Australia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Canada, Kenya
India, Pakistan, England, West Indies, Ireland, Netherlands
No points for guessing the winner.
It does not seem a difficult feat to achieve for a person whose childhood name was Shivaji Rao Gaikwad. Similarity in names did not bring the resemblance of fate. All sorts of occupations, including being a porter to a bus conductor shaped the man we see today. The experience gained at the Karnataka State Transport Corporation came handy in dealing with various characters on the silver screen.
Most of the North Indian audiences remember K Balachandar as the storyteller of two lovers in 'Ek Duje Ke Liye' but presenting Rajinikanth to the Tamil film industry was the greatest gift he could offer to the common movie enthusiasts. The 15 minute screen space in 'Apoorva Raagangal' was un-heroic but the world had realised the real potential of cinema as a medium.
Some grey characters in films as 'Bairavi', 'Avargal' and 'Moondru Mudichu' made his ultra common face recognisable and his mannerism practical in daily life.
Directors need to have special eyes for talents and S P Muthuraman displayed this art by featuring Rajinikanth in his first major positive role in 'Bhuvana Oru Kelvikkuri'. The chemistry between a would be superstar and the audiences has started to click.
The director's next 'Arulirunthu Arupathu Varai' provided the right amount of heat to make the process of making a new superstar faster. Some more years and thunderous applause on each dialogue, ear to ear grin on each appearance became the star's destiny.
Rajinikanth managed a steady growth but the immense pressure from the film industry shook him for a brief period. If media reports are to be believed then some close friends persuaded Rajinikanth to not leave the industry in early 90s.
The star took the South Indian film industry by storm once he decided to stay back in the game.
'Panakkaran', 'Thalapathi', 'Annamalai', 'Muthu', and 'Veera' retained the top spot for the man who had started barging into the national scenario via Hindi films.
'Andha Kanoon' with Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini provided the dusky man a chance to flaunt his impeccable style of throwing and igniting the cigarette mid air. The smooth stroking of hair with slightly tilted neck was no lesser catchier a style than Salman Khan's in 'Tere Naam'.
Mixed box office results for 'Hum', 'Mera Intequam', 'Zulm Ka Badshah', 'Krantikari', 'John Jani Janardan', and 'Atank Hi Atank' did not allow Rajinikanth to achieve a similar status like some Bollywood superstars but somehow his approach as an actor carved a distinguished niche in the audience's heart.
The southern film industry had already turned him into a legend and the next venture for the star was predicted to be the hardcore Tamil politics.
Here came a wise decision from the humble man to not follow the footsteps of MGR. His support for DMK is not a hidden fact but the refusal from entering active politics made him an apolitical social activist rather philanthropist. All the district fan clubs and temples were put into use to keep the public image and integrity intact.
Rajini knew and still knows that he is the emblem of South Indian film industry's first family and thus wants to strike a balance between films and public life. Rajini's position as the head of regional films' first family can't be matched by any other than Amitabh Bachchan or Yash Raj. He has reached an age where his body may not cope up with constant physical exertions essential for grass root politics.
Further Rajini may not be able to break the closely knit political barrier of Tamil Nadu with ease and his health might not allow going all guns. Moreover, the successors in family are more inclined towards the creative world than politics.
Son-in-law Dhanush and daughters have not reached to the status that the superstar himself enjoys and this probably makes Rajinikanth to wait for some more time.
Humility is in his nature which was very clearly visible when he gave visit to special children despite illness.
Hoards of fans waiting for the star on the airport or outside the hospital simply speak about the popularity the man commands.
Mega budget films like 'Chandramukhi', 'Sivaji', and 'Enthiran' demonstrate the confidence of producers in him. There are younger actors making mark in Tamil films but no one is expected to touch even the half of Rajinikanth's success in near future. Plus the actor has still not hung his boots. 'Rana' and 'Kochadaiyaan' have already created a lot of buzz. The public does not find anything unusual in Rajinikanth romancing younger heroines as Deepika Padukone, Aishwarya Rai and Shriya Saran.
And this is happening when Rajinikanth does not care to hide the almost bald head and well grown stubble.
Only a psychologist can provide the answer of what exactly makes Rajinikanth endearing to the common mass, but it could be Rajinikanth's ordinary face which gives the spectator hope that if he could achieve it, so can we.
The man knows his power source and that's why he does not forget to apologise to his fans about giving priority to Karunanidhi's phone.
The stars may look doomed for Karunanidhi and his party but Rajinikanth's stature will remain unaffected.
After all one needs a superpower to replace Chuck Norris even in jokes. Mind it.
Happy birthday Rajini sir!
Do you want to see Rajinikanth in more Hindi films?