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Rajinikanth's "Kabali" fever is here!

Writer: Casey Lee

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.


Muthu (1995)

As one of the biggest stars in India, it is inevitable that he would try to reach outside its borders. While his first outing to the United States in 1988's "Bloodstone" did not cause so much as a stir due to its commercial failure, Rajinikanth's proved his cinematic charisma overseas with K.S Ravikumar's "Muthu".Enjoying relative success in India where it ran for 175 days in the box office, "Muthu" somehow reached the screens in Japan where it was dubbed in Japanese. The reception it received there was nothing short of phenomenal. Not only did it run longer in Japanese cinemas for 182 days, "Muthu" was instrumental in forming a loyal Japanese fan base for Rajinikanth, and also starting a mania for all movies from India in the country.


Chandramukhi (2005)

Coming off record setting hit after hit in the late 90s, the new millennium was not kind to Rajinikanth. In 2002, "Baba", which he produced, wrote and starred in, was such a monumental flop that there were talks if Rajinikanth's decline had come. After personally paying for the losses of "Baba", Rajinikanth went into a sabbatical for 3 years, and he came back to show who was the Thalaivar. In this horror comedy (with one of the most epic fight scenes) about a woman who has been possessed by the spirit of a dead dancer, Rajinikanth plays a psychiatrist who diagnoses her with multiple personality disorder, and tries to put the spirit to rest without resorting to exorcism. "Chandramukhi" could not be a stronger comeback for Rajinikanth; becoming the longest running South Indian movie in cinemas that lasted for 890 days. On the critical front, it won 5 Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, and 2 Filmfare awards. "Chandramukhi" was widely distributed internationally, including Japan, and for the first time it went to Germany and Turkey.


Enthiran (2010)

After being billed as the second highest paying actor in Asia after Jackie Chan in 2007's "Sivaji", it was time for something even more ambitious. Playing dual (sometimes triple) roles has not been a challenge for Rajinikanth, so in "Enthiran" he would play as a human and a machine; a bearded scientist who invented a clean-shaven emotionless android which behaves like a Terminator with the powers of The Matrix, fighting against the odds of Ip Man.

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Cinema Online, 22 July 2016

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

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