva (boss) of the Tamil movie industry Rajinikanth will be feted with the 51st Dadasaheb Phalke Award. As Prakash Javadekar, the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister, announced this on Thursday, congratulatory messages poured in from across the country. “Happy to announce #Dadasaheb Phalke award for 2020 to one of the greatest actors in history of Indian cinema —Rajnikant ji. His contribution as an actor, producer and screenwriter has been iconic …,” tweeted Javadekar, along with a picture of one of the greatest icons of Indian cinemas.
The larger-than-life actor, with a huge following across the world, acknowledged all those who became part of his stellar journey and tweeted, “My heartfelt thanks to the government of India, respected & dearest @narendramodi ji, @PrakashJavdekar ji and the jury for conferring upon me the prestigious #DadasahebPhalkeAward. I sincerely dedicate it to all those who have been a part of my journey. Thanks to the Almighty …”
The 70-year-old was born as Shivaji Rao Gaekwad in a Marathi family in Bengaluru. Years later, his gravity-defying stunts, slick moves, stylised action, catchy dialogues peppered with finest performances over the last four decades and more have gotten him an iconic, unparalleled stature in Indian cinema. He is a recipient of Padma Bhushan (2000) and the Padma Vibhushan (2016).
Rajinikanth, who rose from doing menial jobs to super-stardom, even has a chapter in Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) syllabus called From Bus Conductor to Superstar! He enjoys a demi-god status amongst his fans. Rajinikanth began his film career with K. Balachander’s Tamil film Apoorva Raagangal in1975, which won three National Film Awards. He gained recognition as an antagonist with his early films like Moondru Mudichu and 16 Vayathinile.
Bairavi paved the way for his super-stardom as Rajini played lead in this Tamil film. Mullum Malarum, Ninaithale Inikkum, Thillu Mullu, Sri Raghavendrar, Bloodstone, Thalapathi, Annamalai, Muthu, Baasaha and Enthiran were his other major hits. His film Sivaji was one the first few in the country to enter the Rs 100-crore club. Enthiran (2010) and the sequel 2.0 (2018) earned the distinction of being the most expensive productions in India at the time of their release and massive commercial successes. Rajini enjoyed many hits with co-actor Kamal Haasan – with as many as 16 films between them. In different languages, Rajinikanth has done over 150 films.
Thursday saw another meme fest on social media courtesy Rajinikanth winning the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. “Superstar Rajinikanth – he may not be a Tamilian but he makes the Japanese speak Tamil and watch Tamil films,” read one. Another was captioned ‘*Thalaivar fans’ with welled up eyes over the recognition!