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Wish Rajnikanth!

Last updated on: December 11, 2007 17:49 IST

The undisputed king of Tamil cinema Rajnikanth turns 57 on December 12.

He was born the fourth child of Jijabai and Ramojirao Gaekwad and was named Shivaji Rao Gaekward. Although a Maharashtrian, he was born and brought up in Karnataka.

Before he pursued his passion -- cinema -- he worked as a bus conductor in Bangalore. It was his friend and bus driver, Raj Bahadur, who encouraged and funded him to join the Adyar film institute.

Noted filmmaker K Balachander noticed him and signed him on as a villain in Apoorva Raagangal in 1975. He was rechristened Rajnikanth.

Rajni became a sensation as a villain, and starred in hits like Moondru Mudichu and 16 vayathinile.

The next turning point in his career was Billa in 1980. Rajni became a superstar, as more hits followed: Muthu, Padayappa, Basha, Annamalai, Chandramukhi and the recent Sivaji. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2000.

Now, 27 years later, he still rules the hearts of millions.

Join in wishing Superstar Rajnikanth a happy birthday!