Rajinikanth's "Kabali" fever is here!
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Rajinikanth's "Kabali" fever is here!

Hollywood may have their Chuck Norris and East Asia may have their Jackie Chan, but in the world of Indian cinema, neither both of them combined can stand to the star power that is Rajinikanth. A box office conqueror in Bollywood, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, and Tamil cinema where he has elevated to almost God-like status, the former bus conductor's rise to becoming India's mega star is almost made by the stuff of legends. Embodying as THE 'Super Star', which may sound like a humbling misnomer to his most hardcore fans, it attests to his influence that movies are not made for Rajinikanth, but rather movies are made by his celebrity (and some say transcendental) presence, and those said fans would believe that the earth and heavens are moved for his movies. With his hotly anticipated theatrical release of "Kabali" that caused the internet to explode, in Malaysian cinemas on 22 July, we point out the highlights of his career, out of his over 150 films that would serve as a good introduction for anyone who has not heard of the biggest living cinematic legend.


Moondru Mudichu (1970)

After receiving his diploma in acting from the Madras Film Institute (after quitting his job as a bus conductor), a little known Rajinikanth caught the attention of director K Balachander, who gave Rajinikanth his feature debut in a small role as an abusive husband in Balachander's 1975 "Apoorva Raagangal". Rajinikanth's start in his acting career did not have him emerging as the dashing hero, but quite the opposite. He did, however, make an impression nonetheless. Most notable is his first full-fledged Tamil role in a later outing with Balachander for 1976's "Moondru Mudichu". Playing as a cunning roommate who steals the love of the main lead, and forcing the maiden to live as a maid, Rajinikath's charming yet devilish Prasath gets what he deserves in a karmic payback, when his stolen lover becomes his mother. Villainous roles would be the defining roles of Rajinikanth during the formative years of his career, but his glory days are yet to come.


Chilakamma Cheppindi (1977)

In Eranki Sharma's "Chilakamma Cheppindi", Rajinikanth is Ravi, a respectable civil servant who comes to the village where he meets Malli, a poor girl who works for Bharati. When Malli is found pregnant before marriage, Bharati is out to find the culprit which leads her to Ravi. After a line of disposable evil roles, Rajinikanth gets his first leading role in this Telugu remake of "Adimakal". "Chilakamma Cheppindi" was awarded the Best Feature Film by the Nandi Award, and opened at the International Film Festival of India, where Rajinikanth's charisma as a leading man was for all to witness, and to become a turning point in his career.


Billa (1980) & Baashha (1995)

Before R. Krishnamurthy's "Billa", Rajinikanth's roles have been rather domesticated, an abusive husband here or a romantic lover there. But in this 1980 Tamil crime thriller, Rajinikanth was about to reveal that he could mean real business. Playing in dual roles in what could simply be read as "Scarface" meets "Infernal Affairs", Rajinikanth plays as a ruthless crime boss, and his lookalike who infiltrates his crime organisation in order to unmask its true leader. "Billa" is often seen as a defining moment in Rajinikanth's career, not only was it his biggest commercial success at the time, but also established his stature as an action hero; a role that is too important for any actor to reach stardom. From here on, Rajinikanth would become an actor of calibre, winning awards as he went. As his fame reached the top, it would culminate in Suresh Krissna's "Baashha", where Rajinikath performed his transformative acting from a lowly truck driver to angry gangster to an all-powerful crime boss. If "Billa" was the start of Rajinikath's ascension, he had ascended to cinematic godhood in "Baashha".

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Related Movies:
Kabali (Tamil) (22 Jul 2016)
Kabali (Malay) (29 Jul 2016)

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