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Do You Know It Was K Balachander Who Christened Shivaji Rao Gaekwad As Rajinikanth?

Rajinikanth, who began his career with 1975’s Apoorva Raagangal, was born as Shivaji Rao Gaekwad. It was K Balachander who changed Shivaji as Rajinikanth.

Source: Rajinikanth Instagram

Source: Rajinikanth Instagram

Rajinikanth, who began his career with 1975’s Apoorva Raagangal, continues to be a force to be reckoned, despite the emergence of younger actors. Adding a feather to his accolades, Rajnikanth was recently honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India’s highest film honour, for his extraordinary contribution to Indian cinema. Many celebrities reacted to the news of Rajinikanth's Dadasaheb Phalke Awards on their respective social media handles. The list of Rajinikanth's awards includes Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan and several other accolades.

The actor is not only popular for his acting skills but uniquely styled dialogues and idiosyncrasies in his films. But did you know, it was filmmaker K Balachander who christened Shivaji Rao Gaekwad as Rajinikanth? Read on to know more about the award-winning actor’s real name.

Rajinikanth's journey from Shivaji to his current name

Rajinikanth was born as Shivaji Rao Gaekwad on December 12, 1950, in Bengaluru. Brought up in Marathi speaking family, he was named after the Maratha Empire king, Shivaji, as mentioned in Mint. Since he was raised in Bengaluru, he grew familiar with the Kannada language outside his home. Before entering the entertainment industry, Rajinikanth worked in several other sectors such as a coolie job. The actor also worked at Bangalore Transport Service (BTS) as a bus conductor.

As per Forbes, the actor used to take part in plays after being offered to act in one of his mythological plays. It was only later, that with the support of his friends and family, Rajinikanth took up an acting course. During his stay at the institution, he was noticed by the Tamil film director, K Balachander. He advised him to learn Tamil, which he followed quickly.

Thus, it was in 1975 that the actor made his acting debut in the Tamil film, Apoorva Raangangal, which was helmed by K Balachander. He played the character of Pandiyan and since then, he was popularly known by this name. Rajinikanth was later featured in many other films which became a hit in the 80s. The list of popular Rajinikanth's movies includes Katha Sangama, Kavikkuyil, Mullum Malarum, Ram Robert Rahim, Kaali and many more. Rajinikanth went on to become the box-office king and one of the biggest actors of the South cinema. After he made his debut, the filmmaker K Balachander christened Shivaji as Rajinikanth. Once he rose to fame in South Cinema, the actor made his Bollywood debut with 1983’s superhit film, Andha Kanoon, starring alongside Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini.



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