In September 1977, 16Vayathinile was released, which earned Rajnikanth's first award from Arima Sangham.
By this time producers and directors were very impressed with Rajnikanth's talent. One of them was debutant director Bharathiraja, who cast him in the villain's role in 16Vayathinile.
Bharathiraja was also the producer and scriptwriter of this new genre of pastoral film, which was true to village life in characterisation, costumes and dialect.
Like the two previous films, this one too, starred Kamal Haasan and Sreedevi.
Rajni is Parattai, a village rake idling away his time with his cronies and passing lewd comments to the damsels passing by.
Meanwhile, Sridevi is seduced and ditched by a new wily vet. Kamal as the handicapped and retarded 'Chappani' is more like a watchdog -- loving and protecting her. In the climax Kamal kills Rajni to save her from his clutches.
Rajni's Parattai is in a way an extension of his villan in Moonru Mudichu, but the villainy is more pronounced and transparent here. He repeats the punchline 'Ithu eppadi irukku?'(How's that?) with lecherous glee to the delight of his fans.
Repeated punchlines, merrily lapped up by the increasing multitude of his fans, became a part of Rajni's acting style and the trend continues to this day.