Since the day I recall living in Chennai, Rajinikanth has been nothing short of a religion. His movies cause traffic jams outside theatres and his birthday is a day of true celebration, his title Thalaiva does justice to the madness that is Rajinikanth. The man has humility and modesty at his very core.
Here are ways in which this Padma Bhushan (2000) and the Padma Vibhushan (2016) honouree has made a change in this world.
1. He donated Rs 10 crore to the Chennai floods while ALL political parties pledged just Rs 25 crore in total
In 2015, when the city of Chennai was struggling with devastating floods, Rajinikanth came as a true knight in shining armour. The actor donated Rs 10 crore to the Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund in a bid to help the city recover, whereas all the other political parties combined donated Rs 25 crore.
2. In 1980s, he fought against the taboo surrounding eye donation
When Tamil Nadu was against the idea of eye donations due to myths and superstitions, the actor took it upon himself to get rid of the taboo. Rajinikanth began acting in commercials, did radio ads and gave speeches to help normalise the idea.
3. He offered his commercial wedding hall for anti-corruption movement by Anna Hazare, free of cost
In 2011, when Anna Hazare was fasting for the anti-corruption movement Rajinikanth announced his support by giving the supporters his commercial wedding hall. He offered it as a safe haven, to carry on their movement, free of cost.
4. Instead of lavish celebrations on his birthday, he advocates blood donation camps
While Southern India celebrates this superstar's birthday with fireworks and feasts, Rajinikanth encourages his fans to hold blood donation camps instead. He insists his fans do some good and turn it into a huge social event instead of just a celebration.
5. He is an active part of anti-smoking campaigns
During a meet and greet with his fans at YMCA, the actor openly admitted that his health troubles stemmed from his smoking Rajnikanth is a huge anti-smoking advocate and always reminds his fans that it hasn't worked out well for him.
6. He gives half of his income to charity
According to Rajnikanth's best friend Raja Badhar, he gives 50% of his every income to charity. Imagine how much money that is, considering the actor has spent 44 years in the industry.
7. He is lauded for being punctual and values everyones time
Despite being a megastar, the actor is famous for always arriving on set on time. He is known to be exceptionally friendly with the people involved in the making of the film, from the spot boys to the light crew. And unlike some stars who are always ready to throw a tantrum, Rajinikanth is quoted to be the kindest in the industry.
8. His origin story sets him apart from the rest
The actor's humble beginnings have kept him grounded till date. When he was studying acting, Rajinikanth was working as a bus conductor to sustain himself.
Once called Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, this star accepted the name Rajinikanth will all his heart when he made his debut in 1972 and has lived up to it.